Nothing raises the profile of a golf course faster than hosting a world-class golf event. For the publicly-owned Chambers Bay golf course on Puget Sound near Tacoma, Washington, last year’s hosting of the 2015 U.S. Open has put the course on the map.
For officials, the great thing is this: the impact is still being felt.
The 250-acre course, which was built on the site of a former gravel and sand mine and opened in 2007, has been declared the “number one public golf course in Washington State” by Golf Digest magazine, and it’s now starting to reap the benefits of holding one of the world’s largest and most prestigious golf events.
The walking-only course, which has been managed by KemperSports on behalf of Pierce County since its inception, recently released the hard numbers that underscore the marketing benefits that hosting the National Championship has brought.
“As a result of 40 hours of television coverage that reached nearly 35 million viewers, Chambers Bay experienced a significant shift in the geographic origin of customers,” according to a Pierce County press release. “In the months following the Championship, the percentage of rounds played by golfers from outside the state of Washington reached 41 percent, more than double the historical average.”
In 2015, Chambers Bay hosted golfers from 45 states and 13 countries around the world. This represents a significant increase over the visitor tally from 2014, when the course played host to visitors from only 12 states and Canada. The U.S. Golf Association (USGA) has estimated that hosting the 2015 U.S. Open brought a $134 million dollar infusion to the region, which traditionally isn’t known for golf.
“The overarching theme when developing Chambers Bay was to build a course that would attract tourism and benefit the fiscal health of the county,” said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy in the release. “All economic reports validate that the 2015 U.S. Open was a tremendous success and should remain a source of pride for the entire Pacific Northwest.”
“You can’t put a price tag on the value of the exposure to a television audience of that size. The beauty of Chambers Bay and Pierce County were on display for the world to see,” said KemperSports general manager Matt Allen. “We look forward to maintaining the momentum in the upcoming golf season,” he said.
Asked to review the course during the U.S. Open, players had mixed feedback about the course. According to The Boston Globe, 2015 U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth called it “inventive,” while Jason Day described it as “different.”
The 2015 U.S. Open was the first time the event had been held in the Pacific Northwest.