On Jan. 22, 2018, 132 golfers teed off at the Donald Steel and Tom Mackenzie designed Scottish-style golf course at the Abaco Club on Winding Bay while over a million people watched with envy at home.
The six-day event which is one of Web.com Tour events in The Bahamas, along with The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, is a video postcard of the true Bahamas according to Brooks Downing, Executive Director, President and Founder of BT Global.
“We felt like bringing a major sporting event to a destination like Abaco, and last week Exuma, would really show that it not only can thrive here on a smaller island but will showcase all the beauties The Bahamas culture has to offer which we just don’t get at any other event. Now, you're on three hours a day, four straight days on the Golf Channel which is distributed to more than 200 countries, this is truly a video postcard if you will of the true Bahamas,” Downing said.
With more than 500 visitors in Abaco for the event, Downing said the economic impact was felt throughout the island.
“When you think about 7,000 room nights for the course of the tournament, when you look at the direct spend of a million and a half, when you look at the impact that the marketing through the Golf Channel produces of over 3 million dollars’ worth of value as well as the additional future tourism that is yet to even come. We bring 132 golfers, 132 caddies, they stay a better part of six to seven days, 75 members of Golf Channel, all the different folks it takes to operate the event who are here for multiple days, eating, drinking, sleeping, using the cabs, shopping in the shopping centers, going to the grocery and various stores, I mean the impact is just tremendous, everyone wins in this type of deal.
“Plus, you add in operation staff and about 12 from BT Global. Manufactures, titlists, and other people from the golf industry who come in and bring their representatives, you have agents, families, friends, relatives, etc. I mean you're easily talking about 500 plus people all in for a week, sometimes even more. Some folks are staying over the weekend since they have a little break before the next tournament. Trying to calculate the impact, it's really an incredible stat for Abaco.”
Virginia Kelly, Director of Sports Tourism for the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, shared similar sentiments on the impact the Golf Classic had on Abaco and The Bahamas.
“In terms of economic impact, it's just a wonderful opportunity for the local population here and pretty much the entire community of Marsh Harbour. You have 132 golfers, 132 caddies, these folks came from the Exuma Classic which means they've been in The Bahamas for nearly two weeks going on three weeks, so talk about an economic impact. I was telling a coworker earlier I didn't know we had that many minivans to rent here on Marsh Harbour, that's the kind of impact we're talking about, so everybody that is in this community has been touched. I've seen the golfers in and about town, at the gas stations, at the super market, like we said, everyone gets to be a part of this entire thing. In Abaco, this golf event seems almost like a community type, family type affair,” Kelly said.
After four grueling rounds, Canadian Adam Svensson was victorious and went home with the $108,000 first-place prize winnings. It was his first professional victory and as a bonus, the Abaco Club awarded him with honorary membership. In second place was the winner from the Exuma Classic, Sung-jae Im.
MEDIA CONTACT: Dawn Demeritte | Senior Executive, Communications | Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation | email@example.com