Renee DeLosh knows all about Hazeltine National’s history and passion for hosting major championships. She was a volunteer for the 2009 PGA Championship and worked for the PGA of America as Director of Corporate Hospitality for the 2016 Ryder Cup. Now she’s back as the Championship Director for the 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
The tournament, one of five Majors on the LPGA Tour, will be played June 20-23, but Renee has been working on the event since the PGA of America announced it was coming to Minnesota almost two years ago. Now, with final preparations underway, we asked her about the tournament, her ties to Hazeltine, and what makes the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship different than the other majors on either tour.
What’s the size of your team and what does all of the work entail?
Renee: Our onsite Championship team is fully staffed, so that means seven people. Our team covers all aspects of the event execution, including Sales, Marketing & Promotions, Operations, and Volunteer Operations. Later this month, we will bring on additional interns who will help us with our course build. We also work very closely with the team at PGA Headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
We also are very grateful for the 1,500 volunteers that currently comprise about 30 different committees. We could not stage an event of this caliber without them, and they work tirelessly.
What were your favorite memories from the 2016 Ryder Cup?
Renee: I loved everything about the Ryder Cup. I had been working on the event for about three years leading into Ryder Cup week. One of my favorite memories was standing on the first tee very early in the morning just a few days before the event. The course was set, but no one was around. It was eerily quiet. I got goosebumps just thinking about all it took to get there and all the activity that was about to occur. It was the calm before the storm.
The memories from that week will last a lifetime. The fans, the energy, the enthusiasm, the chanting, the roars — all of it was special.
What was your impression of Hazeltine at that event?
Renee: Hazeltine knocked it out of the park as host of the Ryder Cup. It is a three-year runway to execute this massive/global event. The membership was extremely supportive and engaged in the entire process. The fact that the 2028 Ryder Cup is coming back to Hazeltine is a true testament to what a great host site they are. The depth of experience the membership has with hosting events is invaluable.
What’s the biggest challenge of hosting a big event at Hazeltine?
Renee: Mother Nature, as always, is a variable in our planning and construction process. We are coming off a very long winter, and our course construction starts in a few days. There are a lot of moving parts that come together to make these events work. Since the 2016 Ryder Cup, we’ve had an opportunity to build on so many terrific relationships we had with our community partners. This makes our job a bit easier, as we simply picked up right where we left off.
What does the PGA like about Hazeltine?
Renee: The PGA of America has a long history with Hazeltine, which also includes a pair of PGA Championships in 2002 and 2009. One of the main reasons Championship golf continues to return to Hazeltine is the passion of the membership to host Major Championships. Each new member agrees to become part of this passion when they join the Club. There are many great clubs and golf courses across the country, but the membership is not always willing to make the sacrifices necessary to host Championship golf at the highest levels. Hazeltine members, however, have always answered the call.
Is it helpful that the club has so much experience with big events?
Renee: The members at Hazeltine have a long-standing passion for hosting Major Championships that is really generational. That commitment, which began back in 1966, has never wavered, and now includes our KPMG Women's PGA Championship, the 2020 U.S. Junior Amateur, 2024 U.S. Amateur, and the 2028 Ryder Cup. It’s remarkable.
What makes the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship special?
Renee: I hope that people understand that what sets the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship apart is the collaboration of the PGA of America, LPGA, and KPMG. It’s unique. Together, we all share the mission to help future generations of women to be more successful on and off the golf course. We’re also committed to making this the best event in women’s golf. It’s going to be a terrific week.