BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The PGA Championship is bringing in thousands of visitors to Western New York. Even though the tournament is down the thruway in Rochester, many Buffalo businesses are reaping the benefits.
Some fans are having to stay here in Buffalo because there are no hotel rooms in Rochester. Even local courses are busy with golfers excited for the big weekend.
“A major in Western New York is a big, big deal,” Ross Cellino, owner of Harvest Hill Golf Course in Orchard Park said.
Oak Hill Country Club is just about 80 miles down the thruway from Downtown Buffalo. Because of the short distance, some hotels are seeing golf fans stay in the Queen City for the tournament this weekend, which includes the Reikart House in Amherst.
“Even though it is in Rochester, I think once that was announced, people must have booked reservations very quickly and anybody that was procrastinating realized Oh I should’ve booked this a little earlier, so they are spilling into our region,” Matthew Chiazza, general manager of the Reikart House said.
“We’ll take those room nights anytime that we can,” Patrick Kaler, CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara, told News 4. “They’re not only staying in our hotels, they are going out and having dinner. They’re having breakfast in our community as well. Maybe they will go up to Niagara Falls or go someplace else because they are in close proximity.”
Harvest Hill Golf Course was busy with the after work rush of golfers and diners Thursday night. Some were getting in a round or two before heading to the Flower City for the final rounds of the tournament this weekend.
“It gets people excited early in the season and with the PGA in Rochester which is close by, people in the bar and restaurant here are watching on tv and a lot of them are going to the PGA, in fact I’m going on Sunday,” Cellino added.
Businesses say any major event in Western New York is an opportunity to showcase the region and all it has to offer to the country.
“The PGA brings people from all over the nation and this might be their one opportunity to see things and try things out in this area that they maybe would never have been able to try out,” Chiazza concluded.
“Rochester is our sister city, so we are happy for Rochester and we’re happy for Western New York to have that big event here,” Cellino continued.
The first round of the PGA Championship at Oak Hill finished on Thursday. The tournament will run through the weekend. You can watch the final rounds on Saturday and Sunday on WIVB/Channel 4.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.