HARRIS - A field of 144 golfers does more than just hit the course when they participate in the Symetra Tour Road to the LPGA.
There is an "Outside The Ropes" program that enables players to make contact with area residents at each stop, and this week's visit to Sweetgrass Golf Club provides an excellent example.
Several players will spend 90 minutes today at Lakestate Industries to assist in the recycling program at the facility on Escanaba's north side.
Wednesday another group of players will work 90 minutes with summer day camp students and Salvation Army food bank in south Escanaba.
Saturday evening members of the Escanaba Yacht Club will provide three cruises, with 65 players and tour officials participating in each of the sessions that begin at 5 p.m., 6:30 and 8 p.m.
There are also two pro-am events at the Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass, with 36 players in the Wednesday and Thursday sessions in which about 130 tourney sponsors and friends join the five-player scramble.
A youth clinic is planned at 4 p.m. Wednesday for ages 10-14, with eight Symetra players providing lessons. Among the instructors will be Carley Saint-Onge of Marquette, one of two amateurs in the field. A redshirt freshman at Michigan State University, Saint-Onge shot 87-72 last year and missed the cut at Sweetgrass.
Saint-Onge won four Upper Peninsula Division 1 titles at Marquette High School and then won the Upper Peninsula Ladies Golf Association championship last year. She is not expected to defend that title because of other tourney commitments.
Seven of last year's top 10 at Sweetgrass have moved on to the LPGA Tour and defending champion Stephanie Kim will not return after having ankle surgery, leaving Sarah Brown, Laura Kueny and Natalie Sheary as the top returnees.
Blair O'Neal is back after shooting a 5-under-par 67 to share the course record with Kim, who did that opening day under gusty conditions.
Two other players who shot nine-hole 4-under 32 records also return, Sara Maude Juneau and Daniele Iacobelli.
Four of this year's tourney winners are among the entrants, Megan McCrystal, Sara Brown, Lauren Doughtie and Kristie Smith.
Four of the top five players on the money list are also in the field. McCrystal is second, Jean Chua is third, Doughtie is fourth and Smith is fifth. Money leader Esther Choe, a two-time winner, is not in the Sweetgrass field.
Four Sweetgrass entrants will compete in the U.S. Open next week at Kohler, Wis., Lili Alvarez, Sue Kim, Veronica Felibert and Mi Hyang Lee. That event is at Blackwolf Run, which also hosted the 1998 Open won by Si Re Pak in an 18-hole playoff.
Nine Sweetgrass players have competed on The Golf Channel's series, including Alvarez, O'Neal, Sara Brown, Annie Brophy, Carling Coffing, Selanee Henderson, Nina Rodriguez, Gloriana Soto and Nicole Smith.
The Symetra Tour website (symetratour.com) gives viewers a chance to pick their winner for each tournament. As of Monday, Carling Coffing has received 23 percent of the vote to win at Sweetgrass.
Leah Wigger received nine percent of the vote, Brianna Vega got eight percent, McCrystal has six percent, Doughtie and Camilla Lennarth have three percent. Others had 44 percent.