Join Northern Illinois men's and women's golfers as they share their experiences as the 2009 Solheim Cup. One of the LPGA's premier events, the Solheim Cup pits the best golfers from the United States against to top players Europe has to offer. Rich Harvest Farms, the home of the Huskies, is playing host to this years tournament.

August 23, 2009 - The End of the Road

We expected POMP and Circumstance in the last remaining matches of the 2009 Solheim Cup, but a better observation may be PUMP and Circumstance!  The fist pumping US team charged to strong closing finishes on the final day to celebrate VICTORY and retain the Cup for another 4 years until the event again will emerge at Kileen Castle in Ireland, 2013!

We are so proud to be a part of such a world showcase of the best women's professional golf.  It was the
RYDER CUP/ WORLD CUP/WORLD SERIES/FINAL FOUR for the LPGA!  Ironic that talk of golf in the Olympics was chattering through the crowd this week- we definately experienced an OLYMPIC CALIBER event so close to our own backyards!

What a timeline has rolled out to get to this the 2009 Solheim at Rich Harvest Farms!  Mr. Jerry Rich, NIU alum and owner of Rich Harvest farms and his committee first visited the Solheim Cup in Minnesota in 2002.  The next year the LPGA visited RHF to determine if the site could qualify.  Proposals traded hands in 2003 and in 2004 the LPGA announced that RHF would indeed host the 2009 Solheim Cup. Shortly thereafter, plans involved NIU- the first collegiate team involvement in a Solheim Cup- created due to our relationship with Rich Harvest Farms as THE HOME OF HUSKIE GOLF! Women's and Men's team members would serve as BALL SPOTTERS, individuals from our Business School would be involved in planning/marketing and our NIU golf community would fill many volunteer spots.  Returning NIU golfers were seen inside the ropes assisting with play along with women's golf alums that were competing in school when the Solheim plans were announced and have since graduated! 

What a powerful presence that NIU had at the event all week.  University, and community we can take pride in the part that the NIU HUSKIES and volunteers from DeKalb had in raising the stars and stripes over Rich Harvest Farms!

-Pam Tyska
NIU Women's Golf Coach

Rich Harvest Farms and the Solheim CCup was an amazing experience. I had a blast, and I know my teammates did as well. It was phenomenal to be in that setting for this entire week. To see the players, how they handle themselves, the shots they hit, and the team spirit and camaraderie they had. The fans were cheering constantly and always had the players back.

I want to thank Jerry Rich, and the staff at RHF. Everyone that had a part in it did a great job! It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Kim Hunley
NIU Women's Golf

First off, I want to express how thankful that Mr. Rich would give up his course for the Solheim Cup, allowing them to play it here, and that he lets us use it as our home course.

The experience was absolutely amazing. To be so close to so many of the best women's golfers in the entire world is astonishing. The fans were so patriotic. It was outstanding and amazing to see everyone so together playing against the European team.

I am ecstatic we got to be on the course, not many kids my age have had an experience like this. And ball spotting was necessary, we helped so much and it was awesome to be so close. I hope I helped!

-Michelle Caporusso
NIU Women's Golf

August 22, 2009 - Player Takes

Here are some takes from NIU women's golfers after they ball spotted on the first competition day at the Solheim Cup:

The overall Solheim Cup experience was very interesting. It's nice to come back and see the changes Jerry Rich had done to accomadate the Solheim Cup: the pavilion he constructed, and the hotel for all the players. I was surpised how big and nice it was. On the course, I think he grew the grass a little longer and had some different types of rough around the fairways and the greens put in.

I walked with Michelle Wie and Christina who ended up winning 5-and-4. They started out rough but came around and pulled through for the American team. They took their time a lot more than what I was used to; it was almost a six-hour round today. They talked through shotstogether, and seemed calm and at ease with the game.

It was interesting and nice to be able to come back and do something like this, and participate as a volunteer at this wonderful event.

-Lisa Bailey
Former NIU Women's Golfer

It was unbelievable how close we were to the players, their caddies, and their VIP's. Usually at a big event like this, you're behind the ropes. It was nice to be inside the ropes to see it from a different standpoint. Christina Kim's dad even walked with us and talked with us.

I throught it was interesting to see the cameras (from the Golf Channel), especially when the players were hitting good shots. The cameras got really close to their face, but they had great composure even through they were on TV all the time.

Playing with each other, Michelle Wie and Christina Kim had a lot of teamwork, helping each other with shots, especially on the green on the last hole. The US girls were on the green putting for the win. It was Michelle's putt, and Christian walked up like she was going to hit it.  But it was just to see what Michelle would see, so they could talk about the putt. It was weird, but cool, to see that kind of teamwork from the Americans.

The Cup was a fun to see the atmosphere, and I'm so happy I got to be a part of this.

-Jackie Bailey
Former NIU Women's Golfer

I had a lot of fun walking inside the ropes with the pros. It was an amazing experience. Being so close to them and seeing exactly what they do on the course was great. It was especially insighful because its our home course, so we saw a lot of the same shots that we see in practice.

The course is in really good shape, and we're so thankful that Mr. (Jerry) Rich let us out here to volunteer as ball spotters. I can't wait to work again today and tomorrow to get the experience of being close to the players at this amazing tournament.

-Mandi Vavrinchik
NIU Women's Golf

First off, it was an honor and an absolute privilige to be anywhere near inside the ropes at the Solheim Cup, something that we as women's golfers can't take for granted. Seeing the players and how they handle themselves on the course as professional women was truly inspirational.

It makes you take a step back and look at yourself as a player, and you own talents. The shots they make are some of the same shots we make (at Rich Harvest Farms), but they put them together, and that's what makes them great players. They carry themselves with respect and pride for themselves and the country their playing.

This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I can't wait to see what happens today and tomorrow.

-Kelsey Passolt
NIU Women's Golf

August 21, 2009 - Photo Gallery

Here's a photo gallery from yesterday's action, where Huskie men's and women's golfers got their training to be ball spotters, and the 2009 Solheim Cup Opening Ceremony officially kicked-off the event.

August 19, 2009 - Practice Day Three/NIU Golfers Day Off

A "MAGIC KINGDOM" of women's professional golf has risen on the grounds of Rich Harvest Farms, THE HOME OF HUSKIE GOLF.  The Solheim Cup competition is getting closer and Rich Harvest Farms is a shining showplace for such a world showcase of golf talent.

It takes an incredible effort to plan and launch an event of this magnitude.  How does it happen?:
>9,660,000 BTU's of cooling
>Over 5,000 tons of gravel
>Over 100 acres of sod for parking
>8.65 miles of electric cable
>Over 3 acres of flooring
>Over 1600 volunteers- many from DeKalb/Sycamore and the NIU Golf Community!

......all for one week of the most prestigious team event in women's professional golf.  How fortunate we are to be a part of it all!

Several of the NIU women's and men's golf team members were out watching the third day of official practice rounds today before their event training begins tomorrow for our "BALL SPOTTER" committee.

-Pam Tyska
Northern Illinois Head Women's Golf Coach

I'm really glad I took advantage to go out there and watch on our day off. It was really worth it to see some of the shots that were made.

I got a lot of autographs, with all the U.S. team, including Paula Creamer. She was tough because I had to chase her down a little bit to get that one, but it was well worth it!

It was amazing to see them play in person, with how close we got to come to them.

-Devon Harteneck
NIU Women's Golf

August 18, 2009 - Practice Day Two/Youth Golf Clinic

The sun rose with the NIU Women's Golf Team as they served as student mentors for the LPGA/ Solheim Ronald McDonald House Junior Golf Clinic.  I was the clinic Coordinator and the Huskies assisted 15 of the finest LPGA teachers from across the country in instructing 250 children that were invited to the clinic.  Junior Clinics are offered at several LPGA sites throughout the year, but infrequently if ever are they offered on a competitive site like the Solhiem Cup.

Ten lucky participants of the NIU/Hook A Kid On Golf In The Schools Program were invited to be a part of the prestigious clinic. The Huskies were happy to welcome back the students that they work with during the off seasons:  Sadie Burton, Isabella Hayes, Amanda Lewis, Morgan Newport, Kristina and Karl Olsen, Liam Pitney, Danny Russell, Lily Sturtz and Bailey Wiegmann.   District 428 Physical Education Teachers, Barb Beck of Brooks Elementary and Linda Divine from Jefferson Elementary were on hand to be of great assistance to the clinicians.

Team USA and Europe continued their practice rounds with an increasing number of spectators on the second day of this golf spectacle.  It is a very relaxed atmosphere and players often interact with fans.  Caddies are busy charting greens and taking yardages for any situation that may come up during the competition.  A few players stopped by the clinic and enjoyed the great golf swings they were seeing amidst all the smiles and laughter! 

-Pam Tyska
NIU Women's Golf Head Coach

August 18, 2009 - Practice Day Two/Youth Golf Clinic

Members of the NIU women's golf team helped coordinate a youth golf clinic at which LPGA professionals taught kids the basics of the game. They also ran into some top-notch LPGA players. Here are reports on the day from Kim Bailey and Jessica Parmenter.

It was a great day overall out at Rich Harvest Farms, and our first time out during Soleheim Cup week.

After we got there and took a few pictures, we had an hour to do whatever we wanted, and we watched some players come in on 18. We didn't see who it was at first, but it turned out to be Natalie Gulbis, Michelle Wie, Brittany Lang, Juli Inkster That was probably the coolest thing about today, being five feet away from people that are that good at golf. We're going to watch them play all this weekend, and I'm sure we're going to learn a lot.

The clinic was a big success. There were a lot of kids and it was the biggest clinic they've ever had. They had LPGA professionals helping the kids, and me and my teammates directed the kids from place to place, and made sure they knew where they were going.

It's been great to see so many people willing to give up their time for free to help with this event. It's great that Chicago is able to get it. Mr. (Jerry) Rich has been so generous to help bring this tournament here.

People have talked to us about being members of the NIU golf team and think it's really cool that we get to be here, and practice here. When I was being recruited I remember hearing about this event and being so excited, and now it's here. The time's gone so fast!

Thanks for reading! Go Huskies!

-Kim Bailey
NIU Women's Golf Team

The best part of the day was being able to be around a professional atmosphere and see the atmosphere and the routine. To see the athletes get to pressure situations and see them succeed gives a confidence boost that I can do it to. The amount of time the LPGA players take to prepare for their shot was probably the biggest thing I noticed. I go pretty quick and they really take their time.
I've seen a lot of the professional playres before, having had the opportunity to get to go to PGA and LPGA events. After all the years I've watched professional events, it feels a little more like a home environment. It feels more like a comfort zone being around them. I think playing myself in tournaments and at the collegiate level has helped make me more comfortable. And getting to talk with them has too. The more often that happens, the more you feel like you're just exchanging "hellos" between a friend.
Being around the kids knowing that even though we werent teaching them, they were excited and happy to be there and wanting to learn.
We (my teammates and I) matched, so people knew we were a group or a team. Once they asked and we told them we were the women's golf team, we would talk about NIU. It was that piece of information that links people together. Maybe they have a kid that went to NIU, or a niece or a nephew. There are also little NIU memorabilia things with anything you get, like NIU fans. It's funny to see people are holding our logo all over the place in a professional environment.
Looking forward to the start of competition, Friday!
-Jessica Parmenter
NIU Women's Golf Team

August 18, 2009 - Practice Day Two

It was an honor and a privilege to spend some time earlier in the day with Jerry and Betty Rich - the patriarch and matriarch of Rich Harvest Farms.  As we watched our USA team tee off for their practice round, it was amazing the number of people - from LPGA professionals to golf fans from both coasts - come up to them and thank them for hosting this world class event.   Those numerous interactions within a one-hour window really reinforced what an amazing impact these two have had on both amateur and professional golf worldwide.

As fellow Huskies, it should make us all beam with pride as he reminded virtually EVERY person who approached him that he and Betty are both NIU alums and that this is, "the home of Huskie Golf!"  That was fantastic.   So far, the brush with greatness moment this week is Natalie Gulbis seeing my NIU logo adidas shirt as she approached the first tee and saying, "Hey, the Huskies!"  It was random, but impressive she recognized the logo.  It was also impressive she knocked her drive about 270 yards into a perfect landing zone.

This afternoon wrapped up with a VERY successful LPGA Junior Clinic on the driving range adjacent to the Solheim practice range.  Head Women's Golf Coach Pam Tyska, along with our entire NIU women's golf team, partnered with LPGA professionals from across the nation to teach to instill the finer points of the game to local and regional youth, as selected by the Kids' Golf Foundation.

We'll have more feedback from our student-athletes on their initial observations about a worldwide event being held on their home course very soon!

Tim McMurray

Senior Associate Athletics Director for Advancement

August 18, 2009 - Practice Day Two

Here are some photos from the practice clinic the Huskies are hosting, courtesy of Associate A.D. Tim McMurray.

NIU golfers demonstrate a golf drill at the Solheim Cup.

The line for the NIU golfers' camp was over 200 long.

The practice range at Rich Harvest Farms.

August 18, 2009 - Practice Day Two

After challenging weather conditions yesterday, the skies have opened up nicely for the second practice day at the 2009 Solheim Cup.  Watching our United States ladies tee off at number 10 this morning to begin their practice round was truly magical, as the chants of "U - S - A", "U-S-A" greeted them on the tee box from spectators.  

For those of you familiar with Rich Harvest Farms, Solheim Cup, LPGA, and RHF officials worked together and reached a consensus to "flip the nines" for this week's competition.  In other words, what is typically no. 1 at RHF (Heaven's Beginning), adjacent to Dugan Road and the main gate, is number 10 this week.   This allows for The Cottage (par 4, 387 yards) to serve as hole no. 17, where historically a number of match play competitions typically finish, and Covered Bridge (par 5, 520 yards), adjacent to the Plantation House to serve as no. 18, rather than no. 9.

Another highlight of the morning was having our entire ladies' golf team take a team picture with the Solheim Cup this morning.   As I write this entry, they are busy preparing to serve as instructors in this afternoon's LPGA Junior Solheim Clinic. 

Will update more this afternoon after the clinic.  Also had a great visit with Jerry and Betty Rich and will share some thoughts on that later.

-Tim McMurray

Senior Associate Athletics Director for Advancement

August 17, 2009 - Practice Day One

Thunderstorms greeted both the U.S. and European players on the first practice day here at the Cup. It was a good job by the grounds crew to get everything into top condition again by the time things cleared to sunshine in the afternon.

It's been great to see so many members of the DeKalb golf community, folks from Kishwaukee Country Club, and people from the NIU community out here. Many have been nice enough to stop and say "Hello!" This is a fantastic event that's really bringing a lot of pride to this area. The Northern Illinois flag flies every day here at Rich Harvest Farms, and we couldn't be more proud to be a part of this tournament.

It was awestriking to today to look where our team was standing yesterday, and see Michelle Wie and Paula Kremer practicing. I hope our first practice of the year looks like that.

Tomorrow, our girls will be volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House Jr. Clinic. It should be a lot of fun! From here out, one Huskie men's golfer and one Huskie women's golfer will contribute each day to the blog!

Thanks again to everyone for their support of this event. Go Huskies!!

-Pam Tyska

Head Women's Golf Coach, Northern Illinois University

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