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The golf courses of Lawsonia, in Green Lake Wisconsin. 3 hoursfrom down in the city of Chicago. Now under the operation of Oliphant Golf, Lawsonia continues to become a major player in Wisconsin golf. The famed Links Course built in 1930 by famed Chicago architect William Langford is a true classic. It has the feel of some of the classic private clubs in the Chicago and Milwaukee area.

The website has just been redone, visit and learn more about the stay and play packages, and all 36 holes at Lawsonia. Langford’s Pub has now reopened.

gog-blog-logo2DSC00666 Rory in Studio DS BY: RORY SPEARS

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2014 Caves Valley moving forward to 2016 and Rich Harvest Farms

(Owings Mill MD.)    The USA got crowned in the inaugural International Crown. Eight countries made it into the event, five survived to make it to Sunday’s play. Team USA lost in a playoff to Korea, and joined Australia and Chinese Taipei outside the ropes for Sunday’s singles matches.

Saturday was great golf drama for fans on the course or watching on TV, the format created exactly what it was supposed to do except for one thing. The USA was supposed to be playing on Sunday, they were the No.1 seed in the event coming in. If the USA had won the playoff the No.2 seed Korea would have gone home. The Crown is playing like the NCAA basketball championship, and some brackets have been busted already. The good news if your Korean, is that Sunday at the Crown does not have a Final Four, it has a Final Five and so you are still alive.

World No.1 Stacy Lewis made a great point in the Saturday post round press conference when she said, “we are only two points out of first place and we are not playing on Sunday.” Lewis then had a confused look on her face. Both Lewis and Christie Kerr suggested tweaking the format, and from all evidence I have so far and that includes putting LPGA Chief Communications Officer Kraig Kann on our radio show Sunday morning where he addressed the format. It sounds like tweaks will be made. But should they made to improve the event, or are they getting made because the USA lost. Maybe both, but first time events always look for ways to improve the second time around. By the time the Crown tee’s off at Rich Harvest Farms, the LPGA should have a better event, and Jerry Rich should have a packed house roving around Sugar Grove and RHF.

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Jerry Rich (L) with LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan at Caves Valley.

Rich and LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan sat in Rich’s kitchen some four years ago, and began planning the event. These two partners as they have become on this event, have made a lot of progress since the meeting in the kitchen.

The next step is putting a title sponsor on the event. Word is that, there is a deal in place with a new sponsor, that announcement should come shortly. Once that happens, look for the push by Rich and his staff to make sure everyone in Chicago, or visiting Chicago knows about the International Crown. Rich organized watch parties the last few days in the Chicago area, American’s Korean’s, Japanese and other nationalities turned out in force to watch. Come 2016 they should be watching in person at RHF.

While Caves Valley Country Club, it’s staff and membership did a great job on hosting the first Crown, they probably didn’t have all the time or resources they could have used in getting a new world championship off the first tee. Those issues should not be in place for 2016. I fully expect Rich to put on a first class show, that will elevate women’s golf up another level or two.

Whan accomplished what he needed to do this year. He got this event going before Olympic golf returned, he got the players to buy into it. He filled a void in the LPGA schedule, he helped grow the women’s game.

That’s not just a home run, it’s grand slam in the game of golf. There will be a tee off event for the 2016 Crown in Naperville later this week, Whan will be there, so will some players and that trophy that Tiffany’s did such a great job with.

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The International Crown trophy sitting on the 18th green during round 1 at Caves Valley.

With that Rich and his team will be off and running. I’m sure the trophy will make some visits around town over the next two years. Maybe not as many as the Stanley Cup, but it will be visible. Rich will make sure of that.

Rich and Whan have a great supporter in world No.1 Stacy Lewis. On Friday 90 minutes before teeing off in her match, she was texting Kahn telling him she had some great ideas to share for the 2016 Crown. In fact Lewis returned on Sunday after being eliminated to do media work, and watch some of how the championship played out. Not something you would get out of the men’s No.1 player, that’s for sure.

Lewis got pounded on Facebook on a page by Golf Channel, some thought her comments were sour grapes. Lewis came to the media center and answered many of her critics via Twitter. Agree with her point of view or not, only a class act does that.

All 32 players will give their input to the LPGA and it will be reviewed long before 2016 at RHF. As for my week at the Crown. It was a long one, but one that left me anxious that more high level golf will be headed Chicago’s way. If the Crown does happen at RHF in the years the PGA Tour skips out of the windy city, the Crown will do a nice job of filling the void.

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Defending WGA Western Amateur Champion Jordan Niebrugge at Beverly Country Club.

Jordan Niebrugge will attempt to defend his Western Amateur title this week at Beverly Country Club in Chicago. Niebrugge will face a strong challenge from a stellar field of top amateur players.

The championship is a mix of stroke and match play, and forces the winner to play steady game of golf in both formats. Spectators are welcome and admission and parking are FREE. This is one of the top amateur tournaments in the world, and a great tune up for players headed to the USGA Amateur championship.

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Tee’s off today and concludes on Wednesday. Several past champions are in the field, along with several top contenders who have just missed winning the championship. Come see Mistwood, and tour one of Chicago’s top public courses, and see the incredible new Performance Center. Spectators welcome, parking and admission are free.

Today at Onwensia CC is the Illinois PGA Senior Masters Pro-am, IPGA professionals Kevin Marion of Old Elm and John Schickling of Rolling Green CC are the honorees. Congrat’s to both and thank you for your contributions to the game of golf.

Great week of Golf ahead around town, go watch and Go Play. Keep it short stuff too, Thanks Phil.

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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 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.