Everyone’s a Winner at Calgary’s Shaw Charity Classic
- Category: Inside Golf
- Published: 2019-09-07
By GORD MONTGOMERY, Inside Golf
CALGARY, Alberta — Whether you were a competitor, a fan, a sponsoring company, or the business community at large, you walked away from the 2019 Shaw Charity Classic as a winner.
While Wes Short, Jr. picked up the winner’s share, $352,500, of the total $2.35 million purse offered at this year’s PGA TOUR Champions event, every player who teed it up, and finished, received a cheque of some amount. As for the fans that flocked to the event, they also went home richer, although in a different way, by having seen some of the biggest names in the game on the over-50 circuit. Then, kids’ charities throughout Alberta profited to the tune of around $12 million thanks to several unique, and fun, fund-raising ideas.
But perhaps the biggest winner, by far, over tournament week was the business community in Calgary, which according to tourism officials saw an economic impact of somewhere around $33 million.
Carson Ackroyd, the Senior Vice President of Sales for Tourism Calgary, said that the annual Labour Day weekend golf tournament is a huge yearly event that does nothing but good for the entire city.
“When we get major events like this, and certainly the Champions Tour is a significant event, not only do we get people who travel to the city to come and watch, but the city also gets the (destination) profile,” brought about through the auspices of Golf Channel broadcasts and other media coverage. “On top of that, the infrastructure and the individuals that come to put the tournament on have a huge economic impact. They are spending locally, working with local companies. All of those have an impact on local economies. Overall, this event has a very positive impact on the city.”
Former Calgary Resident Stephen Ames Was One Of Two Canadians In This Year's Shaw Charity Classic In Calgary, And His Attendance Was Likely One Of The Driving Forces Behind The Large Number Of Fans That Showed Up For This Year's Tournament. (Photo/Dave Finn)
Ackroyd went on to explain that the tournament was brought to Calgary through the efforts of “a group of champions (including the late Clay Riddel),” who spearheaded the campaign to bring the PGA TOUR Champions event to this city seven years ago. “This group of patrons got behind the idea and had the vision, and basically the drive, who could go out and convince the tour to make a stop in Calgary and that it would be supported here.”
That vision has proven true. Year after year the Shaw Charity Classic has drawn enthusiastic golf fans who love the ability to observe, first-hand, the skills the players put on display for three days at the Canyon Meadows Golf & Country Club. And it’s not only the spectators who love what they’re witnessing.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to play in this event in the Pro-Am a number of times and (tour) players will tell you the crowds that come out to support it are one of the top on their circuit so they really do enjoy coming to Calgary, because they get great fan support,” Ackroyd explained.
However, all that being said, this week is about more than just the golf tournament to Tourism Calgary. Sure, this major sporting event is what brings people to town but it’s all the other activities in this vibrant community that his association looks to highlight to the visiting public, Ackroyd continued.
“As the event gets established we look to find ways to make sure the destination gets profiled during the week,” partly through social media reports by the players themselves. “We also look to use our social channels and our networks to amplify the tournament itself so that it continues to be successful and that it continues to want to invest and come back here.”
While the charitable contributions made by the Shaw Charity Classic continue to draw the headlines each and every year - that total was over $32 million in the first half-dozen go-rounds - the economic impact on the entire community at large is also astounding. And, says Ackroyd, the hope is that continues as this PGA TOUR Champions event, the only one in Canada, keeps rolling along.
“This event has substantial impact on the local economy. You get a lot of the business community out supporting the Pro-Ams where a lot of the money gets donated for charity and a lot of businesses do hosting during that week.”
As for the continuation of the event, Ackroyd hopes it has a long run.
“I think from Calgary’s markets’ perspective it’s certainly one that we’d want to continue to have a long run. When you get events that have a longer run that’s when you can best start to leverage it, because people get used to having it there … so you really hope the city supports it so that the dollars and cents really make sense for this event to be able to continue. And, we’re fortunate that this city has embraced it.”
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