Solheim Cup attendees might find Des Moines more than just a sleepy Midwest city

Solheim Cup attendees might find Des Moines more than just a sleepy Midwest city

Travel

Solheim Cup attendees might find Des Moines more than just a sleepy Midwest city

In advance of the Solheim Cup, the Greater Des Moines Convention & Visitors Bureau supplied networks with video footage of the city.

Greg Edwards, president of the CVB, said the footage is intended “to show that we’re not just wandering around the streets in bib overalls and the pigs are walking the streets. We really are a city here, believe it or not.”

Indeed, Solheim Cup participants and fans might be surprised by what they find when they arrive in Iowa’s capital city next month. Des Moines is one world’s largest hubs for the insurance industry. That’s complemented by a significant arts community, an emerging craft-brew scene and the hip East Village area lined with local shops, restaurants and galleries nestled between the Iowa State Capitol and the Des Moines River. The city doesn’t have a major-league franchise but is home to the Chicago Cubs’ AAA team, the Iowa Cubs.

The Solheim Cup, Aug. 18-20 at Des Moines Golf & Country Club in West Des Moines, won’t even be the biggest event in the city that week. That title goes to the 11-day Iowa State Fair, which annually draws more than a million visitors, making it the biggest annual event in the state. There, as Edwards noted, you can find any kind of food you want on a stick, including deep-fried butter.

Iowans also have proved they’ll show up for big sports events. When the U.S. Senior Open was played at Des Moines Golf & Country Club in 1999, it drew more than 250,000 spectators over seven days. An international event such as the Solheim Cup, with its patriotic fervor that plays particularly well across the heartland (witness last year’s Ryder Cup in Minneapolis), figures to be a home run in Des Moines.

For Edwards and his staff, the Solheim Cup is a prime opportunity to tell their city’s story.

“People generally are not familiar with Des Moines, and our past research has always shown most people don’t even have an image of what Des Moines is all about,” Edwards said.

They know it’s in the Midwest, in the middle of agricultural country and not too far from Chicago. And they know Iowa receives plenty of attention during the political seasons as the nation’s first caucus state. But Edwards, who moved to Des Moines in 2000, learned early on that even the supposedly sophisticated, big-city reporters who poured into the state needed an education on the city.

“I remember all the big networks coming to town calling our office saying, ‘Where can we do a nice shot in front of a barn in the middle of a farm field,’ ” said Edwards, whose staff would try to steer them toward more bustling areas downtown.

The Solheim Cup, which will attract thousands of golf fans to the city, is one more chance to dispel those stereotypes.

Latest

More Golfweek
Home