Amateur sports bring money to Augusta

Kevin Anderson, of the University of Alabama, practices for the disc golf competition in North Augusta.

A week after the Masters Tournament, there's another weekend filled with sporting events to inject money into the Augusta economy.


With disc golf, Frisbee dogs at Lake Olmstead and a regional Tae Kwon Do tournament at Augusta State University, there is a combined $200,000 impact from these sporting events, said Tammy Stout, the director of the Augusta Sports Council.

More than 160 disc golfers are competing in North Augusta at the collegiate national championship -- athletes spending a lot of their down time in Augusta.

Competitors, such as Jacob Rogers from the University of Oregon, eat out every meal. Rogers thinks he'll spend $200 during his experience in Augusta.

"We definitely made it a point to get some Southern cuisine in our stomachs. I didn't even know what grits were until I came out here," said Danny McQuillan, a senior at Cal State Monterey Bay.

"We've spent a lot of time at Waffle House. There's one of those on every corner," said his teammate, Tyler McBryan.

More so in the mid-sized markets, amateur sports travel continues to grow across the country, Stout said. Most of these teams flew into Augusta Regional Airport, adding to its growth in passengers.

"The amateur sporting events niche has really done well for Augusta over the last year. It has been a significant contributor to the economy here," Stout said.

And it doesn't stop with disc golf and martial arts. Next weekend, 1,000 archers will be competing in Augusta. The International Mountain Bike Association World Summit comes to the city in May. The Ironman 70.3 returns for a second year in September.

There is an expectation that the annual disc golf tournament will continue to grow, perhaps to 80 teams in three years, chairman Pete May said.

"This is the tip of the iceberg," he said.

Stout said these grass-roots amateur sporting events are the "best kept economic secret."

"It is a busy weekend, but in the scheme of our annual activities, it is only a fraction of $15 (million) to $20 million that we see each year from these grass-roots sporting events," she said.

Staff writer Joey Jones contributed to this report