Winning a golf tournament constitutes a pretty fantastic way to end a weekend, as my husband and I learned first hand yesterday. Together with professional golfer Heather Angell and two other great local amateurs, we took home the trophy for the 2018 Phil Kosin Illinois Women’s Open Pro-Am, held at Mistwood Golf Club in Romeoville.

Not even the thought of playing Kelpie’s Korner (three round-breaking holes around a lake) again could dampen our spirits as we raised our glass victory cups high during the awards dinner following the tournament. Reflecting on the setup, organization, course condition, refreshments and player pairings, the entire day was a first-class experience, start to finish, and it helped me discover what a gem Mistwood truly is—for golf tournaments or any other event.

First, the course, grounds and buildings were all in incredible condition, despite the wet summer we’ve had. Even if you have nongolfers in your group, they’ll appreciate the atmosphere and environment at this special place. It’s lush, welcoming and gorgeous—a welcome respite from the bustle of the city and traffic on I-55 (though I can’t say the same for the St. Andrews-style sod wall bunkers dotting several holes, but that’s a different story).

Second, the jovial, accommodating staff is unparalleled. Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet Jim McWethy, who also played in the tournament and for whom Mistwood’s on-site restaurant, McWethy’s Tavern, is named, as he’s donated more than $15 million toward the renovation of Mistwood in the last several years. I also ran into Dan Bradley, general manager, whose high energy and passion for the game are apparent within moments of meeting him. When I complimented him on the team he has at Mistwood, he nodded in agreement, noting they were an extremely talented bunch that don’t take anything too seriously and love to have fun. That attitude permeates the golf club and positively influences any group who convenes there, I’d imagine.

Third, the organization of the tournament was among the best I’ve seen, and I’ve played in my fair share. It’s not always easy to get dozens of golfers on the right holes, with the right teams, in the right carts, with the right bags on time for a shotgun start, but the entire program went off without a hitch. In the 90-degree, high-humidity afternoon, hydration was key, and the beverage carts always came by at precisely the right time, affording us much-needed water and Gatorades to fuel our round. During major events, I’ve learned, sometimes the little details can make a big impact.

The icing on the cake was, of course, getting to tally up that -15 score, which included birdies on every single hole on the back nine. Mistwood pulled off a day we’ll remember forever, and I’m confident they would create that same kind of experience for other groups, too.

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