HARVESTING IN PRIVATE-IOWA’S TOP PUBLIC COURSE CHANGES

UPSTAIRS OR DOWNSTAIRS The Schaumburg Golf Club at 401 North Roselle Road is open for business. In the pro shop there are shirts, bags, caps, golf balls and more. On the lower level are the three simulators. Book a bay at SchaumburgGolf.com or call the club (847)-885-9000. Chandlers Chophouse with awesome burgers is open daily.

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy or connect on LinkedIn or Facebook.

THIS IS THE FIRST OF THREE PARTS-In 2021 I visited or revisited three courses designed or renovated by architect Keith Foster, who I first met in 2000 at my former club Shepherd’s Crook in Zion Illinois. What I saw showed me that Foster is still as good as they come, in the golf architecture field. Parts 2 and 3 will follow in early 2022.-RS.

Welcome to The Harvester Club in Rhodes Iowa.

SO IF YOUR the No. 1 rated public course in the state of Iowa, what do you for an encore.

BUT IF YOUR Dixon Jensen the owner of the Harvester Club, you shut down your top rated golf course, and you call your architect Keith Foster and ask him to come back, and take your No.1 rated golf course in Iowa and make it better.

WHY ? Because you’re now ready to go private, and you want your members pleased with the product that you are selling memberships to. But as the Harvester, became “The Harvester Club”, it wasn’t just the golf course that changed. Because a newly upgraded clubhouse was built, that was styled to fit with a private club. Overnight villas were added next to the clubhouse. Practice facilities were improved, and Foster returned to work his magic over the Harvesters 18 holes.

When Foster was done, Jensen had Iowa golf’s version of “Field of Dreams”.

The new Harvester Club-Clubhouse.

Where The Harvester Club will rank among the private courses of Iowa, and in the nations Top 100, is still a work in progress.

But the word is getting around, that the new Harvester is not the one that golfers flocked to after the clubs opening in 2000.

Because the renovation project that started in 2018, and finished in 2019 elevated the golf course to a new level. Foster’s bunker work, that many say is the best in the business, added a flair to the Harvester. In some ways this club that is just barely more than 20 years old. Now looks like a classic that would be closer to 100 years old.

The par 3 third hole at The Harvester Club.

The first two holes are par 4’s that show the golfer, that Iowa is not a simply flat Midwest property.

Both run side-hill, downhill, up hill, and the second hole has a second shot that doglegs right. Before the second hole finishes by going uphill to a green, with interesting bunkers guarding the approach.

If you hit it in the right bunker, you might want to say your prayers. But you are in a good place to do that. Because the right bunker is Iowa’s idea of the “Church Pews”.

The sloped fairway on the par 5 4th hole.

The par 3-third hole plays 202 from the tips. But as one stands on the tee box you have to wonder if architect Pete Dye gave Foster some inspiration on this island green.

Placement with your drive off the tee is the key to success on the par 5-fourth hole. Because from the tips the hole sits at 595 yards.

No the fairway is not flat, and your ball even in fast and firm conditions, does not run forever here.

The par 3-8th hole from 236 yards.

The green on the par 5 sixth hole slopes right down to the water, and the hole is named “Holy Cow”. Longtime baseball broadcaster Harry Carey would approve.

Putting to a front pin from above the hole, gives one an opportunity to putt their ball into the pond in front of the green.

So how did the decision to go from public to private come about. Jensen decided to upgrade his golf course to a level that golfers with an appreciation of the game would really enjoy. Unfortunately there were too many previous occasions where golfers may have showed up to play a No.1 course.

But their actions made it appear they were only here for beer. Aretha Franklin said it the best, when she sang R-E-S-P-E-C-T, and Jensen felt the Harvester could use a little more respect from the golfers playing it. At that point Jensen decided everything about his club could be better. How to do that ? Call Foster and start with the golf course. Jensen’s idea was to create a more than just a better golf course, but a golf destination that the more serious golfers would enjoy, and travel to Iowa by any means possible to play there.

CLICK HERE to hear the interview with The Harvester Club’s General Manager Mason Jensen (son of owner Dixon Jensen) on the rebranding of The Harvester.

The par 3-17th hole plays only 188 yards, but water comes into play right-with deep bunkers left of the green.

The back nine at the Harvester is no picnic either.

Number 1 handicap hole is the famed “Big Hog”, the 650 yard monster par 5 the 15th. Parts of the hole play uphill, and like any of the Harvesters holes, it offers even more of a challenge on windy days.

Which in central Iowa come along more than one would hope, especially if your out on the golf course.

The par 5 18th hole is called “Promised Land”. The hole almost plays a like a reverse of the famed 18th hole at Pebble Beach. But when you putt out on the 18th green, you do feel like you’ve played 18 holes of golf on some promised land. Right in the heart of Iowa, who would have though that.

The Harvester Club now private, does have membership opportunities for non-Iowa residents. If your interested, contact the club at (641)-227-4653 or learn more online at Harvesterclub.com.

See additional pictures on Facebook-Rory Spears page. On Twitter @GogBlogGuy.

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About Rory Spears

Rory spent over 8 years growing up working at Rob Roy Golf Club in Prospect Hts.IL, then two years at Chevy Chase in Wheeling. He has covered golf in Chicago since 1986. Rory was one of the initial members of WSCR all-sports radio Chicago and covered golf there for 5 seasons, before moving on to work for ESPN/Sportsticker and ESPN Radio. In addition to hosting Golfers on Golf Radio on WCPT AM820 Chicago, he writes for both the Chicago District (CDGA) Magazine, and formerly Chicagoland Golf. Rory has played over 525 courses in 39 states, and rates golf courses. He does golf course management and communications consulting, within the golf industry.