Golf will dominate the greater Atlantic City sports scene the first week of June.
The sport’s biggest hitters will participate in the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bash on June 4-5 at an Atlantic County golf course to be announced soon. The event, part of the World Long Drive Tour, will be televised live in prime time June 5 on Golf Channel, giving the resort valuable publicity and exposure.
“Atlantic City is undergoing a bit of revitalization,” Bart Kendall, vice president of live events programming for Golf Channel, said in a telephone interview Thursday morning. “Now is probably the right time to toot Atlantic City’s horn. There’s a lot to do there, with great beaches and a great tradition. The Boardwalk Bash plays into one of the iconic features of Atlantic City.”
It’s probably no coincidence, but the Bash won’t be the only nationally televised golf event in Atlantic County that week.
The ShopRite LPGA Classic will be held June 8-10 at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in Galloway Township. Golf Channel also will televise the tournament.
Golf Channel officials announced the Boardwalk Bash on Thursday morning. Golf Channel worked with the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority to bring the long-drive competition to the Atlantic City area.
“Atlantic City has a storied history in golf, and bringing an exciting event that will air on Golf Channel this summer is a hole-in-one for the entire region,” CRDA Executive Director Chris Howard said in a prepared statement. “The Atlantic City Boardwalk Bash will showcase Atlantic City as a premier destination and will drive home that our Boardwalks, beaches, restaurants and entertainment are world-class.”
Golf Channel is looking for ways to boost its live programming on Monday and Tuesday nights, when professional golf tournaments are usually not held. Long-drive competitions are one way to do that.
The channel bought the long drive franchise a few years ago. It showed three long-drive competitions in 2017 and plans to show five this year. Kendall said eventually the channel hopes to develop a long drive tour of eight to 10 events.
“The sky is the limit on venue and locations,” Kendall said, “that are looking to bring events to their market.”
Golf Channel has business connections to Atlantic City. The channel is part of Comcast Universal. Comcast Spectacor, also part of Comcast Universal, manages Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. CRDA officials told Comcast personnel it was interested in helping bring events to Atlantic City to raise the city’s profile, according to Kendall.
“The long-drive event really resonated with (CRDA),” Kendall said. “They thought it was unique. They thought it was different.”
Kendall also noted that Atlantic and Cape May counties are active golf markets. Kendall said people who watch Golf Channel are passionate about the sport and like to travel.
“(CRDA) felt (Golf Channel showing the competition) would expose not just the event but Atlantic City in general to people looking for a place to spend a long weekend or a week for a vacation,” he said.
The Bash will feature 32 men and 16 women. The golfers who consistently hit the longest drives win the competition. The men often drive the ball more than 400 yards.
The Bash’s location will be announced soon. The Atlantic City Country Club in Northfield is likely the most viable option to accommodate an event of that size, especially with Seaview hosting the ShopRite LPGA Classic the same week. A long-drive competition is not your stereotypical country-club golf event.
“It’s kind of like golf meets the UFC,” Kendall said. “It’s raucous. There’s people yelling and screaming. There’s music going on. There’s a lot of energy. It’s a ton of fun.”