Pinehurst, N.C. — Business owners in and around Pinehurst are counting down to an unprecedented influx. The community, specifically the Pinehurst No. 2 course, will host the men's and women's U.S. Open golf tournaments in the spring.
Mark Elliot, owner of Elliot's on Linden, is no stranger to the crowds a U.S. Open can draw to his restaurant. "This will be my third U.S. Open," he said.
The area has hosted the women three times – in 1996, 2001 and 2007 – and the men in 1999 and 2005. But the two tournaments have never been together in quite this way.
"They've never even done it in the same city before let alone back-to-back weeks," said Patrick Caughlin of the Moore County Chamber of Commerce.
Elliot remembers the rush of hosting an Open. "Pretty much every day was like a Saturday in our business," he said.
He and others expect that impact to be greater in 2014.
USGA representative Leighton Schwab, in a meeting with chamber members Thursday, targeted the economic impact at between $75 and $85 million.
Caughlin expects even more business well beyond the county lines.
"There will be fans staying in Raleigh, in Greensboro, in Fayetteville, in Asheboro," he said.
Experience tells Elliot that his recent $100,000 renovation of his restaurant is an investment he'll see a return on for years to come.
"Back in 2005, our sales started in March moving up about 20 percent over the previous year," he said. "After that the summer, which is historically quiet, it was busy the whole summer."