HALIFAX - The next major sporting event coming to Halifax will bring rising golf stars, millions of dollars in economic impact and priceless international exposure.
Mayor Mike Savage joined representatives form SportBox Entertainment Group, the PGA and Web.com Tour Tuesday to announce the New Ashburn Golf Club will host Canada’s first-ever Web.com Tour event.
The Nova Scotia Open will feature 156 golfers competing over 72 holes of stroke play from July 3 to 6, part of a week-long event called GOLFest that will also feature a Canada Cup and Junior Canada Cup. The Canada Cup will include several PGA stars, including Canadians Mike Weir and Graham DeLaet.
“This is not just a golf tournament and going out to some golf,” said Tim Benton, vice-president of business affairs for the PGA tour. “This is a way for us to involve people, a way to promote the city and province.”
SportBox Entertainment’s Grant MacDonald said the Nova Scotia Open alone is expected to add about $4 million to the local economy.
“We know that that is a good start and we want to make sure that we can grow that year over year,” he said.
HRM has committed $300,000 to the 2014 and 2015 events and MacDonald said the province had chipped in a “comparable” amount.
Savage said Halifax will benefit from the exposure that comes from hosting the Web.com event – which will be broadcast on the Golf Channel to about 190 countries.
“It’s a small investment for us for what I think is going to be a very significant payoff in a number of ways,” said Savage.
MacDonald said Ashburn’s Windsor Junction site and Glen Arbour in Hammonds Plains were both in the running to host this year’s Web.com event.
Ashburn’s incoming president said the selection is a nod to the course’s long, competitive design, esthetics and varied amenities, including a practice facility and second course for members to use while the event is underway.
“In the last five years we’ve had a really successful program of, we’ll say, cleaning up the course and rejuvenating it,” said Stephen Vaslet. “So the timing of having this event to be able to test out that program of work was a great time for us.”