HARRIS - By nearly any standard the Symetra Tour's stop at Sweetgrass Golf Club has been a rousing success, and that includes the hundreds of fans and volunteers that help make all of this possible.
The event, now in it's second year, is drawing spectators from outlying areas. Charlie Gross of Marquette volunteered as a caddy for Maria Laura Elvira of Buenos Aires, Argentina and was also enjoying the event later from the grandstand on the 18th green.
"On a beautiful day like this, there is no better experience. I wish there were more fans, but it is Friday and I know there will be more Saturday and Sunday," he said.
Of caddying for Elvira, he said, "She was very polite and social which made my job easier. She played well. I'll be caddying for her tomorrow and hopefully Sunday (if she makes the cut) as well. She really likes it here in the U.P."
Jody Holm of Rapid River was a caddy for Lisa Meldrum.
"I liked it," he said. "I learned a lot and got to be close to the golf."
Scott Sticha and Steve Paul of Green Bay made their first visit to Sweetgrass to watch the Symetra event.
"It's a pretty cool set-up they have here, very fan friendly, a nice layout," said Sticha.
Paul said, "It's great entertainment for the dollar and a very nice course they have here."
Paul's comments on getting bang for his buck were shared by Victor Stock of Gladstone.
"I'm absolutely happy with the concession prices here, the prices are very reasonable ($2 for food and refreshments). I hope they can keep it that way with the economy the way it is," he said.
"I think the entertainment value is excellent. The course is beautiful and the arrangement of the grandstands on different holes enable you to bounce around."
Stock also commented on the course itself.
"I'm a member at Gladstone Golf Club but I've played this course twice. This course (Sweetgrass) is nicer and more manicured. I love this course and I've scored well on it. The rates here are also very reasonable."
The Motto family of Escanaba (Doreen, Kelsey and Sandra) were in the stands Friday afternoon after a day of volunteering as shuttle transports. Doreen Motto is also hosting two athletes - Laura Crawford and Natalie Sheary.
"I've only been spectating for a short time today but this is a great event for the community," said Doreen.
Kelsey, Doreen's niece, and a member of the Escanaba High School girls golf team, enjoyed the experience of shuttling players.
"The girls I've shuttled were very friendly," she said.
Kelsey's mother Sandy said shuttling players was "Awesome. I was a spectator last year but decided to get involved this year. Players I talked to said the course was in great shape but the wind was a factor."
Also volunteering to drive a shuttle was John Breitzman of Escanaba.
"I was a marshall in the morning and shuttled players afterward. Talking to the girls, they really enjoy it out here a lot. One girl I talked to said this is one of her top three courses in the country," he said.
John Furno, originally of Iron Mountain, travelled here from Los Angeles - not primarily for the Symetra event, but decided to take it in while he was here.
"It's a pretty good event here," he said. "It was easy to get to and easy to navigate. There's just one thing missing. They don't have the yardage (of each hole) listed in the program guide."
Harold Levesque of Escanaba was impressed by the skill of the Symetra golfers.
"Watching this event makes me jealous that I can't hit as well as these kids," he said. "So far it's been interesting."