Building off the success of the Solheim Cup in 2009, Sugar Grove area officials said Friday the securing of another Ladies PGA event in 2016 is a steppingstone toward making Rich Harvest Farms an international golf destination.
Community leaders hope business growth and transportation improvements follow the spotlight a major golf event will once again bring to an otherwise quiet community.
Kane County Board member Melisa Taylor was glued to her computer to watch the announcement of the International Crown event locations this week. The LPGA announced the event will debut in 2014 at Caves Valley in Maryland. But the second running of the event in 2016 will occur at Sugar Grove's very own Rich Harvest Farms golf facility.
"My first thought was we get to showcase our house again," said Taylor, a Sugar Grove resident.
Rich Harvest Farms hosted an international contingent of golfers for the 2009 Solheim Cup, the women's equivalent of the Ryder Cup, which was held at Medinah Country Club last fall.
"We got people to come here during that event who would never otherwise come here and see what we have to offer," Taylor said. "There were more than 100,000 people who came to the Solheim. The economic benefits of an event of that magnitude, and this upcoming event, are a win-win on so many levels.
"And it's not just for us. It helped the surrounding counties as well. You couldn't get a hotel anywhere near here during the Solheim."
Sugar Grove Village President Sean Michels said the community is small but growing because of the major golf events Rich Harvest Farms is now starting to attract.
"People come out here, and they are like, 'Wow. This is Illinois? We didn't know parts of Illinois still look like this,'" Michels said. "We're starting to grow, so the exposure is the biggest thing. It means the world for our existing businesses and possible future businesses."
During the next three years, Michels said he hopes to bring road improvements to the area surrounding the golf course to avoid a repeat of some of the traffic congestion experienced during the Solheim. If that occurs, he sees no reason why the International Crown can't become the ladies version of the Masters, and held at the same venue each year.
If that happens, Sugar Grove could become as much a part of the golf lexicon as Augusta, Michels said.
"Every time they cut to a commercial during the tournament and they say, 'Live from Sugar Grove, Illinois,'" Michels said, "I'm just going to feel so proud."