An Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office vehicle outside a Trump National Golf Club fountain. The LCSO is one of many groups working with the club to prepare for the 2017 Senior PGA Championship.
Still nearly three months before the first tee shot, organizers for the 2017 Senior PGA Championship are busy preparing for one of the largest sporting events in Loudoun County history. An unparalleled opportunity for the county, it also presents an unprecedented logistical challenge.
Taking place this year from May 25-28, the Senior PGA Championship is one of the most prestigious and high-profile golf tournaments in the nation. Held this year at Trump National Golf Club in Potomac Falls, event organizers say the four-day event is expected to draw 50,000 spectators and bring in around $30 million to the community.
With the benefits come months of preparations and logistical hurdles for one of the more unusual settings for such a large event. Unlike sporting events held at stadiums designed to seat and orient thousands, organizers for this golf tournament will have to transport and host spectators in a dense residential area. The solution has meant meetings with the local community leaders and citizens, said PGA Championship Manager Mike Podolinski, including a forum on Feb. 28.
“We’ve been here a year, but these folks, in a lot of cases, have been here forever,” Podolinski said. “They know this area, they know these roadways, they know everything better than we do, so we rely on them a lot for input for the plans we’re putting together.”
Hosted adjacent to the Cascades Lowes Island Community, organizers said there may be partial street closures in addition to heavier-than-usual traffic. Spectators won’t be allowed to park in the neighborhood, so the community association is working with the PGA to distribute parking passes for residents. Organizers said they’re also working out traffic flow surrounding nearby Lowes Island Elementary School, which will be in session for the first two days of the tournament.
The event will also have impacts across the county. Spectators will be directed to park at Dulles Airport where they will be shuttled to and from the course. Several hundred volunteers will park at One Loudoun and will likewise take buses to and from the event.
Additionally, the PGA is also working with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, Loudoun County Fire and Rescue Department and the Virginia Department of Transportation for security and safety efforts. Details are not quite finalized, but the PGA is hoping to have a clearer picture for its meeting on March 28 at the Cascades Lowes Island Community Center, said Championship Director Bryan Karns.
“I know sometimes they are a little inconvenient for the community, but if you look big picture it’s really a great thing that does wonders for the local economy,” Karns said.