Golf tournament set to bring county attention

Published 11:08am Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Just a handful of years ago, as the Regions Charity Classic left Greystone Country Club for Ross Bridge Resort in Jefferson County, many thought the days of professional golf in Shelby County had passed. Thankfully, Gene Hallman wasn’t among them.

Thanks to the efforts of Hallman, many local leaders and the exceptional reputation Shelby Countians have for hosting such events, the Senior PGA has selected Shoal Creek Golf and Country Club to host the Regions Tradition next May.

Legend has it the tournament, one of five major tournaments on the Champions Tour, was conceived to be the Senior PGA’s equivalent of The Masters. If that indeed was the original intent, organizers have selected the perfect setting. Big name golfers will bring their talents and fans to our community and both will be a delight to see.

Selection of Shoal Creek as host for the tournament is welcome news, not just to the golfers among us, but also to those who having been looking for a major boost to the local economy. Some 30,000 daily visitors are expected to attend the tournament; they no doubt will spend money at local hotels and restaurants.

It might seem like a nontraditional approach to economic development, but hosting a major event like this is a significant economic engine for our community and the greater Shelby County area.

The Golf Channel will also televise each day of the tournament, which will help to showcase our area on a grand stage to 133 counties around the globe.

So many things about the Regions Tradition will create excitement in our area, but perhaps none more so than the organizer’s commitments to keep the tournament charity-focused.

The Champions Tour has already committed $200,000 to Children’s Hospital of Alabama, with more donations to follow each tournament. With so many wonderful elements behind this big idea, it begins to sound more like a fairytale than a major sporting event. Gene Hallman, no doubt, believes in fairytales and I for one am glad he does.

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