Open means millions to area
Economic impact estimated at more than $140 million
By NICHOLAS DETTMANN - Daily News
June 21, 2015
In this file photo, Patrick Cantlay of Los Almaitos,
Calif., tees off on the first hole during the final
round of the US Amateur Championship at Erin Hills
Golf Course in the town of Erin on Aug. 28, 2011.
John Ehlke/Daily News
It’s two years away, but that doesn’t mean businesses and
communities aren’t getting ready for the 117th U.S. Open men’s
golf championship at Erin Hills, a tournament the USGA projects
will generate more than $140 million between Washington,
Waukesha and Milwaukee counties.
“It’ll be a shot in the arm for our retail businesses and other
venues, like the library and the Wisconsin Auto Museum,”
Hartford Mayor Joe Dautermann said.
“If there is a serious infusion of money to local businesses,
that could be a marvelous thing for growth in the downtown
The U.S. Open at Erin Hills will be June 12-18, 2017. Practice
rounds will be June 12-14.
It’ll be the third major USGA event Erin Hills has hosted since
it opened in 2006. The course has previously hosted the 2008
U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship and the 2011 U.S.
Men’s Amateur Championship.
The 2017 U.S. Open will be the first to be
held in Wisconsin. The championship was awarded to Erin Hills in
After this week’s U.S. Open at Chambers Bay,
only the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania
stands in the way of Erin Hills.
“It’s exciting,” West Bend Mayor Kraig
Sadownikow said. “It’s right around the corner.”
The USGA, according to Elaine Motl,
executive director for Visit Washington County, projected an
economic impact to be between $140-$170 million.
That estimate is based on research of
previous U.S. Open tournaments. The money would be generated
from restaurants, gas stations, gift shops, tourist spots and
The municipalities will only get money from
the tournament off the hotel tax, which can only be used for
If West Bend, for example, wanted to do a
road construction project, it wouldn’t be able to use tax
dollars from the U.S. Open.
The idea, Sadownikow said, is to entice
people to come back once they’ve been to the area.
“Anybody who’s able to benefit financially
by the U.S. Open being here and be good stewards of their money,
they’ll put that money to grow,” Dautermann said. “It’s more
than a temporary benefit, it’s a long-term benefit.”
Sales tax money from gas stations,
restaurants, etc., is taken in by the county and the state, but
for the same thing: tourism.
“This is something we’ll see as a bump for
our retailers,” Sadownikow said.
On Monday, tickets for next year’s U.S. Open
went on sale. The USGA capped single-day attendance at 30,000
per day. Tickets started at $50 for the practice rounds.
Stubhub.com, single-day passes for the first round started
Ticket prices and single-day attendance
capacity won’t be set until about this time next year.
“It’s an incredible opportunity for
Washington County, but also the state of Wisconsin,” Motl said.
“Two years will go by very quickly. We are excited.”
“It’s an exciting opportunity for the local
communities and the state on the national spotlight,” said
Danielle Johnson, public relations representative for the
state’s Department of Tourism.
Johnson said the state got more than $18
billion for tourism in 2014. This year, with the PGA
Championship at Whistling Straits in Kohler and in 2017 with the
U.S. Open, the tourism economic boom figures to be higher.
“We’re really excited to host these
tournaments,” Johnson said. “It really provides an opportunity
to show Wisconsin as a travel destination.”
If that happens, Dautermann and Sadownikow
agree if more people come to Wisconsin and then come back, it
only means good things for local businesses.
“People will be spending money and
businesses that are here will stay here,” Dautermann said.
Reach reporter Nicholas