Rich Harvest Farms poses tough test for ISU golf


Scott Fernandez, a returning starter for the ISU men’s golf team, won an individual title at the VCU Shootout last fall.

Brian Freda

Immaculate greens and tight tee shots are what the ISU men’s golf team has to look forward to when they travel to Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill., for the Northern Intercollegiate this weekend.

An exceptional private course, Rich Harvest Farms was voted as No. 58 out of America’s top 100 golf courses in Golf Digest.

“It’s always exciting for the first tournament,” said ISU coach Andrew Tank.

Tank’s expectations are to pick up where the team left off last season. Standards were raised last year after the team made its first regional NCAA appearance since 1999.

“I don’t want to treat this as a ‘well, let’s go out and play and see where we’re at’ as much as … ‘go out and play well,'” Tank said.

The starters packing their bags for Illinois include sophomores Scott Fernandez, Sam Daley, Blake Walker, junior Duncan Croudis and senior Borja Virto.

Tournament play will consist of five players from each team, counting the top four players’ strokes. With 12 schools in attendance, this weekend should prove to be a long one.

Players will compete in threesomes with 36 holes on Saturday and 18 following on Sunday.

Among the teams in attendance are Central Florida and Virginia. Tank said Central Florida “had a nice year last year” and “Virginia is a strong program.”

Although Tank is confident in his team, he said there are good teams at the event with a number of them having made it to the NCAA Championships last year.

The course is made up of two nine-hole arrangements, gold and silver, which will be played consecutively on Saturday and Sunday.

Devil’s Elbow, the No. 4 silver hole, is one of the “10 hardest tee shots in golf” said Alex Kline-Wedeen, sales manager at Rich Harvest Farms.

Kline-Wedeen knows what is expected of players at this level having played for Aurora University and recently competing in amateur tournaments.

Kline-Wedeen said players have to be careful while playing eight gold, known as the cottage. It’s the “number one handicap” for the course and consists of a par four that plays entirely over water.

Jerry Rich, designer and owner of Rich Harvest Farms, looks forward to hosting this weekend’s tournament.

“You’ve got to think your way through the golf course,” Rich said. “From the tee through the green you have to think out every shot.”

Fans can follow the tournament in real time at