Honda Classic helps boost Palm Beach County's image

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla.-- Whether you like golf or not, the Honda Classic means big things for Palm Beach County.

Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau says the Honda Classic is the single most important and most watched sporting event in the area.  

Jorge Pesquera is the President and CEO of the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau.  He says the Honda Classic is a major contributor to the area.  

"It is just a tremendous boost to our county's image and how we are perceived," he said.

Tournaments like the Honda Classic put the county on the international map, shining a spotlight for tourists who want to vacation in a warm climate where golf can be played year round.

Palm Beach County has more golf courses than any jurisdiction in the state.  The county owns the trademark phrase, "Florida's Golf Capitol."  The county had the first 18-hole course built in the state.

"We have 514 miles of fairways here.  You could be driving from here to Charleston, South Carolina and still be on a golf course if you put all these fairways together," he said.

The Honda Classic alone creates more than 5,000 hotel room night bookings.  Recent economic impact studies show it creates a $40 million injection of economic activity.

"There is a tremendous amount of jobs attached to this industry.  The golf pros, the people who manicure the greens," Pesquera said.

There are also dozens of golf pros who call Palm Beach County home.  

Palm Beach County also gets a big boost from baseball, polo and tennis among other sports, but Pesquera says the Honda Classic is key.

Organizers of the event say exact numbers for this year's attendance and economic impact will not be known until after the event is completed, but some believe the numbers could top last year if the weather is good.

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