Golf as a Spectator Sport

I refer to golf as a spectator sport when I’m playing because I often find myself in a position to watch someone make a great shot.

Attending a Chapter Championship or other LPGA Amateurs tournament gives you an opportunity to be a real life spectator (and cheerleader). If you have never been a spectator at a golf tournament, here are some things you might consider.

Keep Your Eye on the Ball!

Remember that golf is about hitting a small hard ball into the air and praying it lands in the right spot. If it doesn’t land in the right spot, you might be in the wrong spot.

Hike or Camp?

Are you interested in following one player or do you want to get a view of several players as they progress through a section of the course?

Hike – If you want to follow a player or group, you’ll have to walk the course. hole one through eighteen, just like a player. If you have played the course before, you’ll know the fastest way to get from place to place. It helps if you have the course score card or use some technology to help you navigate.

This will give you a chance to watch how the wind, sun affects the play and how the golfers manage their way around the course. You can learn a lot from watching 18 holes of golf; different from what you learn in you lessons.

Camp – Another way to watch a tournament is to camp out at a hole and watch all the players hit a certain shot. Par threes and second shots into shorter par fives often offer excitement.

When I watch, I try to find a spot between the green of one hole and the tee of another. You’ll get to see golfer and compare how they play.

Likely you will be able to bring a chair, possibly an umbrella, and have a nice comfy view.

You might want to take note of where the bathrooms and concession stands are as being close to these amenities will make your day a lot more fun and enjoyable.

You might be able to camp out in several places if you choose from the early holes and then move to the final holes later in the day.

What to bring (and what not to bring)

Different tournaments have different rules that cover “spectator behaviour.” Consider the following:

  • Dress like you are going to play golf. Golf shoes, shirts, shorts, hats and glasses are always a good idea. You might want to bring binoculars if it is a big tournament. Consider the weather: sunscreen, umbrellas, rain gear. If you follow these guidelines you will be well equipped to tramp around the course and you know you will be dressed appropriately for the occasion!
  • Phones, cameras and other electronic devices. Sometimes these are not even allowed in the tournament and you have to check them on arrival. At big tournaments there are copyright and broadcast restrictions and other times the rules are there to ensure golfers and spectators have a good experience sans annoyance. Check these rules before you go.
  • Food and beverages. Many big tournaments don’t permit outside food on the grounds. Check those rules before you go. You don’t want to lose that beautiful roast beef, brie and pear sandwich that you lovingly packed. In any case, make sure you drink lots of water, and keep your blood sugar stable!
  • Chairs and umbrellas. Makes for a more comfortable experience if you are taking the camping route. Again, check out the rules before you go.

Etiquette

  • If you’ve ever played a round of golf, you know how to behave at a golf tournament.
  • Do as you’re told by the workers and volunteers. You can tell who they are because they are usually dressed alike and are standing on the opposite side of the ropes, keeping distance between the players and the spectators.
  • If they raise their hands or the quiet sign, that means you should be quiet.
  • Cheer at appropriate times, but otherwise be mindful of any noise you might be making. Be courteous to the players; they’re trying to play their best golf and they need to be able to concentrate.

Have fun! Cheer the great shots, support your colleagues, friends and chapter mates!