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Advice on attending a PGA tournament live.

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone,

I hope I'm in the right place. If not, my apologies.

I've watched PGA golf on TV for the last 15 years and have finally decided to take in my favourite tournament, The Players Championship, live. I have already purchased weekly passes and booked a hotel. I'm driving from Toronto to Jacksonville

What can I expect? Should I do something different each day? I was thinking of following a group on Thursday, watching from between the 16 and 17th on Friday and then doing whichever one I liked better for the weekend.

Can we bring in small backpacks? Are cell phones allowed? How expensive is food, drinks etc..

Any and all advice is appreciated because I've never been to any live golf event.

Many thanks.

.
post #2 of 29

I've been to the Honda Classic, and per the advice of veteran members on this forum, I went on Tuesday -- the practice round. I had a blast. I was the only person following Sean O'Hair at one point -- for six holes -- before watching Boo Weekley hit a tee shot (the most amazing rhythm I have ever seen). Then I followed DA Points, Dicky Pride and Jason Kokrak around and they were thrilled to have someone watching them. They kept talking to me  during their practice while making fun of each other's swings. 

 

I followed Furyk and Kenny Perry for a hole, but there were about 15 people there, so I left pretty quickly. Perry blocked his tee shot into the water and said "thank god it's Tuesday."

 

Then I ran into Kyle Stanley on 10 and he pummeled a drive farther than I've ever seen someone hit a tee shot. Had to be 335. Then I saw Jose Maria O and Fred Funk for a tee shot, followed by YE Yang and some other Korean players for a hole. Again, no one else around except for their families inside the ropes.

 

Tuesdays are great because there are so few people there. Wish I could speak for the actual tournament, but I was golfing. 

 

Just saying, don't overlook Tuesday. You can get all the great views you want.

 

Too bad Tiger and Rory played at 9AM or I'd have checked them out. I heard they had legit sized crowds following them though.

 

A lot of the concession stands are closed, but some are open. And the ticket for Tuesday is half price I think.

 

Food prices vary with each tourney, but I recall stuff being cheaper than a ball game. I had my cell on me yea, but turned the ringer off. I thought cameras weren't allowed, so I left mine in the car, but it turns out, they were okay -- still kicking myself for not bringing it because I would've filmed these guys in slow-mo all day long. 

 

I think you can bring a backpack yea... and a chair, but again, this was Tuesday, and they were pretty lax about stuff. 

 

Oh yea, and wear some comfortable shows. I must've walked like ten miles that day.

post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks JetFan1983. We won't arrive until Wednesday so Tuesday is out. Thanks for your comments. I'm so looking forward to this. Even the 18 hour drive, lol.
post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdifelice View Post

Thanks JetFan1983. We won't arrive until Wednesday so Tuesday is out. Thanks for your comments. I'm so looking forward to this. Even the 18 hour drive, lol.

 

You should stop at the Hall of Fame in St.Augustine too. It's quite interesting and I thought worth killing an hour and a half. Of course, again, I was the only person there, so maybe that's why I enjoyed it so much -- around the Players it's packed. But it was cool seeing old club designs and such... it was the first time I saw what a "water wedge" looked like... I enjoy history so....

 

It's something like 10 minutes south of Jacksonville. Maybe not the most impressive Hall of Fame out there, but still, I was in the neighborhood so I dropped by.

 

And the drive is a blast, I agree. South of the Border for the win!

post #5 of 29

I went to the PGA tournament at Disney's Magnolia course this past summer. I had played the same course 2 weeks prior, and it was cool to see the pros play the same holes I had just played.

 

There was a strict limit as to the size of the packs you could bring in, maybe 8 inches in each dimension. No cameras were allowed. 

 

We just wandered around and picked up random groups to follow and had a great time. it's impressive to see those guys play.

 

HAVE FUN!

post #6 of 29

You are there all week, so my random suggestions would be:

 

1) Follow a single group for 9 holes or more.  Get the feel for how they are playing, how they approach each hole. It's best to do this on a Thurs or Fri.  Check the tee sheets and see what "name" players are grouped together with an early start.  Less crowded that way.

2) One day, pick out a location where you can easily get between a couple of greens and a couple of tees. Go back and forth and watch a bunch of groups play a single hole.  You'll get a good indication just how special these guys are.

3) Toward the end of a day, hang out at the driving range, where guys who have completed their round are back working on something or other. You'll probably see plenty of swing "gurus" offering helpful hints. Might be able to talk to a few guys, too, when they are a little more relaxed.  Caddies are also neat guys to talk to.

4) Don't forget the vendor tents.  There's a lot of freebies to be had.

5) The hill above the 17th hole is always a fun place to be. So is the 1st tee, where they announce each player before they tee off.

6) Don't get caught up trying to run after the leaders on Sunday.  You'll miss more shots than you'll see.

post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonious View Post

You are there all week, so my random suggestions would be:

1) Follow a single group for 9 holes or more.  Get the feel for how they are playing, how they approach each hole. It's best to do this on a Thurs or Fri.  Check the tee sheets and see what "name" players are grouped together with an early start.  Less crowded that way.
2) One day, pick out a location where you can easily get between a couple of greens and a couple of tees. Go back and forth and watch a bunch of groups play a single hole.  You'll get a good indication just how special these guys are.
3) Toward the end of a day, hang out at the driving range, where guys who have completed their round are back working on something or other. You'll probably see plenty of swing "gurus" offering helpful hints. Might be able to talk to a few guys, too, when they are a little more relaxed.  Caddies are also neat guys to talk to.
4) Don't forget the vendor tents.  There's a lot of freebies to be had.
5) The hill above the 17th hole is always a fun place to be. So is the 1st tee, where they announce each player before they tee off.
6) Don't get caught up trying to run after the leaders on Sunday.  You'll miss more shots than you'll see.
I've been to a handful myself (AT&T once, TOC a couple of times when it was at La Costa, and Torrey several times including the open) but I don't think I could add anything more than what harmonious said here. Great advice.
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonious View Post

You are there all week, so my random suggestions would be:

 

1) Follow a single group for 9 holes or more.  Get the feel for how they are playing, how they approach each hole. It's best to do this on a Thurs or Fri.  Check the tee sheets and see what "name" players are grouped together with an early start.  Less crowded that way.

2) One day, pick out a location where you can easily get between a couple of greens and a couple of tees. Go back and forth and watch a bunch of groups play a single hole.  You'll get a good indication just how special these guys are.

3) Toward the end of a day, hang out at the driving range, where guys who have completed their round are back working on something or other. You'll probably see plenty of swing "gurus" offering helpful hints. Might be able to talk to a few guys, too, when they are a little more relaxed.  Caddies are also neat guys to talk to.

4) Don't forget the vendor tents.  There's a lot of freebies to be had.

5) The hill above the 17th hole is always a fun place to be. So is the 1st tee, where they announce each player before they tee off.

6) Don't get caught up trying to run after the leaders on Sunday.  You'll miss more shots than you'll see.

 

Yeah the most recent event I went to was the 2011 RBC Canadian Open at Shaughnessy golf club.  Very cool to see the pros play a course I've played a few times.  I walked the course on Tuesday in the practice round and followed Ernie Els and Rickie Fowler for a bit but the crowds got too big so I left and followed Sean O'Hair (eventual winner) and Bo Van Pelt.  Nobody around as most were with Fowler or Donald.  Talked to them a bit before taking off.  Thursday I was there bright and early at the range and met Fowler and Charl Schwartzel.  Overall I say follow the above advice. 

post #9 of 29

If you are going to follow anyone, do it early in the day or you won't get to see any golf at all, as the crowd will settle in at the holes. While walking the course, find a spot that you like and return there later and settle in while some of the top players pass by (check your program). The only way to really get to see the top players is to watch them go by a particular spot. Following them is a waste of energy and you will be lucky if you see even 50% of their shots.

post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by phan52 View Post

If you are going to follow anyone, do it early in the day or you won't get to see any golf at all, as the crowd will settle in at the holes. While walking the course, find a spot that you like and return there later and settle in while some of the top players pass by (check your program). The only way to really get to see the top players is to watch them go by a particular spot. Following them is a waste of energy and you will be lucky if you see even 50% of their shots.

Totally agree. I've been to Bay Hill several times and if you attempt to follow the big name players you end up either stuck in a huge crowd or running to try get ahead of it. Find a nice spot where you can watch a couple holes and get there ahead of time so you can see the players you want come through.

post #11 of 29

I like to hit the range and putting areas in the morning. Players always show up to warm up. They don't always work after a round.

 

I try to find a hole where I can get an elevated seat and see an approach shot from the green and the next tee shot.

 

Then I attempt to follow a group with a few great golfers whom the gallery doesn't know.

 

I try to follow groups more on the weekdays; on the weekends, it tends to get crowded. I hit the range more on the weekend, find a good sitting area and a beverage, get food, shop, or follow a group that is not popular.

post #12 of 29

I've been to one tournament, the AT&T this year (on sunday, 100+ degrees, ugh) and it was FAR more fun that I expected.  Its amazing how close you can get to these guys.

 

I think its worthwhile to pick a par 4 with a bend in it, and camp out at the bend.  You get to see the players on the tee box drive to about where you're sitting, then they're right next to you hitting their approach shots.  Since you're at the bend, you have a good line of sight both to the tee and to the green, without spectators in your way.

 

Also I would not camp out near a green.  These guys take so long to putt and you have to be absolutely silent...I found that to be really painful.

 

As for cell phones--we were allowed to bring them in.  And you could take pictures of anybody but Tiger.  If his enforcers see you with a phone 100 yards away they will take it.  Anybody else you can snap photos up close.  

post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 

Great tips and advice! It is greatly appreciated. JetFan1983, I have been to the WGHOF a couple years ago. It was awesome. I had most of the place to myself. Took two cracks at the island green contest to win tickets to The Players and hit the green both times but too far way. Was a great experience if you love golf and I highly recommend it. I’m also taking in the RBC Canadian Open this year too at Glenn Abbey. Looking forward to both of them.

post #14 of 29

Lots of great advice so far!

post #15 of 29

If the weather's hot, make sure you drink plenty of water the night before, and some more water enroute to the course. You want to build up a little water reserve in your system. Be sure to drink water on course, and possible some sports drink after a few hours.

post #16 of 29

Been to several events (Byron Nelson, Colonial, FedEx, Texas Open, Masters) and I always like to find a place to watch from. My favorite places tend to be landing areas for tee shots. Get to watch the tee shot, be close for the approach, and watch them putt from one spot. Getting around par 3's can be a lot of fun too. If it were me, I would probably spend most of my time at the Players on 16, 17, and 18. When you get there, ask a marshall where some of the better places to watch are. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Desmond View Post

I like to hit the range and putting areas in the morning. Players always show up to warm up. They don't always work after a round.

 

 

This. One of the coolest things I have ever seen at a golf tournament was watching Sergio Garcia lace 2-irons over a flag that's about 250 from the practice tee at Las Colinas. 

post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by WUTiger View Post

If the weather's hot, make sure you drink plenty of BEER the night before, and some more BEER enroute to the course. You want to build up a little BEER reserve in your system. Be sure to drink BEER on course, and possible some BEER after a few hours.

 

Fixed it for you.

post #18 of 29

I went to TPC a few years ago with a buddy and my son, and we got a great piece of advice.  On any day (but we were only there on Sunday) if you get there early you can put down chairs around 17 early and just leave them there until the leaders come through or you get tired.  The year we were there was when Tiger pulled out on I think the 7th hole.  That was interesting, as we were on the fairway in about 10 deep of people, nowhere near Tiger but still completely shielded from anything resembling a decent view.  Anyhow, it wasn't a great leaderboard but we came back to 17 eventually and got in our chairs, pretty much in the front row as the golfers made their way to the green, they were no more than 5 ft from us and we were also maybe 125 feet from the green, unobstructed so we could see everything.

 

Funniest part was when you guys on the 17th green saw an alligator sunbathing on the 16th fairway right as other golfers were walking up the 16th fairway.  The guys on 17 were waving their arms like crazy trying to get their attention because they were walking straight toward the sucker.  They got about 10 feet from it before they could see it on the embankment and completely lost it.  The crowd completely lost it.  Really cool moment to see live.

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