Lieutenant Governor Bolling Announces Creation of Virginia Golf Trail-Bolling joins Stafford County and Virginia Tourism Corporation in announcing the creation of a statewide golf trail-
Stafford, VA – Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, Stafford County and Virginia Tourism Corporation today announced the creation of the Virginia Golf Trail, a collaboration of the Commonwealth’s public and private golf courses, hotels, wineries, restaurants, historic, cultural and recreational amenities. The Virginia Golf Trail will enhance the Commonwealth’s reputation as a premier golfing destination by connecting the state's diverse courses with rich history and amenities across the state.
The goal of the trail will be to enhance the golfing experience for visitors and drive incremental tourism dollars to the Commonwealth by selling more golf rounds, lodging room nights and visitations to tourism-related attractions and businesses.
At a press conference at Cannon Ridge Golf Club in Stafford, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling said, “Tourism is big business in Virginia, contributing $19 billion to our economy every year and employing more than 210,000 people. The new Virginia Golf Trail program gives visitors more reasons to come to Virginia. They can play 18 holes in the morning and tour a historical site, relax on the beach or take a hike in the mountains in the afternoon. The Virginia Golf Trail is a great addition to our state’s tourism portfolio, and I have no doubt it will help boost our state’s economy.”
Golfing on the trail is expected to begin next spring. The trail’s total annual economic impact to Virginia, when fully developed, could generate $66.6 million per year and create 652 jobs, according to an economic and fiscal impact study conducted by Chmura Economics & Analytics.
Cannon Ridge Golf Club in Stafford will serve as the home of the Virginia Golf Trail. It’s central, convenient location in the Celebrate Virginia project along I-95 in Stafford makes it the ideal location for the trail headquarters. Gary Schaal, former president of The PGA of America and a leader in South Carolina’s golf industry for 30 years, will be the President of the Virginia Golf Trail. Schaal is managing partner of Cannon Ridge Golf Club.
Schaal said, “Virginia is a rarity among golf destinations, one that is rich with history and culture with offerings that stretch beyond its beauty and fairways. The way of life and appreciation for history and natural beauty will shape the visitor experience. Both golfers and guests alike will marvel with delight at the many recreational activities, quaint shopping experiences, vineyards, restored and protected historical landmarks and the welcome embrace of Virginia hospitality.”
Stafford County provided a grant to the trail to stimulate increased golf play in Stafford County and the region. The grant comes from the Stafford Tourism Fund, the Stafford Economic Development Authority and the newly created Stafford Opportunity Fund that supports job growth in the county.
Mark Dudenhefer, Chairman of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, said “Stafford County is the proud home of three fine golf courses. We are delighted to support efforts to bring more attention to our golf and other recreational opportunities, and we are grateful for Gary Schaal’s investment and Virginia’s support in highlighting these important contributors to our economy.”
Virginia Golf Trail will be unique in comparison with those in other states because it will couple the Commonwealth’s outstanding golf courses with its rich history. Visitors to the trail’s comprehensive website will learn not only about Virginia’s special inventory of public and private courses, but also about the historic sites, battlegrounds and routes throughout the Commonwealth. Prospective visitors will be able to plan and book, not only their golf rounds, but also their lodging and side trips to nearby historic, cultural and recreational attractions that will enhance the golf experience.
“The new Virginia Golf Trail program will give a new identity to the golf experience in Virginia that will benefit the entire state,” said Alisa Bailey, President and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. “Our hope is that the ease and convenience with which visitors will be able to book their golf vacation, from tee times to lodging to activities with the family, will encourage them to stay longer and spend more time in Virginia.”
The statewide trail of approximately 36 private and public courses will be divided into six zones. Diverse geography and weather patterns allow for a nine to ten month season for the trail. Each zone will include a recommended series of golf courses—along with the best hotels, restaurants, vineyards, historic attractions and other regional tourism offerings—packaged into a convenient, value-conscious travel itinerary on the trail’s website at www.VirginiaGolfTrail.com. All bookings will be made via the website, now under construction.
Criteria for selection as a golf course on the trail will include: national or regional top ratings by Golf Digest magazine, proximity to cultural and historical attractions, and value-based pricing. Similar criteria will be used to select the accommodations, wineries and restaurants that will be invited to participate.
The Wounded Warriors will be the non-profit of choice for the Virginia Golf Trails. Schaal said he envisions charity golf tournaments and other philanthropic activities at locations on the trail to benefit the efforts throughout Virginia to assist wounded troops and their families.