The Pittsford, N.Y., property will play host to the 50-and-over Champions Tour event in May 2019. Between 1995 and through 2023, Oak Hill will have hosted one Ryder Cup (1995), two Senior PGAs (2008, 2019) and three PGA Championships (2003, 2013, 2023).
The PGA of America has announced that Oak Hill Country Club in Pittsford, N.Y., will host the 2019 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship which will take place in late May 2019, the Rochester-based Democrat & Chronicle reported.
“To our mind, Oak Hill is right at the top of major championship golf experiences for any and all players in the world,” said Kerry Haigh, The PGA’s chief championships officer. “When I drive up that main driveway coming in, it’s one of the most exciting drives in golf, the right side of the eighth hole and the vista that you see there. It’s very special and players realize and see that when they play the golf course.”
The 50-and-over Champions Tour contains some of the biggest names in the not-too-distant golf past. The field included the likes of Jay Haas, Tom Watson, Greg Norman, Tom Kite, Craig Stadler, Ian Woosnam, Hale Irwin, Mark O’Meara, Fuzzy Zoeller, and more. When the property hosted the event in 2008, Jay Haas claimed his second Senior PGA Championship in three years by a single stroke, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.
The Senior PGA was first held in 1937 and the list of men who have won this championship reads like the World Golf Hall of Fame roster: Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead (six times), Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Raymond Floyd, Tom Watson and Colin Montgomerie to name just a few. It was a huge success in 2008, and Oak Hill president Tim Thaney expects a similar response in 2019, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.
“I think without the LPGA Championship at Locust Hill, the community will embrace a tournament like this,” said Thaney. “It’s offseason a little bit with it being in May, so it’s before the summer starts, but we think we can work this in without having any disruption to ’23. We’re very proud to be rated No. 20 in Golf Digest in the best courses in America, and hosting championships like this is one of the ways to keep on that list.”
Oak Hill and the PGA of America have forged a significant bond, and it’s clear that the East Course is one of the organization’s favorite venues. Between 1995 and through 2023, Oak Hill will have hosted one Ryder Cup (1995), two Senior PGAs (2008, 2019) and three PGA Championships (2003, 2013, 2023). Oak Hill also hosted the 1980 PGA Championship, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.
“The comfort level here is excellent,” said PGA of America President Paul Levy, who said talks with Oak Hill began last fall and the contract was finalized in the past couple weeks. “They’re a great partner; we see them as a course and club that fits us well. We know each other, we like each other, and we don’t think there’s a better place to come.”
Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo was on hand for the announcement, and she expressed deep satisfaction that the region will be back on the world stage in two years, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.
“Anytime we can bring a championship like the Senior PGA here to Rochester and Monroe County, what a great opportunity for everyone in the community, and what a testament to the community that we have to have the PGA here yet again,” Dinolfo said. “It’s a tremendous honor and we’re very much looking forward to it.”
Don Jeffries, president and chief executive officer of Visit Rochester, said that as with all the other major events that have been contested at Oak Hill, the benefits spread well beyond the beautifully-manicured borders of the Donald Ross-designed golf courses in Pittsford, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.
“We bring in close to 200 meetings a year and they all have different spending levels, but these golf events, particularly a championship, the people that come and visit us spend a lot of money,” said Jeffries, who reeled off obvious expenditures such as hotels, restaurants, and playing the area’s other golf courses, but also things as simple as dry cleaning. “They come, they have fun, and one of the things that was pretty cool about the PGA in 2013, a lot of people discovered Rochester and they came back the next year. We saw a lot of business the following summer.”
The tournament has settled into a rotation whereby every other year, it is played at modernized Harbor Shores Golf Club, a 2010 Jack Nicklaus-designed layout in Benton Harbor, Mich. The tournament was held there in 2012, 2014 and 2016, and is schedule to be played there in 2018, 2020, 2022 and 2024. In between, the PGA of America wants to play at America’s old, esteemed venues, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.
This year, Trump National Club in Washington, D.C. will host the event May 25-28, which will be televised on Golf Channel and NBC, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.
“We’ve collectively agreed to try and alternate with traditional historic golf course and what is more historic than Donald Ross and Oak Hill?” said Haigh. “We wanted to come here, as we always want to come here, and we think it will be a win-win for everyone.”