Organizers are preparing Bellerive Country Club for 100th PGA Championship | St. Louis Public Radio

Organizers are preparing Bellerive Country Club for 100th PGA Championship

Aug 28, 2017

A major sporting event in St. Louis next summer will give the region worldwide attention. The 100th PGA Championship will take place at Bellerive Country Club in Town and Country.

The PGA's tournament director, Barry Deach, has set up office at the club. He recently spoke about the potential impact, preparations, partnerships and how the event goes beyond the course, thanks to initiatives that will benefit the community for several years.

The Numbers

  • 61,000 people have registered for tickets
  • 4,0000 have volunteered to help at the tournament
  • 200-plus countries will show the event on TV
  • 30 hours (at least) of live television
  • 40 tournament vendors representing about 2,000 workers
  • 5 current staff members

Source: 100th PGA Championship

Lasting Impact

Deach says the bid presentation by Bellerive Country Club and the Gateway PGA of America section, which includes St. Louis, linked hosting the tournament with a long-lasting impact on the region. The organizations launched the nonprofit organization PGA Reach, with works with youth, veterans and diversity issues around the game.

The organization plans to partner with community organizations to support initiatives to help develop more high school graduates, build a multi-use community complex in north St. Louis and implement golf programs for veterans. Deach says the effort will have generated about $1 million for legacy and outreach efforts in St. Louis by the time the tournament starts.

Partnership Focus
The logo for the 100th PGA Championship. It will take place Aug. 6-12, 2018 at Bellerive Country Club in Town and Country.
Credit 100th PGA Championship

Community partnerships have been developed with the city of St. Louis, Explore St. Louis, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Blues. Deach says officials have contacted to Missouri tourism officials in Jefferson City.

This is part of an effort to build stories about the region that will be told during the global broadcast to more than 200 nations. Deach said he many more partnerships because interest in being associated with the 100th PGA Championship is high because the event is considered a "unique opportunity in the world of sport."

Organizational Challenges

Deach said the PGA has been planning the annual tournament for a century "so, we've got a pretty good playbook."

The 11th hole at Bellerive Country Club. The club started in 1897 in north St. Louis. It moved to its current location on Ladue Road in 1960.
Credit 100th PGA Championship

Coordination with local communities for security, safety and logistical issues can be challenging, he said, but it is vital for any major sporting event. Representatives from many in the region, like Creve Coeur and Town and Country are familiar what it takes to put on a major golf tournament, he said.   

Many of them attended area events in 2002, 2008 and 2013. But he added that the magnitude of the 2018 event will be "slightly larger than all of those combined" when you consider how much championship golf has grown over the past few years.

Potential Economic Impact

Trying to put a number on how major events could boost an area economy is not an exact science. Recent PGA Championships had an economic impact from tourists of $100 million. He said the golf tour's combined estimates with Explore St. Louis suggest the effect on the region will be around that figure.

How Will He Gauge Success?

Beyond the economic impact, Deach says he is hoping for a more tangible effect, he said, adding that many people have come up to him over the past few weeks saying, "We need a win."

In his mind, the St. Louis region has already won by landing the 100 PGA Championship. That's a huge accomplishment."

These events tend to take a life of their own and pride among local residents starts to swell, "which is exciting to see," he said 

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