In the first part of this series, we gave a brief overview of the game of golf including the structure and rules. And perhaps you decided that toiling away in sand traps and putting greens is not your description of a fun weekend.
However, you might still find the game fascinating and would love to spend time out on a golf course. In that case, golf spectating might be just the activity for you. This way, you can enjoy the beauty of a golf course and be entertained by the game — without the frustration of actually playing it.
In this article, we break down everything you need to know about attending a golf event as a spectator so you can avoid disrupting the game — and avoid embarrassing yourself!
The first thing to keep in mind is the need to prepare well for your day out on the course. You could be spending several hours on your feet outside, so it’s important to plan accordingly. The last thing you want is to ruin your experience due to sore feet or drenched clothes.
Make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes and that you are dressed appropriately for the weather. If it’s chilly, this means you want to be dressed in layers so you could remove some clothing if you heat up while walking around.
Also, be sure to have a hat, glasses, and sunscreen because you may find yourself in a situation with inadequate shade. You can also bring a blanket to use for sitting on the grass.
Golf Spectator Etiquette
If you’re used to going to football games or NASCAR races, golf will be a serious change of pace. The game and the surroundings are the polar opposite of the chaotic fervor typically seen at these other events. Along the same lines, there are certain expectations that golf spectators should adhere to.
While you may be eager to catch a glimpse of the shot from your favorite golfer, don’t forget that there are about a thousand people who are trying to see the same thing. Be patient and you will eventually get your turn. On that note…
Respect Other Spectators
Keep in mind that many other people around you are trying to watch the game. Avoid using large umbrellas or other obstructions that can block the view of people behind you.
Don’t Disrupt the Players
This may seem obvious, but be sure not to call out to players or otherwise distract them. Golf requires intense focus and concentration. If you’ve ever seen golf on TV, you know that even the commentators speak quietly to avoid disruptions.
Check Rules About Electronic Devices
Most courses have some rules about what electronic devices you can carry with you while watching a tournament. If you are caught breaking the rules, your items will be confiscated. Plan ahead to avoid this problem.
Folding Chairs Only
Standing all day can be tiring, so you might be interested in bringing along a chair to sit on during the match. However, most courses require that spectators are only allowed to bring folding chairs for this purpose.
Choose Your Viewing Style
As mentioned before, golf is a very different type of game compared to other sports you may have watched before. The game is long and is spread out across a significant area. This means you must choose what strategy to employ to watch the game. Typically, there are three ways to watch a game of golf:
1. Stay in One Spot
Probably the easiest way to watch golf is to stake out a particular hole and stay there throughout the match. One benefit to this approach is that you only need to find a good viewing spot once, which helps you avoid jockeying for a good spot at other holes.
The other benefit is that you can see all the golfers in the tournament pass by. No need to go chasing them around or risk missing them entirely. Every golfer plays every hole, so you will see your favorites eventually.
The downside to this approach is that you won’t get the chance to see the rest of the course, and you might miss out on some of the other activities and events that typically take place alongside a golf tournament.
2. Follow a Player
The next option you have is to follow a specific player throughout the course. Spectators typically go this route if they have one player they really want to see. The major benefit to this approach is that you can watch all the drama unfold for a specific player.
The other benefit of choosing this approach is that you will get the opportunity to see the entire golf course. These courses are made to be appreciated in their entirety, so it benefits you to see the entire thing.
The downside of this approach is that if you are following a particularly popular player, you will be traversing the course with a massive gaggle of people. This can make it difficult to find a good viewing position when you arrive at each hole. As a result, you might miss a lot of the golf action.
3. Wander the Course
With this option, you kind of just wander around and do whatever you want. As golf tournaments are usually long, sprawling, multi-day affairs, they usually include various events and activities to keep attendees occupied and entertained.
This way, you can watch a little golf, and if you get bored, you can head over to one of the other activities, play some games, join a raffle, see some sites, or get some refreshments, then head back to a hole to see some more action.
However you decide to watch a game of golf, you will surely enjoy your time out on the course.
Golf is a fascinating game with highs, lows, and dramatic turns, but you don’t need to be a player to take part in the fun and to experience the carefully cultivated beauty of a golf course. Attending a tournament in person is a great way to really gain a deep appreciation for the game and those who play it.
If you’re in Garden City and want to get outside and watch some golf, Buffalo Dunes Golf Course has a year-round schedule of golfing events for you to enjoy. Their tournament schedule can be found here.