Beginning May 15th through May 21st, Rochester N.Y. is going to be at the epicenter of the international sports media as Oak Hill Country Club hosts the 2023 PGA Championship. Having had the privilege of attending PGA events throughout my career, including the Ryder Cup, two PGAs and a Senior PGA, I can attest to the fact that there is no sporting event like it in Rochester.
We are so fortunate to once again be able to host this year’s prestigious PGA Championship. Nearly every major golf pro will be here, along with CEOs, board chairs, professional athletes, actors and celebrities from around the globe who will descend upon Rochester for that week to be part of this wonderful event.
Country clubs and cities across the country compete every year to be able to host one of these gatherings. Thanks to the outstanding leadership at Oak Hill Country Club, we will have hosted the 2nd most PGA Championships of any course in the United States and we hope that this streak continues in perpetuity.
Aside from being able to watch great golf and walk alongside some of our favorite sports stars and celebrities, Rochester, Monroe County and New York State will benefit tremendously from the economic impact of hosting the 2023 PGA Championship.
As I write this column, the Championship is completely sold out and the only tickets available now are through third party sellers and social media. It reinforces the importance of what this event will bring to Rochester. We are expecting more than 225,000 spectators to descend upon Oak Hill for the entire week and the course will be adorned with chalets from a huge number of both U.S. and international businesses, as well as by the international media and other organizations who support the PGA.
More than one-third of ticket holders will be visiting Rochester from at least 100 miles away and they are expected to stay between two and three days at local hotels, Airbnb’s, or private homes. It is estimated that our guests spend an average of well over $100 per day for a total of at least $9 million for the week, which includes offsite spending on food, beverage and transportation.
In addition, over 10,000 credentialed attendees, including professional golfers, PGA staff and officials, along with family members and media, will visit Rochester that week and are expected to stay for at least six days. These attendees will spend an estimated $8 million during the week and about 6,000 hotel rooms will be booked locally at an average rate north of $350 per night, which I sense will at least double by tournament time.
The local economy is expecting close to a $200 million boost and the creation of approximately 1,200 jobs throughout the tournament. Our governments will benefit tremendously, with over $19 million expected in state and local revenue in the forms of sales, income and other such taxes.
This will be a huge boost for Monroe County, the City of Rochester (which shares sales tax revenue with Monroe County) and New York State. Any investment by these governments toward the PGA tournament will have an ROI of 10 to 20 times what they invest, which by anyone’s math is a great deal. We are grateful to the local and state government leaders who have committed support to this event. The overwhelming support will, hopefully, encourage the PGA to keep returning to Oak Hill Country Club and Rochester in the future.
Every tournament turns into a wonderful infusion of revenue, attention and support for our local and regional economies. Aside from the economic benefits of hosting the PGA Championship, it is a chance to show off Rochester and the Finger Lakes region on every medium, internationally and domestically, from traditional media to social media and everything in between. Rochester will be at the epicenter of their attention throughout the week, but specifically during the Championship Rounds Thursday through Sunday.
There will be stories, pictures and other snapshots of our region, which we hope and expect will further the interest in tourism and investment in the future. Like every community, we have our challenges, but we also have so much to be proud of. Rochester and the Finger Lakes region are idyllic. When people come here, they tend to want to come back – and maybe even purchase a home or vacation property or locate their business.
It is impossible to purchase the level of media attention that the PGA will bring to Rochester during the third week of May. So much credit for drawing the PGA to Rochester over the years goes to Oak Hill Country Club, along with their leadership, staff and members. It is one of the highest-rated and most beautiful golf courses in the country and the world and it has always been a favorite for major championships among professional golfers.
I had the pleasure of driving through the grounds recently and was struck by the sheer beauty and greenery of Oak Hill, even in late April. It is our hope that the weather gods will be smiling on us in May and every day will bring sun and temperatures in the 70s, creating a gorgeous spectacle for visitors to enjoy.
Restaurants, stores and businesses large and small will benefit greatly from the professional golfers, their staff and all the visitors coming. People will be making reservations for dinners, events, parties and gatherings. They will also look for places to exercise and attractions to which they can take their families. Many of these professionals have been here before, but for many, this will be their first time in Rochester.
The local companies involved in construction work, landscaping and helping to create the infrastructure for this world class event created a huge number of jobs even before the tournament arrived. Local crews have been working every day for months and the wonderful PGA team has been on the ground for nearly a year preparing for this event.
I want to take a moment to recognize the PGA staff, who have been exceptional. Bryan Karns, the tournament director, John Handley, the marketing leader, Kristin Powers, the hospitality leader and so many others have been wonderful to work with. The entire PGA team are all consummate professionals and I could not think of better representatives for this great organization than the team they have sent to Rochester to prepare for this year’s championship. The PGA should be very proud of the caliber of talent and professionalism that they have recruited and their team on the ground has created goodwill that will last a lifetime.
An additional benefit of PGA Week will be the presence of our great Buffalo Bills organization. We recently had the honor of hosting Buffalo Bills Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Ron Raccuia for a wonderful event at Oak Hill. Ron mentioned that the Bills organization, from management to star players, will be in town every day during PGA week to watch some great golf, enjoy friendly gatherings and continue to create the goodwill and support that the Bills organization has excelled at.
And for all of you Josh Allen fans, get ready. We have been told that QB1 will be in Rochester for PGA week and we’re looking forward to providing him with a fun and memorable fan experience.
The 2023 PGA Championship is not just about golf. It is about our economy, tourism and reinforcing the pride that we all have in our region. We live in one of the most beautiful areas in the country, if not the world and we often take it for granted. But I can assure you that our guests during PGA week will not.
I have watched recent broadcasts of PGA tournaments on TV and I am so proud when I hear mentions of the upcoming Championship at Oak Hill in Rochester. It gives me great pride to hear our community mentioned in such positive terms. Starting on May 15th, it is our chance to show the world once again what a great community Rochester is. We are known for our hospitality, our grace and our welcoming spirit and that will come out in full force throughout the week.
I hope everyone who reads this column will have a chance to either come to the PGA or benefit in some way from this great event. Most importantly, I urge you to take every opportunity to greet any out-of-town guests or visitors with a warm smile, a welcoming spirit and make them feel right at home.
In the world of marketing and social media, every state, city and community across our country tries to put their best foot forward to promote themselves to businesses, tourists and future residents. PGA Championship Week gives Rochester a gift that is invaluable. We will be at the center of international sports media and showcasing not just the golf, but Oak Hill Country Club and our surrounding communities. We have a chance to remind people of our rich history and make them a part of our future, which is equally exciting.
We as a community often do not promote ourselves as much as we should, but this event will accelerate these efforts like never before. The PGA keeps coming back to Rochester every decade for a reason and we should be proud of that reason. Let’s all relish PGA week here in Rochester, put our best foot forward and showcase our community like never before.
We want the PGA and those 225,000+ visitors to return in the future and look at Rochester as a place to locate a business, bring their family and purchase a home.
Be proud Rochester and let’s show the world how great we are during PGA week and beyond.
Robert J. Duffy is president and CEO of Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at [email protected]o