Ryder Cup a winner - Local businesses have big week

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By Lisa King

Photo submitted

Staff Sgt. James Marsh of Shelbyville raised the American flag at the opening ceremonies at the 37th Ryder Cup last Thursday.

Shelbyville's proximity to Louisville enabled local businesses to benefit from the 37th Ryder Cup Golf Tournament concluded Sunday at Valhalla.

Though no official numbers are available, local hotels and restaurants reported high-volume business during the tournament's weeklong run that may have left them feeling as much like winners as the United States team that upset the Europeans.

All local hotels reported being filled to capacity for the week.

"We were booked up from the 16th," said Candace Wolfe of Holiday Inn Express. "And we had some guests from Europe, including two from Scotland."

Hotels were able increase their room rates well above seasonal averages, with the Ramada Inn getting as much as $400 a night. Bed-and-breakfasts hosted visitors, and some locals rented out their homes for the week. Many individuals served as volunteers.

Restaurants reported being very busy, too.

Terri Eilers at Claudia Sanders Dinner House said not only did the restaurant enjoy capacity crowds but also was extremely busy with catering related to the event.

David Eaton, city administrator of Simpsonville, said the city's businesses also benefited from the tournament.

"Being just down the road from Valhalla, we had a lot people come through from that [Ryder Cup])," he said. "The restaurants all got good business; tour buses came through every day and stopped at restaurants. And then we had the Fightmaster [Cup at the Cardinal Club] before that, and that went very well, also."

Another local business close to the festivities was Persimmon Ridge Golf Club, which is about five miles from Valhalla.

President Lawren Just said Persimmon Ridge was completely booked up from Monday to Sunday.

"It was just fantastic," she said. "We were all decorated with red, white and blue, and we were all screaming and cheering. It was very exciting."

Just said business was great all week, and her staff all worked overtime to accommodate the crowds.

"We are all exhausted, but it was worth it," she said. "It was great."

At Weissinger Hills Golf Club on Mount Eden Road, Assistant Pro Tommy Watts, said his club had received several European visitors.

"We had several guests from Wales, Ireland and Denmark who came over to support their team," he said.

Watts, who volunteered at the Ryder Cup in the game and registration area, said that though he really enjoyed getting to watch some of the participants practice and prepare for the tournament up close, he couldn't really get a good seat for the matches.

"I just came home and watched it on TV," he said.