After Covid delay, U.S. Senior Open finally primed for Newport — and it has the town hopping

NEWPORT. R.I. — With the U.S. Senior Open in town for the next week, golf courses across Aquidneck Island say the sport is healthy.

Representatives of country clubs on Aquidneck Island indicated that the buzz around the event is good for golfing and good for business in general. Others say that business is simply on par with the norm.

The U.S. Senior Open was supposed to be played in Newport in 2020 but was postponed due to COVID-19. A year later, it was decided that the 2024 competition would be held in Newport for the fifth time in its history.

According to the Newport Country Club website, the club has existed since 1893 and was the site of one of the first senior PGA events in the 1970s.

Gary Dorsi, the head pro at nearby Green Valley Country Club, mentioned that there are not many professional events for golf enthusiasts.

“It’s good for the area. People are starved to watch pro golf,” he said, adding that the influx of people brings golfers to see other courses.

“It’s pretty busy here anyway but people get to watch the best people over 50 in the world and it’s good for the island, so it’s good for everybody,” Dorsi added.

Lindsey Forrestal, office manager of Montaup Country Club, also in Portsmouth, said that some of the club’s members will be volunteering at the U.S. Senior Open.

Forrestal said she was not sure of data to support an uptick in business but said that there is certainly more excitement about golf lately on the island.

“It adds a sense of electricity,” Forrestal said.

Matt Levasseur, assistant golf pro at the Wanumetonomy Golf & Country Club, in Middletown, said the interest has been present at his club. As a private club, they have not seen an uptick in business but said some of their members will also be volunteering at the event – including as marshalls.

Levasseur said his country club is so busy that it might be tough for him to squeeze in some time to watch the event.

Representatives at Newport National Golf Club in Middletown did not want their names used for a story but said that business is expected to remain level during the U.S. Senior Open, adding that business is always booming in the summer months.

Dan Shea, a pro-shop employee at the Green Valley Country Club in Portsmouth, said that the U.S. Senior Open hasn’t had a huge impact on business or interest at his club.

However, he added that since the end of COVID-19 restrictions, there’s been a steady return of interest and business.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek