A year from now, the eyes of the golf world will focus on our little corner of the world.
That's when the United States Golf Association will bring the U.S. Women's Open to Lancaster Country Club.
Granted, it's not in York County, but you can bet the farm that a large number of county golf fans will make the short trip across the Susquehanna River next year to watch the most prestigious event in women's golf. Some of them will even volunteer or work at the tournament.
They will get to see the finest female players in the world on a course that is annually rated among the best classic layouts in the nation. LCC was designed by William Flynn, who is a legendary name in golf circles. Among his other layouts are Shinnecock Hills on Long Island and Cherry Hills in Denver. Both have played host to U.S. Opens.
The event is expected attract anywhere from 75,000 to 100,000 people. Undoubtedly, some of them will spend some cold hard cash right here in York County. The overall economic impact of the tournament is expected to be more than $25 million.
If you haven't figured it out by now, this is a big-time event.
Arnold Palmer, who is golf's greatest living ambassador and a native Pennsylvanian, will serve as the honorary chairman of the tournament.
On Saturday, he's set to make an appearance at "Lancaster's First Swing," a free event set for 4:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. in front of the downtown Lancaster visitors' center. The event will also feature live music and food.
The "First Swing" is being held to recognize that the U.S. Women's Open is just one year away. The tournament is scheduled for July 9-12, 2015. Michelle Wie, the most-recognized name in women's golf, is expected in Lancaster to defend her 2014 U.S. Women's Open championship. She is no stranger to this region. In 2004, she competed in the USGA Men's Public Links qualifier at Manada Golf Course near Harrisburg. That is one of several men's events that Wie competed in during her younger years.
Golf — especially women's golf — has always been a big draw in this region. The Lady Keystone Open — a Ladies Professional Golf Association tournament — had a long and successful run in the Harrisburg/Hershey area. After the demise of the LKO, the Futures Tour also enjoyed significant support for approximately two decades around here, first in York and later in Gettysburg and Harrisburg.
It should also be noted that York is no stranger to USGA events. The Donald Ross-designed Country Club of York course played host to the United States Junior Amateur in 1999. That tournament was won by Hunter Mahan, who went on to become one of the better players on the PGA Tour.
The Junior Amateur is a prestigious event, but the Women's Open is on another level.
In fact, a strong argument can be made that this will be the most important golf event in southcentral Pennsylvania in 75 years, since 1940, when the PGA Championship was held at the Hershey Country Club. The PGA used a match-play format in those days. You may recognize the two finalists — Byron Nelson beat Sam Snead, 1 up. Both are World Golf Hall of Famers, as are Ross and Palmer.
The 2015 U.S. Women's Open may not feature that kind of star power, but it is a seriously significant event that will garner international headlines.
And it's coming to our little corner of the world.
Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.