Who said you can’t play golf downtown?
While much of the region is focused on Eagle Point Golf Club and the upcoming Wells Fargo Championship
May 1-7, downtown is also getting in on the action.
Wilmington Downtown Incorporated (WDI) announced Wednesday that they plan a putting green, a scavenger hunt featuring golf flag sticks, a free golf-themed movie and concerts headlined by local and regional musicians downtown during the week of the golf tournament.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity to showcase Wilmington, New Hanover County, and all of Southeastern North Carolina to the nation and the world,” said WDI chairman Colin Tarrant in a news release. “As the non-profit leader for promoting the economic growth and development of Downtown, WDI has curated a slate of family friendly activities that will showcase and highlight all that our beautiful center city has to offer.”
The effort will not only create fun activities, but also boost traffic to local businesses and restaurants, Tarrant said.
Play a Round Downtown, as the week is being called, will span throughout the central business district and include Riverfront Park, Castle Street, the Brooklyn Arts District and the Northern Waterfront area near PPD.
“This is an amazing marketing sponsorship for a business or philanthropic group as an additional 10,000 to 15,000 people a day will be coming downtown to shuttle to Eagle Point Golf Club,” said WDI President Ed Wolverton. “To reach this demographic and others area visitors, we are hoping to find a visionary leader who understands the national and international reach of this sponsorship opportunity and is also willing to bolster Downtown as the epicenter of community life during this intensive week.”
It’s going to make for a busy weekend in the Port City.
The One Tree Hill Celebrity Convention will be held here that weekend, and it’s also UNCW’s graduation.
"As the region’s largest business and entertainment center, downtown can accommodate these kinds of crowds," Wolverton explained. "WDI, as a small nonprofit with just two employees, will be stretched considerably. Of course, we will be recruiting and relying on a cadre of volunteers to help. We are optimistic that a sponsor will see the value of this activity and decide to become affiliated with the effort."
All totaled that first weekend in May could be a real boon for Wilmington, as the tournament itself is expected to pump between $40 million and $60 million into the Wilmington area, according to the PGA Tour.
The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, is spearheading a regional marketing initiative tied to the golf tournament, to boost economic development.
“With the eyes of the world on our region, the Wells Fargo Championship provides a unique opportunity to market our competitive advantages to help attract new businesses, entrepreneurs and skilled workforce,” Wilmington chamber board chairman Charlie Mattox told the Business Journal
earlier this month.
Other counties in the Cape Fear region are also using the golf tournament to promote tourism
and economic development.