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Sunday, June 25, 2006

In Peak Condition

A golfer takes a tee shot at the par-3 hole No. 6 at Peek’n Peak’s Upper Course recently.P-J photos by Jim Riggs

6/25/2006 - Peek’N Peak Readies For Nationwide Tournament For the fifth year in a row, Chautauqua County’s own Peek’n Peak Resort and Conference Center in Findley Lake is hosting the second highest level of professional golf events in the world.The Nationwide Tour — a worldwide series of golf tournaments that allows professional golfers a doorway to the prestigious PGA Tour — will arrive at the resort Monday.The Peek’n Peak Classic, as the event has been named, will join just 30 others — one each in Australia, Panama and New Zealand and the rest scattered across the United States — that will determine who qualifies to compete in the PGA Tour.‘‘It’s good for the region and it’s good for the fans,’’ said Linda Warnshuis, tournament director.The standard 156 golfers will be competing at the Peek’n Peak Classic for a spot on the PGA Tour and a purse of $560,000 — and 20,000 fans are expected to watch them do it.‘‘Each day, the crowd grows bigger and bigger,’’ Ms. Warnshuis said. ‘‘Each day, the tournament grows bigger and bigger.’’Hosting one of the Nationwide Tour’s 31 events is great for business. Though proceeds from the event will benefit the American Cancer Society and the Foundation For Cancer Education and Research, that’s 20,000 fans who will be drawn to the resort — potentially eating at Peek’n Peak’s restaurants and concession stands and staying at its inns and condominiums.Though she couldn’t say for sure whether every room will be filled, Ms. Warnshuis said, ‘‘I’d have to say the census is very high during that time period.’’As for the golfers themselves, where they stay is up to them.‘‘The accommodations are all up to them, though the large majority stays at Peek’n Peak because of the atmosphere. Many bring their families,’’ Ms. Warnshuis said.Local businesses also benefit from the surge of golfers and fans, especially in Findley Lake. In previous years, business owners have done their best to cash in on the extra traffic as much as possible.‘‘In any city or town where there’s a tournament event, it increases the economy, and there’s residual from that,’’ Ms. Warnshuis said.The event also gets Peek’n Peak — with its championship-quality, 7,061-yard, par-72 Upper Course — national exposure, especially since the event will be televised on The Golf Channel.It also raises an awful lot of money for charity. In previous years, the tournament has grossed upwards of $50,000, and with a wide array of extra events being planned — such as the $1 million hole-in-one contest and the King of the Hill competition — Peek’n Peak officials hope that figure will be even higher this year.‘‘The purpose of doing these is to raise additional funds,’’ Ms. Warnshuis said, adding it’s also an added bonus for the spectators.According to Ms. Warnshuis, hosting such a huge event does not require extra hands to be hired — the resort’s hundreds of employees simply do their best to keep everything in tip-top shape, which she said is always their goal.‘‘The course is in this condition whether the tournament’s here or not,’’ she said. ‘‘Do we step it up when the tournament is here? No.’’There may be a great deal of extra traffic, but the resort’s support staff is big enough to handle it, she added.For more information, visit the resort’s Web site at

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