Home » OPINION » Columns » (WATCH) MBJ BUSINESS SHOWCASE — In the swing of things: Sanderson Farms Championship 2016

(WATCH) MBJ BUSINESS SHOWCASE — In the swing of things: Sanderson Farms Championship 2016

ALAN TURNER

ALAN TURNER

Recently, we had a chance to talk with Steve Jent, tournament director for the Sanderson Farms Championship, to catch up on the details for this year’s event.

The tournament this year will be held October 24-30, a bit earlier than last year. Some might remember that last year’s event was held in November, and was somewhat challenged by weather, although it all came out well in the end. Generally, October is a drier and sunnier month, just the kind of crisp autumn weather that makes for great golf.

Steve is in his third year now in Jackson, having come from a similar position with the Wyndham Championship in North Carolina. After growing up in Indiana, he ultimately wound up getting an MBA from Wake Forest University, and after working with major companies such as Allstate, eventually came to the world of golf, a world he clearly enjoys.

SFC Logo - Horizontal - FINAL-CMYK-R-CS4“I’m really excited about this year,” he told me. “We have a great line-up of exciting things this year, and we’re really pleased to be a part of this great event.”

Clearly, Sanderson Farms is happy with their experience, since it has signed on for 10 more years (through 2026).

I asked Steve if the move to the Jackson Country Club has been positive for the tournament.

“Absolutely,” he said. “Annandale is a great facility, to be sure, but the resources at the Country Club are just great, not least of which is a 66,000 square foot facility. Our great arrangement there also allows us to commit more money to charity. So yes, we’re very happy with the venue.”

For some who might not know, one of the beneficiaries of the tournament is Batson Children’s Hospital, along with other worthy charities. Last year’s event produced over $1.1 million for Batson, as well as $400,000 for Make-A-Wish. So, in addition to great golf, attendees can take pride in their support for those worthy causes.

“We expect great attendance this year,” Steve said. “The food is always great, the greens will be phenomenal, and many of the players who will be here are aggressive and serious. It seems like the field gets stronger every year.”

Steve said that fall events actually bring in more players than summer events.

“The tournament used to be up against the British Open,” he said. “So now, we no longer have that formidable competitor, and that has really improved the field for us.”

Anticipated attendance this year is over 25,000, and the tournament makes upwards of a $25 million positive impact on the economy of the Jackson area.

“That’s not peanuts,” Steve said. “All kinds of businesses benefit from what we do.”

Of course, running a major tournament of this scope takes work. Lots and lots of work.

“We have upwards of a thousand volunteers who work hard to help make the tournament a success,” he said. “And we appreciate each and every one. Those who would like to get involved should make sure they contact our office for how that can happen.”

Obviously, Steve also looks for strong business support from area companies who would like to serve as sponsors for the tournament.

“There are some great opportunities for companies who want to associate their brands with this event.” he said. “It’s also a really terrific way to entertain clients, contribute to the community, and get to see 132 of the world’s best golfers in action.”

If the weather cooperates this year, the Sanderson Championship promises to be one of the best yet. For further information, visit SandersonFarmsChampionship.com.

» Contact Mississippi Business Journal publisher Alan Turner at alan.turner@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1021.

 

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