Tourism leaders reflect on effects of KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


Since the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship was first brought to Harbor Shores more than ten years ago, the region has seen its tourism industry grow dramatically. Southwest Michigan Tourist Council Director Marcy Simpson tells us the international coverage given to the PGA event really puts the region on the map. She’s seen a lot of new development.

“We’ve gotten eight new hotels in those years since the senior PGA has been here, many new restaurants, craft beverage makers,” Simpson said. “We’ve gotten new short-term rentals and other small businesses as well.”

Simpson says not only do people come to Southwest Michigan as guests during the event so they can attend, but the publicity the championship gives to the area drives in visitors.

“I recently met a couple who traveled here for the week from the east side of the state to attend the tournament. They’re staying at a local campground and they’re looking forward to the tournament and seeing some things in the area as well.”

Simpson says the PGA event also means extra fun for residents.

“There’s a lot of community events that take place around the SPGA. For instance, Wednesday night, there’s a community concert in downtown Benton Harbor that is free for everyone to attend, and that’s always a big hit for folks coming in for the tournament as well as locals.”

The Southwest Michigan Tourist Council will have a presence at Harbor Shores with the championship as its Makers Trail 19th Hole will once again be a stop for weary spectators. A premium ticket allows entrance to the Makers Trail Pavilion to try out the region’s best craft beverages, barbecue, and more. It’s located new the 17th hole green.

The PGA event is being held in Benton Harbor for the final time this year.

“We’ve just been extremely proud to play host in addition to partner with the Senior PGA with the Makers Trail 19th Hole Pavilion,” Simpson said. “It’s been a really special time for the Senior PGA to be here right in our backyard.”

The 84th KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship will tee off at Harbor Shores Thursday.


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