We are very fortunate to have a PGA Tour event in our area with the Zurich Classic at the TPC-Louisiana. New Orleans has been a tour stop since 1938 when “Lighthorse” Harry Cooper won the Greater New Orleans Open Invitational at City Park.
Go to the tournament. A PGA Tour event is something special and should not be taken for granted.
Golf is one of the few sporting events where so many of the world’s best players are in one place. The Zurich Classic has attracted four of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Rankings: Luke Donald (2), defending champion Bubba Watson (4), Steve Stricker (7) and Justin Rose (10). This seldom happens in sport except for the major championships.
Tuesday is a great day to attend. First of all, it is free. The players are working on their games and trying a variety of shots. There are no crowds and you can get closer to the players. It is also easier to maneuver around the course. Watching a pro prepare himself for competition is a lesson well learned.
Attend more than one day. Just like Disney World, you cannot see it all in one day.
Just like the players, you have to prepare in advance according to what you want to accomplish. Decide whether you are there to be part of the event or you are there to learn something about golf and improve your game. Your decision will determine your preparation.
Regardless, your first decision is in apparel and accessories:
Realize that it is function over style.
Bring, and use, sun screen.
Wear a hat that won’t blow away and sun glasses.
Wear shoes made for distance walking. You will be walking about the distance of the Crescent City Classic. I don’t think you would wear flip-flops in the CCC. And ladies, no heels please.
Here are some ideas if you are interested in improving your game:
Spend time around the practice area. Find a player that approximates your build, and watch them on the practice range. Get a sense of their routine, tempo and overall swing pattern. Take special note of their alignment to the target and posture. Before the round the pros are simply warming up and probably not working on a lot of technique. It is after their round when players really work on their technique. Schedule some time to be there late in the afternoon.
Note how much time they spend on the pitching and chipping area. As good as their long game is, their short games are even better. It is amazing how many times they save par from improbable spots. Watch how firmly they hit these shots accelerating through the impact area. You can get close enough to this area to hear contact. Try to remember the crisp sound of a well struck pitch.
The sound of a good shot is important in shot-making. The great Tom Watson noted this at the Masters after practicing next to Bubba Watson. “I noticed every chip he hit was dead-solid perfect to my ear. Now I’m starting to hit solid chips again just by watching Bubba.”
There are two approaches to take on the course itself. You may choose to follow a group around the course or park yourself in one place to observe a specific action.
If you are going to follow a group or specific player around the course you may get the feeling that you are being herded around like cattle.
If you decide to park, pick out a spot where you can see several types of shots from the same location. For instance, if you locate between a green and adjacent tee you can see short game action and tee shots.
Another good method is to locate where you are certain to see shots you need to observe. If you want to see a variety of short-game situations, a par 5 green is a great place.
Here are some tips for being a good spectator:
Do not ask players to sign autographs after the start of their rounds until conclusion, except during periods of suspension of play.
Mobile devices will be permitted on site. However, they MUST be on silent mode, they must be used in designated areas ONLY and they must NOT disrupt play. Video recording, of any kind, will not be allowed. Failure to comply may result in confiscation.
There is free grounds admission for active military with proper identification. There is also free grounds admission for children 17 and under with a paid adult.
Handicap viewing areas that are free and open to the public are located at Harrah's 19th Hole and a dedicated viewing area on the 18th green. For handicapped spectators wishing to enjoy the comforts of our hospitality venues, the Champion's Club will be handicapped-accessible for ticketed patrons.
The Following Items Are Prohibited:
Cameras of any kind after Wednesday
Radios, TVs, signs, banners, flags, etc.
Coolers or beverages
Stepladders or stepstools
Mobile devices must be on silent mode and must be used in designated areas only
Anything larger than a small purse
Firearms or explosive devices
All items are subject to inspection
Take advantage of this great opportunity to see some of the best players in the world. And use this as an opportunity to improve your game as well. A little planning goes a long way.
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