PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — PGA National is hosting many of the world's best golfers this week and welcoming them back to Palm Beach County.
The grounds and the greens are in pristine shape for the Honda Classic, which has become a major economic engine for the community.
"Last year we had an outside audit firm review it and it was a little over $62 million for our economy," said Ken Kennerly, executive director of the Honda Classic.
Players started arriving Monday at PGA National. There are practice rounds and pro-ams being held like in years past, but fans are not allowed until Thursday.
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Last year, the Honda Classic hosted more than 200,000 fans over the course of the week, but with the coronavirus pandemic still impacting the community, the PGA Tour is limiting capacity to only 10,000 fans per day.
"While limited, we're going to have a lot of people out here that will still be supporting all the local businesses in Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens and, of course, throughout the entire county," Kennerly said.
La Masseria in PGA Commons attributes the Honda Classic with helping to drive a bump in business every year.
"We're actually fully booked all week outside, which is great," Reid Gutjahr, the restaurant's floor manager, said. "We're still accepting reservations for inside."
With the return of the Honda Classic, the authentic Italian cuisine restaurant predicts sales will be up about 20%.
"We definitely have full staff," Gutjahr said. "Everyone's working a six-day week."
The Honda Classic may look a little bit different this year because of COVID-19, but it's impact will still be felt.
"We've worked hard literally since last tournament and we've had a great turnout," Kennerly said. "There's a lot of enthusiasm in our community for the fan base."