The U.S. Women’s Open in Southampton this week means competition, excitement and entertainment, but for residents and business owners it could also mean overcrowding and traffic gridlock.
To help alleviate some of the congestion, the Long Island Rail Road has added westbound train service and a shuttle bus from the Southampton train station to the Sebonack Golf Club. There will be one additional westbound train on Thursday, June 27, and Friday, June 28, and three additional westbound trains on Saturday, June 29, and Sunday, June 30.
The 68th U.S. Women’s Open kicked off Monday morning at Sebonack, which is in Shinnecock Hills. Action got under way at 6:45 a.m. on Monday with practice rounds, which continued Tuesday, June 25, and Wednesday, June 26. Championship play officially kicks off on Thursday at 7 a.m. and continues through the weekend. A new champion will be crowned on Sunday afternoon.
The LIRR is offering a promotion that gives a free round-trip ticket to anyone who purchases a U.S. Open “Championship Round” ticket for Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday, or any “4-Pack” of tickets.
Southampton Town is also taking steps to accommodate traffic. Last week, the Town Board approved a series of road closures and parking restrictions as follows:
• Shrubland Road, from County Road 39 to Cold Springs Road, was closed from 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from Monday, June 24, to Wednesday, June 26, and will be again from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday, June 27, to Sunday, June 30, as well as Monday, July 1, if it’s needed for a rain date. Residents and shuttle buses are exempt from the restrictions.
• Parking is prohibited on both sides of Shrubland Road from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Monday, June 24, to Sunday, June 30, and on July 1 if needed.
• Sebonac Road, from Cold Springs Road to the intersection of Tuckahoe Road and Barker’s Island Road, was closed to traffic excluding residents and shuttle buses from 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from Monday, June 24, to Wednesday, June 26, and will be again from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Thursday, June 27, to Sunday, June 30, as well as on July 1 if needed. Sebonac Road was also closed to parking on both sides of the street from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. starting on Monday, June 24, to Sunday, June 30, as well as Monday, July 1, if needed.
When asked about the influx of traffic during the week for the golf tournament, business owners in close proximity to Sebonack Golf Club had mixed expectations.
The manager of the Easterner Motel on Montauk Highway, Fran Panasci, said that the Women’s Open has had “no effect on business at all.” She said that was “highly unusual,” as she had been “booked a year in advance” before the 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.
The manager at Goldberg’s Famous Bagels on County Road 39, who declined to give his name, said, “I don’t know what to expect.” However, he said that “the last time the tournament was here, with the men, I was pretty busy.” He also pointed out that the Open had only just begun its practice rounds, and that he expected crowds to grow as the competition picked up over the weekend.