Tourney impacts economy

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 18, 2001

Gulf States Professional Golf Association officials are more than excited about bringing the Farm Bureau Invitational to Beau Pr\u00E9 Country Club. But Beau Pr\u00E9 members and Natchez tourism officials are a little giddier.

By hosting the tournament, which will take place July 19-22, Beau Pr\u00E9 could lure more events to its fine course, and the Miss-Lou will receive an economic boost, both now and in the future.

&uot;This puts us in the middle of the golfing map,&uot; said Beau Pr\u00E9 club professional Mark Powell. He added that by holding the Farm Bureau, the course puts itself in position to possibly host the Mississippi Amateur, a NCAA tournament event or an U. S. Amateur.

Powell found out two days ago that the Mid-South Golf Association will bring the Mid-South Amateur-Senior to Beau Pr\u00E9 in November.

&uot;We sell ourselves as saying we are hosting the state golf championship,&uot; said Walter Tipton, executive director of the Natchez Convention and Visitors’ Bureau. &uot;That always sells well to convention groups, and it automatically raises the credibility of the golf venue.&uot;

With the convention center being built and with the addition of Beau Pr\u00E9 to Natchez, Tipton said the CVB can now market the area better. Conventions already like the Miss-Lou for its historical aspect. Now, with Beau Pr\u00E9, Duncan Park and Panola Woods, convention-goers can play golf at three quality courses.

As with any convention that visits town and drops money in the area economy, the Farm Bureau will, too. More than 160 golfers with families and friends will come to the area for four days.

&uot;Anytime, we see that many people here for a tournament, you could almost count twice that number for those involved,&uot; Tipton said. He also noted visitors spend around $200 per person.

&uot;It will have a substantial economic impact.&uot;

Tipton said the Farm Bureau’s timing is key, being that July is usually a dead period because of the heat.

&uot;Golf and tourism go hand in hand,&uot; Powell said.