The Washington Times-Herald


August 2, 2013

More than just Pluto Water and 3-pointers

For the most part, Tuesday seemed like just about any other day this summer in the Wabash Valley. However, If one had their ear to ground and pointed toward the southeast, one heard a pretty significant rumble.

In French Lick (or West Baden if you want to parse geography), the PGA of America announced that the 2015 Senior PGA golf championship would be coming to the Pete Dye Course at the French Lick Resort.

Now for non-golfers this might not mean much, but for the 50-mile area surrounding the French Lick resort, it will mean a lot. The PGA recently had the Professional National Tournament there, and they must have been impressed, because the Senior PGA is normally played at a course that is being groomed for something bigger, like a PGA championship or a Ryder Cup.

So what does that have to do with us? Money.

In a article out of Louisville in 2011, it was estimated that the Senior PGA that was played at Valhalla generated 4,350 paid room nights at area hotels. More than four hotels and several corporate apartments were needed to accommodate PGA guests and staff alone, according to a PGA official. More than 50,000 spectators attended that event and it pumped about $25 million into the Louisville-area economy, according to a release from the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Now I can do the math and I know what is available for food and lodging in Orange County, and that means Washington, Jasper/Huntingburg, Bedford, Jeffersonville/Louisville and Bloomington should all see overflow bookings to hotels and restaurants during that time.

Since golf fans are also normally golfers, they should be significantly more play at the surrounding area golf courses and hopefully some return play as well, along with money spent on gas, food and libations.

And oh yeah, it will be a very cool tournament as well.

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