GERMANTOWN - Motels, restaurants and fueling centers in Germantown and Menomonee Falls are expected to reap some benefit when the 117th US Open hits Erin Hills Golf Course in June.
The event, being played June 12-18, is expected to have an estimated economic impact of $120 million for southeastern Wisconsin.
How much of that money will wind up in the hands of local businesses largely depends on the spending habits of the drivers and passengers who will be in the tens of thousands of cars parked in a 60-acre farm field during the seven-day event.
The United States Golf Association (USGA), organizing sponsor of the event, will use an estimated 200 coach buses to shuttle tens of thousands of spectators each day from two giant parking lots east and south of the golf course.
The southern – or “Blue” lot – is located near the interchange of Interstate 94 and US 67 in Oconomowoc, about 18 minutes and 20 miles south of the course.
The eastern– or “Red” lot – is located near the intersection of Holy Hill and Goldendale Roads, in the northwest corner of the village of Germantown, about an 18 minute, 11-mile ride on Holy Hill Road (Highway 167) to the golf course.
Eric Steimer, the USGA manager for the event, met with about 50 area business leaders at a meeting arranged by the Germantown Chamber of Commerce on April 11.
He anticipated that about $65 million of the $120 million estimate would be in direct benefits to the greater Milwaukee metropolitan area and regions surrounding it, and another $55 million would be generated in indirect benefits.
Most of the $65 million in direct benefits would be from spending by contractors setting up and tearing down the venue and tourism-related spending by visitors.
He emphasized that local tourism-related businesses such as motels and restaurants will benefit from the proximity to the parking lot and the golf course.
“If you own a candle shop, we are probably not going to be much help to you,” he added.
However, he advised owners of tourism-related businesses to “manage your expectations” about how much profit the championship may generate.
He said about 70 percent of the ticket holders will attend for one day.
“They will get out of their own beds in the morning, go to the championship, return home and get into their beds that night,” he said.
The average overnight stay for the remaining 30 percent is about 2.2 days, he said.
He explained that more than 200,000 spectators are expected to attend the championship.
The USGA wants to keep them off the two-lane state and county highways near Erin Hills, according to Steimer.
There will be virtually no parking or vehicular access to the golf course for out-of-town visitors, according to Steimer.
He said spectators using Interstates 41/45 traveling from the Chicago area, Milwaukee, and eastern and northern Wisconsin, will be parked in the Germantown lot.
During the practice rounds from June 12-14, he anticipates there will be 3,000 to 4,000 cars in the lot per day.
During the championship rounds from June 15 to 18, he anticipates 7,000 to 8,000 cars per day.
Those tickets holders may find overnight accommodations in Washington County, particularly if they make reservations in advance, according to Sue Ciurro, sales manager of the Country Inn and Suites.
Ciurro told Northwest Now that players and their entourages, along with tournament officials and vendors, will either stay in private homes or at “full-service” hotels where there are restaurants and bar facilities on site or within a short walking distance.
“Washington County does not have any full-service hotels,” which means there is hotel space available for spectators, she said.
She said room rates are presently about $330 per night with a five-night minimum.
However, she said those room rates and restrictions might change depending upon the demand and availability of rooms as the championship dates draw closer.
Executives of the Germantown and Menomonee Falls chambers of commerce told Now that they do not plan any chamber-sponsored marketing or promotional efforts related to the US Open.
However, they said they are prepared to assist individual members to coordinate marketing efforts for their individual businesses with the USGA.