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July 26, 2018
This paid piece is sponsored by GreatLIFE Golf & Fitness.
A few years ago, most of the top women in professional golf wouldn’t have had a reason to connect Sioux Falls with their sport.
Four years later, Sioux Falls has become a familiar stop on the Road to the LPGA.
Willow Run Golf Course will again host the GreatLIFE Challenge, a stop on the Symetra Tour, Aug. 30 until Sept. 2.
It will draw 144 golfers to the city who are competing to become the top 10 money winners on their tour for a guaranteed spot on the LPGA Tour.
“This is one of the elite stops on the tour,” said Jason Sudenga, GreatLIFE’s director of golf. “You’re going to see some of the best women golfers in the world here.”
The golfers will compete for one of the largest purses on the tour — $210,000 — and will stay with host families during their visit.
“It’s a first-class event,” Sudenga said. “We are the spot everybody wants to come to because of the hospitality, the accommodations, and they can’t say enough about the experience here.”
The event has elevated Sioux Falls as a destination for visitor events, as the city has played host to participants from all over the world, said Teri Schmidt, executive director of the Sioux Falls Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“And they have expressed gratitude and enjoyment for the experience they have had in Sioux Falls, from the exceptional hospitality and organization of the event to the dining, activities and attractions throughout the city,” she said.
“The Walsh family is to be commended for the passion and commitment they have made to the Symetra event. Without their energy and enthusiasm, this tournament would never have reached the level of success it has.”
Want to experience the GreatLIFE Challenge yourself?
The event still needs volunteers to help with everything from greeting golfers to keeping score.
You can commit as much or as little time on any day as you’d like.
“We welcome people to volunteer when it works best for them,” volunteer coordinator Cheryl Dodd said. “We do volunteer training before the event, and we’ll make sure you have all the tools you need.”
Dodd, who has helped with the event since it started, said once people volunteer, they quickly realize what a first-class experience the tournament provides.
“It’s a great event for Sioux Falls,” she said. “I don’t know if some people even realize the caliber of golf we get. But this is their step to the LPGA, and these gals can really hit the ball.”
A few years ago, most of the top women in professional golf wouldn’t have had a reason to connect Sioux Falls with their sport. Four years later, the city has become a familiar stop on the Road to the LPGA.