February 25, 2020

Laurel Cavalluzzo, Marketing Advisor, 703-629-5693

As Ryder Cup and Other Golfers Prepare to Swing into Action, Gary D’Amato Talks About the Sport’s Growth and Contribution to Wisconsin’s Economy

Noted journalist and author is the featured guest on the latest episode of TDA’s On the Go podcast

MADISON, WI – The Ryder Cup is coming to Wisconsin later this year, but Gary D’Amato says the world’s top players are not the only ones who will be traveling to the state to enjoy the challenges and beauty of abundant golf courses. Wisconsin’s pre-eminent golf journalist says golf tourism is a huge business in Wisconsin, and that should only grow after the international publicity the Ryder Cup will bring.

D’Amato is the featured guest on the latest episode of TDA Wisconsin’s On the Go podcast.

“Over the last 25 years or so, the Ryder Cup has become the biggest and most lucrative event in golf,” said D’Amato. “Two hundred thousand spectators will be at Whistling Straits next September, with a global television audience of 500 million. The Ryder Cup will be aired on television in 150 countries, and people literally will be coming from all over the world, to Sheboygan, Wisconsin.”

Tournament officials estimate 50,000 visitors will attend the event each day between September 22 and 27, with an estimated $135 million economic impact on the region.

“Most people who come from other parts of the country and around the world are not going to come for two or three days, they’re going to come for a week to 10 days, to even two weeks–and a lot of them are bringing their golf clubs,” D’Amato said. “I’ve talked to some golf course owners who said that their tee times are already being booked. Some courses have told me they’re getting calls from China and the far East, booking tee times for that week. So, it’s a boon for all golf courses in Wisconsin, but especially those within, say, an hour of Whistling Straits.”

Since his first golf assignment at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel covering the 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach won by Tom Kite, D’Amato has covered five Ryder Cups, and more than 75 major championships, including every Masters Tournament since 1993. He has reported on dozens of state tournaments and written extensively about Wisconsin golfers Steve Stricker, Mark Wilson, Jerry Kelly, Skip Kendall, J.P. Hayes, Sherri Steinhauer, Martha Nause, Jordan Niebrugge, and now many other up-and-coming players.


D’Amato tells TDA’s Debby Jackson that golf is big in Wisconsin. Really big. Ten years ago, the economic impact was estimated at $2.4 billion, a figure that most certainly has risen due to the opening of new courses, and Wisconsin being the home for several major national – and now international – competitions over the last decade.

“It’s sort of all started with SentryWorld, in 1982, in Stevens Point, which opened as the first true destination golf course in our state. And then, the Kohler company started building golf courses in the late 1980s,” D’Amato said. “A lot of courses were built along the I-43 and I-94 corridors, and golf started getting bigger and bigger, and we became no longer a flyover state for golfers, but a destination state.”

It’s a state for golfers of all skill levels.

“Wisconsin has almost 500 golf courses of all types, from private clubs, high-end private clubs, to destination courses that host major championships, on down to municipal courses and nine-hole, sort of, mom and pops in the middle of nowhere in our state,” D’Amato says. “And they’re very popular on all levels. All types of golfers, from professionals who have played in championships in our state, down to beginners, make use of the many, many golf courses in our state.”

Hosted by TDA Executive Director Debby Jackson, On the Go explores issues surrounding transportation infrastructure and investment in Wisconsin and across the nation. The podcast is available on all popular podcasting platforms and via this link:

More About Gary D’Amato

Gary covered golf locally for the Racine Journal Times from 1980 to 1990 and then on a bigger scale for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from 1992 until 2018, when he accepted a job as a senior writer for Killarney Golf Media.

Gary serves on the boards of the Golf Writers Association of America and the Wisconsin PGA Section and was inducted into the Wisconsin Golf Hall of Fame in 2017. He is one of only three golf writers in the hall of fame, joining the Journal’s Billy Sixty Sr. and the Sentinel’s Bernard Gleissner, who were inducted in the 1960s.

He is a three-time Wisconsin Sportswriter of the Year and a multiple award winner in the Golf Writers Association of America annual writing contest, including most recently for his seven-part series on “The Making of Erin Hills.” He has authored two books on golf The Proof is in the Putting with Jerry Korte and Erin Hills. Healso wrote the afterword for the late Manuel de la Torre’s instructional book, Understanding the Golf Swing.

About TDA

From the buses in Racine to the Port of Green Bay to the rail lines in Superior to the Waukesha County Airport to the roads we use every day, Wisconsin’s transportation network is the key to connecting goods to market and people to jobs. Founded in 1971, the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin promotes the vitality and safety of the state’s transportation system, including public transit systems, public-use airports, railroads, commercial ports, and roads. TDA’s members include businesses, labor unions, citizen groups, units of government, and individuals.

Contact us at: and Twitter handle @TDAWisconsin