Golf on the Upswing in Nebraska
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska appears to be bucking a trend when it comes to the business of golf. Across the nation, golfers played fewer rounds in 2011, but in Nebraska play increased. One reason is the Golf Nebraska campaign launched last year by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s (DED) Travel and Tourism Division. The $500,000 campaign included paid advertising, email marketing, public relations and social media initiatives aimed at golfers in neighboring states. Gov. Dave Heineman shared information about the impact of the campaign at the Nebraska Golf Day event at Wilderness Ridge Golf Course in Lincoln.
A study by Texas A&M University indicated that more than 62,000 visitors came to Nebraska and spent more than $35 million. Nearly two-thirds of all survey respondents spent additional time and money in Nebraska because the information they received motivated them to stay extra nights. In addition, visitors who did stay longer, many of whom golfed, averaged an additional 3.4 nights in the state.
“We have a lot to celebrate with Nebraska’s golf industry,” said Gov. Heineman. “Nebraska is full of exciting adventures for tourists, and the partnership between golf and tourism will continue to attract new visitors and golfers to our great state.”
David Honnens, executive director/CEO of the Nebraska PGA Section, said PGA of America figures show that the number of rounds played in Nebraska in 2011 increased by 0.3 percent when nationally that number was down 1.2 percent. “Initiatives by golf industry organizations in Nebraska to improve the game of golf and encourage more play are showing results,” said Honnens. “The Golf Nebraska campaign was a great way to spread the word about the outstanding golf courses in our state.”
Nebraska Golf Day representatives, featuring the Nebraska Golf Course Superintendents Association, the Nebraska Golf Association, the Nebraska Club Managers Association, the Midwest Golf Course Owners Association, the Nebraska Women’s Amateur Golf Association, the Nebraska PGA Section, DED and the Travel and Tourism Division, joined to explain how this $260 million industry contributes to the economy and quality of life in the state.
"Nebraska Golf Day illustrates the significant role that golf plays in local communities. The support from the Governor's office, state, regional, and national golf organizations is evidence that golf is more than just a game,” said Rhett Evans, chief executive officer of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. “Golf fosters economic, recreational and environmental sustainability The work being done in Nebraska is to be commended.”
In addition to Evans, special guests included Joe Steranka, chief executive officer of The PGA of America; Justin Apel, executive director of the Golf Course Builders Association of America; Bill Langley, Club Managers Association of America; Catherine Lang, director of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development; Kathy McKillip, director of DED’s Travel and Tourism Division; and Liz Leckemby, championship director of the 2013 U.S. Senior Open Championship, which will be held at the Omaha Country Club. The Championship is expected to have more than a $30 million impact on the Nebraska economy.
The Travel and Tourism Division will continue promoting golf travel through the 2012 Nebraska Passport program. Participants can become eligible for prizes by having their passports stamped at eight courses participating in the golf tour. Details about the program and golfing opportunities in Nebraska are available at NebraskaPassport.com.