End of an era for the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- This is a bittersweet week for all the golfers, tournament organizers, and volunteers here at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, held annually at the Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor.

"This is one of the top courses in the country today," said retired Whirlpool CEO Jeff Fettig. "25 years ago, this was a very different area, and it was really the remnants of the 90s 40s 50s 60s industrial era."

After 13 years of sponsorship, KitchenAid and Whirlpool have decided that this will be their last year.

"People use the word bittersweet, I think that’s a good term. I mean you know life goes on. It was the right thing for us to do that at the time," says Fettig. "The fact that it’s coming to an end is because is evolving and we accomplished everything we wanted to do with the tournament in our community, so it’s just a natural evolution and we’re just committed to having the best tournament we’ve ever had this week and there’s no regrets. It’s been great and we’ve enjoyed every minute of it."

The original goal of the golf course and hosting the tournament was to attract more people, developments, and investments to Whirlpool's corporate hometown, and Deb O'Connor, KitchenAid's community relations director, thinks that they have done that and much more than what they anticipated.

"There are activities for the entire family," said Chair of the 2024 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship and Vice President at Benton Harbor-based Whirlpool Pam Klyn. "We also have great culinary experiences. We have very popular chefs. They are gonna be coming in. That’s always part of this KitchenAid championship. There’s live cooking demos."

Klyn remarks, "the impact we’ve had on the community quadrupled the number of hotel rooms. Guess what those hotel rooms are not just full the week of this tournament, they’re full all year round which has just been remarkable."

Tickets are still available for purchase and can be found here.

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