Did You Know? – Peggy Briggs

Solheim Cup 2015 – Peggy Briggs

St. Leon-Roc was the site of the 2015 Solheim Cup Matches. My friend Debra and I had planned our trip the day the matches concluded in Colorado 2013. There are many ways to get to the tournament but instead of an organized package, I always opt for my own “do-it-yourself” package.

There is some fun in searching Airbnb for a nearby bed and breakfast and managing transportation (or lack of). I found one just 3 kilometers from the golf course in a small town, Malsch Germany (founded in 983). There were probably less than 2000 residents but they had 4 wineries! I had asked about bus schedules so when we arrived to check in our proprietor had a bus schedule for us. The town had declared free rides all week for anyone holding a ticket to the event. We also tried walking and the trip was only 40 minutes. Oktoberfest was just about to start so that helped burn the calories from our beer and wine tasting adventures.

St. Leon-Roc is a beautiful facility owned by SAP (a company similar to Microsoft). The main sponsors of SAP and Alliance Insurance made everyone welcome from the USA. Every day in the grandstands at the first tee, there were flags, and a variety of noise makers decorated in the USA flag for us and the European Union Flag for the locals. They like it LOUD. With the noise makers and the feet stamping, I now know why the bleachers often collapse at soccer games.

I have attended 7 different venues and I must say that this location had some great viewing stands. One such public stand was circular and encompassed 5 holes, either tee box or green. There was a lot of action out here. There weren’t any port-a-potties but flushables. We did have to bring rain gear and umbrellas every day. They are more tolerant with “carry-in” bags, although they did search them. We could also bring in food or drink, just no glass containers.

The big events are of course opening ceremonies and the first tee box each day. Germany set up an Oktoberfest Tent. It was great if you got to go inside and bad if you didn’t.  Other venues have been outdoors and gave everyone a chance to be a part of the celebrations. The first tee also required you to get up early to get a good seat so you could cheer on our players. Julie Inkster had a large group from her home course make the journey and she came right up into the stands to personally thank people for being there.

The dress of the week was red, white and blue, and Julie wanted us to wear the same colors as the team each day. Debra and I collect patriotic clothes all season long just for this event. The matches were exciting to watch, but match play is different to follow than stroke play. With only 4 groups each session, you need to plan ahead. We always take one of the practice days and walk the golf course to see where we can get our best location for what type of shots we want to see. One day it was tee shots, one day was shots onto the green and one day we followed a group that needed our extra cheering support. Both Friday and Saturday the crowds were loud and drowning out our cheers, but Sunday afternoon you could have heard a pin drop at one of the food court areas.

Team USA was putting on a show and we were so proud of them. Paula Creamer closed us out with a point to win the cup back. I can’t wait for 2017 and West Des Moines Country Club. I lived near there when I was young and have already “reserved a room” from a grade school friend.

I would encourage everyone to attend a Solheim Cup.

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