GARDEN CITY, Kansas – Women pro golfers have been arriving in Garden City since Sunday for the first ever Garden City Charity Classic. It’s part of the Symetra Tour, an official LPGA qualifying tour.
“It’s exciting, it means that our town is growing, we’re growing by leaps and bounds,” said Larry Johnson, the Finney County Convention and Visitors Bureau Event Planner.
It’s the 19th stop on the tour, the final one before the championship, which means all eyes will be on the athletes… and the Buffalo Dunes golf course.
“Golf is a business in Finney County, so anything we can do to promote that business we appreciate,” said Finney County Economic Development Director Lona DuVall, “and having the opportunity to bring a lot of folks out here to the community, see something they haven’t seen before, it’s exciting for us.”
By bringing in such a large event, with competitors, their families, and spectators, Garden City has an opportunity to grow.
“What’s great about this tournament is you can look around you and see economic development everywhere,” said CVB Director Kimberlea Inderlied. “It’s all people coming in, having a great time, then leaving your community and telling everyone else how great it is and that they should go as well.”
The tournament winner will get $15,000 in prize money, but for Garden City as a whole, the event could bring in as much as $2 million in revenue. Official numbers won’t be available until after the tournament is over, but hotels around town are filling up.
“The new Marriott [is] ecstatic, because they’re sold out for the first time since they’ve been open.,” Johnson said.
Plus, the athletes are spending time out in garden.
“Everything has been great,” said Symetra’s Director of Tournament Business Affairs Tim Kramer. “The Clarion, Samy and those guys have taken care of everybody. We’re looking forward to the party tonight at the Crazy House. This is a unique place to be, so we’re excited about being here.”
The tournament starts on Thursday morning, and tickets are free.