Kohler prepares for 2015 PGA Championship

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:16 pm

All seven corporate hospitality chalets overlooking the 18th Hole at the 2015 PGA Championship were sold within about a week of them being offered this month by Kohler Co. and the PGA. That’s impressive, with chalet prices of up to $270,000 apiece.

The golf tournament will be hosted at Whistling Straits, located along Lake Michigan north of Sheboygan, on Aug. 10-16, 2015. Kohler Co. president David Kohler will serve as general chair of the 2015 PGA Championship.

The corporate hospitality chalets will be dispersed throughout the course, rather than clustered in a village near the clubhouse as they were during the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

Whistling Straits, designed by Pete Dye, overlooks Lake Michigan.

“We have sought to further enhance the overall enjoyment of this major championship, and we are very pleased to bring all of our corporate hospitality options on course,” Kohler said. “The spectacular views of this dramatic course overlooking Lake Michigan and the proximity to championship play will provide an unforgettable experience.”

There has been a lot of enthusiasm from potential corporate sponsors and those who have committed to chalets so far, said Jonathan Risseeuw, championship sales director.

There will be about 30 total chalets available, he said. The pricing varies, depending on the package, and is as follows:

The Wanamaker Trophy on display at Whistling Straits. The PGA Championship winner receives a replica.
  • A 100-person private chalet on holes 9, 17 or 18 with customizable interior, food and beverage, preferred parking and more is $270,000.
  • A 50-person private chalet on holes 9, 17 or 18 with similar amenities is $165,000.
  • A 30-person Gene Sarazen Suite on Hole 16 is $99,000. It cannot be customized, though food and beverage and other amenities are included.
  • A 10-person Champions Club Table on the first hole is $35,000. Food and beverage and several other amenities are part of the package.

Kohler and the PGA recently started their corporate hospitality sales push and are offering a 5 percent discount to those who commit by the end of 2013. Those who purchase chalets will have the right of first refusal for the on-course hospitality locations for the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in 2020.

“Only imagination and budget is a parameter to how you brand that space for your company,” said PGA Championship Director Jason Mengel. For example, companies have asked for their chalets to be decorated like the interior of their airplanes at past tournaments.

The weeklong event is expected to attract 200,000 golf fans and generate about $76 million in economic impact for the state. Hotel rooms are expected to be booked throughout the area, including Milwaukee.

About 3,000 volunteers are needed to make the event happen, and vendors will hire about 1,000 temporary workers to complete construction and setup in the several months leading up to the event.

The tournament will be televised on CBS and Turner Sports, providing international exposure for the state and Sheboygan area.

Eight PGA and Kohler staff members will dedicate all of their time to preparing for the event over the next 22 months. Mengel established a trailer office in the Whistling Straits parking lot in July to be close to the epicenter of preparation.

This is the fifth major championship Kohler Co. has hosted (two U.S. Women’s Opens, two PGA Championships and a U.S. Senior Open), and it will host the 2020 Ryder Cup as well.

“I think that’s one of the unique aspects about this course is how well it’s set up for major championships,” Kohler said. “What we’re trying to do is make the product and make the experience as new and different and unique as we can.”

The PGA and Kohler will split the revenue from corporate sales, food and beverage and other on-site profits.

While 2010 corporate hospitality sales didn’t meet the groups’ goals, it was a difficult time for many businesses coming out of the economic downturn, Kohler said. He hopes the economic upswing and golf’s growing popularity will help sell out the chalets for the 2015 event.

“Our objective is to create a way for (businesses) to get a great return on their investment,” Kohler said.

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