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Back-to-Back Pinehurst U.S. Opens to have huge economic impact

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Two golf tournaments having a $169 million economic impact to the state of North Carolina?

Yep.

According to Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen Area Convention Bureau / N.C. State University, the back-to-back U.S. Opens are expected to bring at least $169 million to North Carolina.

Golf has always been important to North Carolina, but it may be no more important than it will be in 2014.

Here's why:

- The USGA is expecting a total attendance of 400,000 spectators from June 9-22.

- Projections say 55,000 fans per day will visit Pinehurst during the 114th U.S. Open Championship weekend (June 14-15).

- A total of 6,500 volunteers will assist with both tournaments, representing all 50 states and 12 countries.

- It's a big two weeks for hotels in North Carolina as visitors are expected to occupy 90,000 hotel room nights in Moore County and the surrounding region.

- It's amazing to see what golf means to North Carolina. North Carolina’s golf industry has a total economic impact of $4.2 billion per year. It supports nearly 69,000 jobs and $1.7 billion in annual wage income (source: GOLF 20/20).

- If you want to play golf, you don't have look very hard to find a great course. Currently, there are 537 golf facilities, or 9,864 holes, in North Carolina (source: National Golf Foundation).

Steve Mona, CEO or World Golf Foundation says the volunteers are necessary as is the help of the entire golf community around the country.

"There will be about 6,500 volunteers during the two U.S. Open Championships at Pinehurst from June 9 to 22. These individuals travel from across our nation to dedicate their time to the game they love. Their assistance is vital in producing a top-notch event."

Mona also says an event like the U.S. Open is a perfect time and place to discuss where golf is and where it might be headed.

"With more than 1,000 registered journalists at Pinehurst this week, it’s a great opportunity to highlight several areas of the golf industry to non-endemic media, which reach non and lapsed golfers. Major championships like the U.S. Open provide a platform to discuss participation by juniors and millennials (ages 18-35). For example, The First Tee program has reached more than nine million young people since it began in 1997. The network has grown to more than 180 chapters (offering programs at 900 golf locations), 6,000+ elementary schools (in-school as part of physical education) and just launched a new after-school program to be delivered in partnership with other youth-serving organizations. The First Tee’s participants at chapters are 37% female and 49% are from ethnically diverse backgrounds. As for millennials, there are 6.3 million people in this age group playing more than 100 million rounds of golf. They represent 25 percent of the golf population."

We are halfway through the men's event and the women's is next week.

It's a great time to be a golf fan in North Carolina and America.

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