Monday morning I used my trusty stubhub app to purchase a deeply discounted grounds pass to the day’s practice round at the PGA Championship at Southern Hills here in Tulsa.
This is the third major championship I have seen at the club. My first major was the 1994 PGA and then the 2007 US Open that Tiger Woods won. I also volunteered for several rounds in 2007 as a marshall.
I generally avoid the practice events, but I changed my mind this year. The crowds are a lot less than during the competition phase and you can take photos which they don’t really want you doing during competition. (And I’m a rule follower on such things.
So Monday I just took off on a tour of the course. As a side note that everybody has forgotten. A Trump owned course, Bedminster was slated to host the 2022 PGA but the PGA pulled it from the club after the January 6, 2021 riot at our nations capitol. This year’s tournament is Southern Hills fifth PGA championship. The most of any golf course in the country.
With the actual tournament it is easy to know who you are looking at on the course. They have somebody carrying a signboard with the group and there are event apps and leaderboards. During practice it seems like the players team up informally and go at their own pace. They may hit several balls and when they get on the green they will putt from various locations on the green and try chipping from different places as well. It’s booorrrring.
In this pic you see a glimpse of what drives the PGA and really all professional sports. See the white buildings in the back. Those are the hospitality chalets paid for by various companies and organizations to host their customers. Those chalets are all over the course. Back when I worked my employer would have one and I would take my customers there for refreshments and food and maybe some merchandise. Lots of fun, but a lot of work as well.
I call this tree “dog leg left.” Lots of big, huge, beautiful trees on the course.
The players of course have perfect form. The tournament invites the best of the best golfers and some distinguished older golfers. In 1994 I saw Arnold Palmer play at the course. He wasn’t competitive any longer but the fans loved him.
There are lots of big houses fronting the course.
The course is about 7500 yards in length or about four miles. I ended up walking about 4 miles. The course is built on the side of a hills so there is lots of up and down.
On the practice rounds all sorts of people walk with the golfers like their wives. (I like to think they are the wives!!)
Somebody built this gigantic building right on the course. I don’t know if it is a club facility or a private house but it sure is nice.
And a parting shot before I headed to the shuttle bus.
I got a solid four mile walk in. I don’t know yet if I’m going back for the tournament.