US Open at Merion just a couple of days away, I wanted to share my thoughts on the unique experience that is the participation – if only as a spectator – in a professional golf tournament. Since it is so different from watching the action on television, I can only recommend going and watching the action as often as possible. Over the past years I had the opportunity to go and see the best players in the world compete at numerous occasions: At the BMW Open in Eichenried (Germany), at the French Open at Golf National (Paris), the Honda Classic at Heron Bay (back in 2002), the WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral (where I got to see Phil Mickelson for the first and only time in my life) and at the Women’s Irish Open at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club,
As golf is not overly popular in both Germany and France I did not need to purchase tickets in advance for these two tournaments. I simply showed up at the course, paid around 20-30 EUR (that would be the week-end price) and was admitted to the holy grounds. However, for competitions in Ireland and the US, you’d be well advised to buy your tickets in advance in order to avoid long queues at the ticket booths or even the ultimate disappointment of not being able to get access to the course at all. There are several websites where you can get extensive information on golf tickets and events or sometimes even the opportunity to purchase or at least reserve tickets well in advance and with a reasonable discount.
At the tournament there are several ways of soaking up the atmosphere and getting the most out of your day with the pros: You can either pick a group of players you like and walk the entire round with them. That way you will have the opportunity to find out how professional golfers cope with the ups and downs that even they encounter during a round of golf. Or you can find a nice place on the golf course (preferably a spot where you can see several greens, fairways or tee boxes), stay there for a longer period of time and watch the entire field come through. And of course a mix of both approaches is also perfectly acceptable.
Whatever your decision is, make sure to be prepared for all sorts of weather (rain gear, sunscreen etc.), bring enough food and enjoy being that close to the guys you normally only get to see on TV.