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40th U.S. Senior Open expected to leave economic impact on Michiana

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 40th U.S. Senior Open is underway at the Warren Golf Course at Notre Dame this week and the USGA expects the championship to bring in millions of dollars to the Michiana area.

The USGA projects the tour to create an economic impact of more than $20 million to the South Bend-Elkhart area.

Nick Kleva with visit South Bend Mishawaka says his team treats this championship like another home football game. He says those bring $18-20 million to Michiana, Kleva estimates the U.S. Senior Open will bring in roughly the same amount.

Kleva adds visitors will fill 3,000 hotel rooms over the next week. He explains those golf fans also eat at Michiana restaurants, browse local shops, and may even play a round of golf at a local course.

“Whenever you come to South Bend, you’re enjoying your time here, so this one is huge,” said Kleva.

While Kleva lists those as some of the short term economic benefits of hosting a sporting event of this magnitude in South Bend, he belives there could be long term benefits too.

“It’s something that we put on our resume and the next sporting event that comes in and they see that and then another sporting event comes in,” said Kleva. “Once we have that big, signature event, othere events will follow it in years and then that’s kind of the long term, because we’ll just keep additing it to our sports resume and to our great community that we have to offer. It’s not just this one. This one will help bring in future events.”

The U.S. Senior Open is just one of two major golf tournaments to stop in Michiana within the last month. Earlier this month, the LGPA Symetra Tour stopped at Blackburn Golf Course.

Local courses say the stops come at a good time because the weather is impacting their business this year, but they hope the U.S. Senior Open and Symetra Tour remind people Michiana is a great place to get a round in when it is nice outside.

“When you get those rainy days, you lose in terms of numbers of rounds and we’re hoping to recoup that,” said Director of Marketing for City of South Bend Golf Courses Jim Kubinski.

Kubinski estimates the tours increase business at other area courses by 10 to 20 percent. He explains the tours shut down courses for a week or two, which forces the courses’ regular players to golf somewhere else.

“I think it’s just the realization that Michiana is a good golf destination,” said Kubinski. “There are a lot of great courses, a lot of big things happening. When we have a major championship with the Senior Open, it gives people that feeling, even your regular golfers, say, ‘Wow we have a lot to offer in this area.’”

For more information on the 40th U.S. Senior Open, click here.

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