Golf championship needs sponsors

Pierce County’s Chambers Bay Golf Course must raise $600,000 in corporate sponsorships in order to break even on the 2010 U.S. Amateur, officials told the Tacoma City Council at a study session Tuesday.

That amount “frankly would be on the high end of what other Amateurs have been able to raise, but so far we’re optimistic about our abilities to do that,” general manager Matt Allen told the council.

Fundraising has just begun for the Aug. 23-29, 2010 event, and the publicly financed University Place course has only a couple of commitments so far, Allen told The News Tribune.

Chambers Bay isn’t looking to Tacoma for any direct logistical support for next year’s event, which is expected to draw 3,000 to 5,000 spectators. But it will plug into the regional network of tourism offerings including hotels and restaurants.

Mayor Bill Baarsma said the Amateur will also be a trial run for the “Big One” – the 2015 U.S. Open – which is expected to draw at least 45,000 people per day.

Deputy mayor Julie Anderson asked Chambers Bay officials to follow up with the council about their plans to promote Tacoma alongside the golf tournaments. She wants to prevent national and international media, as much as possible, from referring to the event as being “near Seattle.”

The Amateur is scheduled to be broadcast on NBC and The Golf Channel.

Local golf officials touted volunteer opportunities that will come with the 2010 championship. They include duties as spotters, scorers and standard bearers as well as off-course jobs in admissions and transportation.

“Volunteer slots are expected to fill up quickly due to the excitement surrounding the nationally televised event,” championship coordinator Kathleen Pope wrote in a recent news release.

There will also be an opportunity for local residents to host players in their homes. Typically, about 60 of the 312 players are put up in private lodging, Allen told the council.

“I think we can recruit far, far more homes than that,” he said.

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Chambers Bay opened in June 2007 to national acclaim. In the down economy, it has been profitable, but just barely. In 2008, it saw a shortfall in golf revenue, but it compensated in food, beverage and merchandise sales.

Ian Demsky: 253-597-8872