13 YEARS 18 HOLES THE CREATION OF RICH HARVEST LINKS

BG DomeNew_GRAA_Logo DSDSC03646 Links and tees dome DS┬áCONGRATULATIONS TO OUR AREA AWARD WINNING GOLF DOMES. The Buffalo Grove Golf & Sports Center, and Links and Tee’s Golf Facility in Addison. The Buffalo Grove Golf and Sports Center will hold Customer Appreciation Day on Feb. 7th from 11 Am to 2 Pm. Links and Tee’s will do the same on Saturday Jan. 31st, visit both domes and enjoy contests, raffles, lessons, and see new equipment from the golf companies on site. More information BGGSC (847)-459-2321, or L & T’s at (630)-233-72752 Ext 4.

DSC00455Jerry and I pic 2 DS

GOLFERSONGOLF.COM by Rory Spears (R) Editor & Director of Content with Rich Harvest Farms owner Jerry Rich (L).

The news came this week that Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove had done it again.

After 15 years of hard work, making phone calls, shaking hands, hosting regional championships, Rich Harvest Farms owner Jerry Rich got the phone call he was waiting for. It was the one from the NCAA that Rich Harvest Farms had been awarded the men’s and women’s 2017 NCAA National Championships.

When the 2014 NCAA Men’s Central Regional was played at Rich Harvest Farms (RHF) last spring, Rich spoke with several NCAA committee members and started to feel good about his chances of landing the national championship. Now that dream is a reality.

DSC00453Billboards pic 1 DS

Rich wasted no time after the announcement of the International Crown, in putting up the events first billboard on the edge of his property in Sugar Grove.

While 2017 is a couple of years away, 2015 is now front and center on the calendar. This year in June the Palmer Cup named after Arnold Palmer, will be played at RHF. In August the Western Golf Association brings in the Western Amateur Championship.

2016 will be a big year for Rich Harvest Farms, it’s the long awaited arrival of the International Crown that is already expected to outdraw the Solheim Cup that was played at Rich Harvest Farms and won by the United States in 2009. In 2017 Rich Harvest farms was supposed to host the Western Golf Association’s Junior Championship in it’s centennial year, now that championship might have to wait one year to be held at Rich Harvest Farms. Throw in a couple of college invitationals and RHF has quite a busy schedule.

So what has made Rich Harvest Farms such a tournament destination in recent years ?

“First off the membership is not that big,” said Rich. “Then I work at getting our members involved involved in the tournament, as a result they have really come to enjoy the events.”

DSC02839 Jerry Rich and Commissioner Michael Whan DS

Rich (L) with LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan during the Pro-Am at the 2014 International Crown at Caves Valley near Baltimore.

Rich and his staff have never stopped working on the golf course, that according to Rich is really called Rich Harvest Links. Rich refers to his 1,800 plus acres of land as Rich Harvest Farms, but the golf course that takes up almost 300 acres is Rich Harvest Links.

Several hours a day Rich spends meeting with his staff, and discussing ideas on how to make golf course better.

But what is a more amazing story is how the golf came to be in the first place. Rich started construction in 1985, and wrapped up the 18 holes in 1998. He did it with company that had not built golf courses before. As the old saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day ” and neither was Rich Harvest Farms.

Rich started out as a caddie at Butterfield Country Club. He would take cocktail napkins from the club and start sketching golf holes on them. When he left the club, he would the designs and store them at home in a cigar box.

DSC01195 Jerry gets lesson from Chip Beck pic 4 DS

Rich an avid golfer, gets a lesson from PGA Professional Chip Beck (R).

When Rich started building his golf course the original plan called for just three holes. A par 3, a par 4, and a par 5, so he could practice before heading over to play at Butterfield where he had become a member. In fact he was the first Butterfield caddie to become a member at the club.

Rich started by building six holes, then three more, then one hole, then one more hole, and finally the last seven holes. At first, holes were built with a variety of tee boxes to play holes over and over but in different ways. Once the 18 holes were complete, it didn’t take long until Golf Digest showed up and put the course on it’s America’s Greatest 100 course list. The LPGA came along shortly afterwards offering the Solheim Cup.

DSC01201 par 3 silver 7 DS

The Par 3, 7th hole on the Silver Nine.

Now it seems that the sky is the limit for Rich Harvest Farms. The Chicago area golf fan has Jerry Rich to thank for bringing great tournaments back to the area.

It was only a few years back that Chicago was losing all of it’s tournaments from all of it’s tours. Now with Rich working hard to bring tournaments back to Chicago, golf fans have a full slate of events to attend in the next few years, both amateur and professional. With the latest addition being best in college golf. Chicago won’t be getting a Final-Four anytime soon, but they are getting the equal in golf.

Click here, to hear the history of the building of Rich Harvest Links as told by Jerry Rich himself.

For more information on Rich Harvest Farms and the tournaments that are coming in the next few years, please visit Richharvestfarms.com.

This entry was posted in News by Rory Spears. Bookmark the permalink.

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 WNDZ Am 750 Chicago, he writes for both Chicagoland Golf and the Chicago District (CDGA) Magazine. Rory has played over 460 courses in 37 states, and rates golf courses. He does golf course management and communications consulting, in the golf industry.