Merion Golf Club gets ready for the U.S. Open

April 12, 2013 7:54:48 AM PDT
It will be a tee off to remember as the Merion Golf Club gears up to host the U.S. Open for the fifth time, the week of June 10th.

The last time the club hosted was back in 1981.

The on-site construction of tents and stands started last month. Some are also up across the street at Haverford College.

The site will be known as U.S. Open Spectator Square.

Hank Thompson of the U.S. Golf Association said, "It will have concessions, restrooms, first aid and other facilities."

Thompson told Action News that the week-long sold out event will attract hundreds of thousands of people to the area and will serve as a multimillion dollar boost to the local economy.

The security company Andy Frain set up a temporary office on Haverford Avenue near Lancaster Avenue. It's now hiring about 700 local event staffers.

Sadie Battle from Andy Frain explains the company is looking for, "customer service folks that really enjoy golf, enjoy people and get excited about the sports experience."

Peppers Cafe on Haverford Avenue is abuzz about the upcoming Open.

Michael Morrison owns custom golf shop Izett's, located next door to Peppers, and fears that the hefty crowds will create major traffic jams and divert business away from several shops on the block for an entire week.

Morrison tells Action News, "On the weekend, they are expecting 38,000 [attendees] and it's just not that big enough area to handle all that."

Business aside, Morrison says he looks forward to the tournament as a spectator. He attended the 1981 Open and the golf course has witnessed some of the games most historic moments.

Morrison added, "In 1930 U.S. Amateur, Bobby Jones won the grand slam and retired from competitive golf. In 1950 Ben Hogan came back from a car accident with a bus...and won it."

It's the history of the course that makes Merion an attractive host to the USGA.

"For us it's nice to come back to a golf course that's been here for 100 years and have the world's best players today test their game against a course built so long ago," said Thompson.

Many of the nearby homes plan to cash-in on the event. Action News has learned that a few of the homes that line the golf course have been offered tens of thousands of dollars by corporate sponsors who want to rent out their property.