Michelle Wie will defend her U.S. Women’s Open golf title in southcentral Pennsylvania next summer.
Michelle Wie will defend her U.S. Women's Open golf title in southcentral Pennsylvania next summer. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Local leaders are hoping the 2015 U.S. Women's Open will be a win for York County.

The professional golf tournament is easily the largest sporting event to be held in southcentral Pennsylvania next summer and will shine a spotlight on the region when it's hosted July 9-12, 2015, at Lancaster Country Club, when Michelle Wie will defend her title.

"Anytime you get an internationally televised event this close to home it showcases our whole area. It gets people thinking about this part of the world and, we hope, York County," said Darrell Auterson, CEO of the York County Economic Alliance.

The event is expected to attract 75,000 to 100,000 people and generate more than $25 million in the region, said Steven Buterbaugh, vice chair of the 2015 U.S. Women's Open and executive vice president at McConkey & Co. Insurance & Benefits in Springettsbury Township.

Some of those people will likely be staying at hotels in York County, he said.

But Anne Druck, president of the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said it remains to be seen just how much of a boost it will be to the county.

During that same time period next year, York might be hosting Muscle Car Madness and gearing up to host the Keystone State Games, which will be held July 29 through Aug. 2.

York hotels could see a busy July next year, but it's hard to gauge the impact of the neighboring golf tournament.

"It's not like the 150th anniversary in Gettysburg last year. There are a lot more hotels in Lancaster than Gettysburg. There's a lot more supply to utilize for a group that large. How much spillover we'll get is unclear, and there are other neighboring areas where people might choose to stay as well," Druck said.

Great for golf-lovers: Even if York doesn't host an overflow of tourists visiting Lancaster, that doesn't make the event any less exciting for local golfers.

"It seems smart to tie our horse to Lancaster because there's an indirect economic opportunity," said Kevin Muldoon, head golf professional at the Country Club of York and chairman of the leaderboard committee for the 2015 U.S. Women's Open.

At the Country Club of York and other courses where he's worked, Muldoon has organized professional and amateur golf events.

He's hoping the local country club will next year host the sectional qualifier for tour players.

"We have the right facility for that and we're in close proximity to Lancaster," Muldoon said.

Members of the Country Club of York might also serve as some of the 130 volunteers on the committee he chairs, which oversees score keeping.

Overall, the tournament will need 2,500 volunteers to serve on various committees, said Barry Deach, championship director of the 2015 U.S. Women's Open.

Deach is tasked with leading the event on the ground in Lancaster and arrived in January to start organizing the event.

He said he's been met with exceptional hospitality, a can-do attitude and numerous regional residents who have offered to help make the golf tournament a success.

Deach has also found a community rich in culture, history, restaurants and retail, and his personal experience is a preview of what others will find during the U.S. Women's Open and beyond, he said.

"Before I got here, I had only seen Pennsylvania from the turnpike. That's probably true for a lot of people. This Open will be a great experience and can introduce a lot of people to the region," he said.

-Reach Candy Woodall at cwoodall@yorkdispatch.com.