Ryder Cup Shop open to public through Sept. 20
SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (WBAY) - In one week, on Friday, September 24, the Ryder Cup tees off in Sheboygan County. Two teams of elite golfers from the U.S. and Europe will go head-to-head at Whistling Straits for the cup. Some have called the international tournament a once in a lifetime event. They were buying merchandise to celebrate at Friday’s Ryder Cup Shop grand opening, free to the public.
“Tickets of course were limited, and people can get a flavor and a taste of what’s going on here,” said Shortie Mueller, a Ryder Cup volunteer who works several weeks ahead of the tournament to take care of all the volunteer credentials. She shared there were more than 100 volunteers for this year’s event.
The major matches mean a lot of business for the area and the course itself is already busy with fans shopping while checking out the grounds thanks to the grand opening which runs through Monday, September 20.
“The Ryder Cup Event, the way it’s structured, how often it’s in the U.S. every four years, it really is a once in a lifetime for a lot of people,” director of licensing and marketing for PGA America, Michael Quirk, highlighted. “What’s great about everything we have [at the Ryder Cup Shop] is that this is your long lasting memory. The event is going to happen next week, and I think a lot of people are going to be here, but the event will pass. The merchandise is kind of your identification that you were here at the event.”
Whether it’s hats or golf shirts, people are buying before the Ryder Cup Shop sells out. Opening the store to the general public a week before the tournament starts has given anyone the opportunity to experience one of the most revered golf tournaments in the world -- free of charge.
“It’s probably the only opportunity that some people have to come to something like this and see what the venue is all about,” Mueller emphasized. She lives in Chilton, not far from Whistling Straits, and has been looking forward to the tournament for quite a while. Mueller guessed that Friday’s grand opening was “probably good publicity for the golf course and the event that’s taking place.”
With 60,000 square feet of space, the Ryder Cup Shop is an operation about the size of a football field, according to Quirk. Even though the Ryder Cup announced Thursday, September 16, it is still looking for some people to work things like food & beverage or maintenance during the tournament, the separate retail staff is at full capacity.
Fortunately, having 600 to 700 employees working at once helps keep things flowing smoothly. Especially when it comes to selling hats and shirts to enthusiastic customers.
“He is the king of all shirts,” Sheila Loehr joked about her husband, Chuck, while shopping. “When he gets to 200 shirts in his closet, then I start telling him that he has to start giving some away.”
The Loehrs also bought some merchandise, like jackets for their grandsons. Sheila’s sister, Shelly Stayer, is the chairperson of the Wisconsin-based sausage company Johnsonville LLC. With the added consumers to the area, Sheila shared that her sister and brother-in-law, Ralph Stayer, a former chairman of Johnsonville, are excited about potential customers heading to local restaurants to sample their culinary products.
Already, a constant wave of shoppers tried on jackets and hats, and considered the 13,000 different items at the Ryder Cup Shop.
“The merchandise operation is set and ready to go,” Quirk emphasized. “We’ve got a fantastic volunteer base. We’ve got great vendor staff, that are connected to all our brands inside, and I can seriously say that the only thing missing are the big crowds at this point.”
Entrance and parking to the Ryder Cup Shop is completely free to the public until Tuesday, September 21. Visitors can head to Whistling Straits and park in the general admission lot from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. each day through Monday.
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