For a lover of golfer, there is nothing that can compare to watching a Pro Golf Tournament in person especially if one or more of your favorite players are playing. Of course, the ultimate dream would be to have a famous pimento cheese sandwich in your hand while having a front row seat amongst the azaleas along Amen Corner during Masters Week at Augusta but don’t discount the golf tournaments in your own region.
Going to a golf tournament as a fan is very different than attending other major sporting events such as football and basketball. At those events, fans are expected to cheer as loud as they can and be rowdy. Golf is quite the opposite. Golf is the “Gentlemen’s Game” and with these tips and advance planning, you can enjoy a great day at the golf course without slicing or fading!
To Follow or To Camp? That is the question.
Figure out your game plan in advance of the tournament. Some attendees like to follow their favorite golfer from start to finish while others will park their camp chair at the 18th hole and remain there all day. To give you an example, we recently attended the Mitsubishi Classic where John Daly was golfing. He had the largest contingent of followers the entire day. On the flip side, the 18th hole had the public grandstand, the USAA Military grandstand, the Ketel One “Garden” and dozens and dozens of people with camp chairs and even more people standing around. Keep in mind that if you decide to walk the entire course, either following one golfer or watching several golfers, golf courses do not have seats but they do have hills. You will get your exercise so wear comfortable shoes! Only you can answer the question to Follow or Camp.
By the way, the 18th hole is the “party hole” where you will find the most diverse opportunity for refreshments.
Pack Appropriately. Rain Gear, Chairs. Water.
For the past two years, the Mitsubishi Classic in Atlanta has been a rainy event until this year. We prefer to bring raincoats vs umbrellas. Holding an umbrella for 18 holes is just plain exhausting. Try it and see what we mean. Otherwise, if it is sunny, bring a hat and sunscreen.
Chairs. If we know, in advance, that we are camping at the 18th hole, for example, we will bring our chairs. Keep in mind that most tournaments will NOT allow you to bring the bag that the chair comes in. Check with the tournament’s rules.
Water. Usually, we are allowed to bring in a bottle of water. Again, check with the tournament’s rules. Water will be available to purchase. Make sure to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Parking and Access
Parking is usually off-site and you will be shuttled to the golf course so plan extra time accordingly if you want to see your favorite player tee off.
Access to the Clubhouse and to some restrooms are usually for members of that course only. Port-a-potties are available throughout the course for the public to use.
Cameras, Cellphones and Autographs
This one is such a touchy subject and ALWAYS check with the tournament’s rules before you step out of your car. A lot of tournaments will prohibit cellphones and cameras from entering the grounds on tournament days and ask that you keep them in your car. Some tournaments will allow cameras and cellphones on practice days. Again, check with the tournament’s rules. The Volunteers definitely will catch you taking photos and let you know to stop. Heed their advice!
Cellphones should never be answered during a golf tournament. Period.
Leave the handheld games, tablets and other noisemakers at home. The players are playing for millions of dollars and deserve our respect and our silence and our cheers at appropriate times.
Autographs should never be asked for during play. Period. The Pros are at work. Do not interrupt their thought process and break their mental game by asking for an autograph. Not only will it get you a nasty look but it will also get you ejected from the game. Each tournament has designated times and locations for Autograph sessions especially during the practice days and at the 18th holes. Look for the section called “Autograph Alley.”
Down South, we Hush Y’all when a golfer is setting up a play. Elsewhere, you will see a volunteer Marshall hold up a sign with the words “Silent.” These Marshalls are volunteers that make sure the crowd stays silent, does not take pictures, does not use electronics, does not play music, does not ask for autographs or talk to the golfers and they sometimes guide the crowds to the next tee. Most of the time, the Marshalls pay a small fee to volunteer to cover the cost of their shirt and cap. It might look like an easy job but imagine babysitting crowds and crowds of people who can’t stop talking and answering their phone.
Have fun watching your favorite golfer but follow the rules and everyone gets an enjoyable day!