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The first thing you need to consider when attending a PGA event is the security you will encounter at the entrance. If you don’t own one of these (affiliate link takes you to Amazon) then you might have complications at the security gates. So be prepared. In this article we discuss what to bring to a PGA golf tournament.
Attending a PGA tournament is unlike attending any other major sporting event. The PGA’s security policies are quite strict. The event itself is much different than a football or basketball game.
You have, potentially, an entire golf course to spectate if you so choose. You aren’t assigned a seat. And while this gives you unique freedoms, it also may cause issues.
The PGA Tour grants you up-close access to golfers while they play. Some fans are just feet away from golfers when the golfers take their shot. With this opportunity, also comes responsibility. And you will want to be prepared to understand and comply with expected on-course golf etiquette.
In this article we will provide you with a list of items you will want to at least consider bringing with you when you head to the course. At the end of the article we will also cover what prohibited items may get you turned away at the gate.
We will also discuss spectator etiquette and how you need to act while on the course. When you are finished reading you should have a list of items to bring, an idea of how to conduct yourself, and an understanding of what items are prohibited.
What To Bring To A PGA Event
Here is our suggested list. Below it, we explain each.
- Clear Bag for entry
- Power Bank
- Sun Protection
- Insect Repellent
- Collapsible Chair
- Walking Shoes
- Rain Protection
Clear Bag – If you are planning on carrying items in with you, and they won’t fit in a tiny handbag, this is a MUST. Security will turn you away if you don’t have a clear bag. Security will not allow any bag over 6″ x 6″ unless it is clear. Also, no backpacks of any kind (even clear). Even if your bag is clear, it cannot be bigger in size than 12″ x 6″ x 12″. Take a look at the link above as it is an approved bag that will simplify this process for you and remove the chance of security turning you away.
Power Bank – This one, to me, is very important and is not discussed enough. Let’s face it, if you are out there on the course all day, your phone is going to lose power. This solves your problem. Power banks are growing in popularity. They are small battery packs that store electrical energy that can then charge your phone when you are away from an electrical outlet. I use mine constantly (honestly even at home). They can store enough electrical energy to charge your phone 3-4 times, depending on the type of your phone.
Sun Protection – You’ll be outside all day, in many cases without shade. It’s important to remember to bring sunscreen with you. Experts recommend broad-spectrum sunscreens that protect against both UVA and UVB rays. You might not want to carry a large bottle around with you all day. If not, try one of the smaller 3-ounce bottles that can fit in a pocket or handbag. Also, remember to bring sunglasses and a hat to help protect from the sun.
Insect Repellent – Depending on location and time of year, bugs may be an issue. Consider picking up a small travel can of insect repellent that can fit in a small handbag. Sunscreen does not repel bugs and can even attract them, so you will want to consider insect repellent.
Collapsible Chair – This is optional depending on your preference. Are you wanting to walk the course or find one hole and put down a chair? It’s a long day out there if you plan on staying the whole day, so a lawn chair might be very helpful. But remember this: security will not let you bring in the chair bag. You can only bring in the collapsible chair itself – no bag.
Walking Shoes – Wear comfortable shoes, because golf courses have a lot of ground to be covered, and not all of it will be comfortable to walk on. If you plan on sitting at one particular hole all day, this may not be as big of an issue, but still would be a good idea.
Rain Protection – Knowing the weather forecast is important. If rain is expected, you will want to be prepared. The PGA does allow umbrellas on-course as long as you don’t bring the umbrella bag with you. Another option would be to buy a disposable rain poncho and take it with you just in case you will need it. You may want a premium poncho if you will sit in the rain all day. You may also want to look into a waterproof golf jacket. It’s important to remember that most PGA events do not allow you to leave the grounds to go to your car. So you must consider which will be easier for you to carry around.
Food – This one is dependent on what tournament you attend. Some PGA events will allow you to bring in food if it is in a resealable clear plastic bag, no larger than one gallon. This gives you an option to save on concession prices if you plan on spending the whole day at the event.
You may also consider binoculars if you want a better look at the action or perhaps earbuds and/or a small handheld radio (or phone app) to listen to the radio call of the event.
Selfie Sticks – This may be a bummer if you were hoping to get some unique selfies on the course. But the long sticks can be a distraction for golfers and so they are prohibited on tour.
Cameras and Video Cameras – No video cameras are allowed on-course at any point during the week of a PGA event. Certain types of point-and-shoot cameras may be allowed at some PGA events. You will want to check with the local policy of the event you are attending. Some allow small cameras on-course during practice rounds (for example 6″ or smaller lens with no case).
Coolers – No cooler of any kind is allowed on the premises at PGA events.
Alcohol – You cannot bring alcohol in through the gate. Alcohol, however, is served at PGA events. See our article here detailing the specifics of alcohol at PGA events, including expected cost and types offered.
Posters, signs, or banners – The PGA does not allow you to make your own signs or banners at home and bring them in through the gates.
Laptops – The PGA does not allow laptops or computers in through the gate. Cell phones are allowed.
Drones – Yes, you could get some pretty neat shots. But no, for obvious reasons, drones are not allowed since they could affect the flight of a golf ball.
Backpacks – No backpacks are allowed of any type. Not even if they are clear. The PGA has a strict bag policy.
Pets – If you were hoping to take your dog with you to the course to let them enjoy the outdoors, unfortunately, you cannot. Only service animals are allowed on course.
Weapons – Pretty obvious here, but no weapons are allowed on the grounds at PGA events, including knives.
To see a full list of prohibited items, click here.
How you act on the golf course as a spectator is very important to the integrity of the event. Golf is a sport that relies heavily on concentration, and any sudden noises can easily distract competing golfers while they swing.
The PGA grants its spectators up-close access to PGA professionals, which others sports do not allow. If you are well-positioned in the gallery, you may be within just a few feet of golfers as they swing.
With this unique opportunity comes great responsibility. Spectators carry some of the obligation in making sure the integrity of the sport is upheld and all golfers have a fair chance. All competitors should be treated with respect and proper on-course etiquette.
Here are some things you will want to be mindful of while on the course:
- Silence your cell phone.
- Don’t shout or make sudden movements near a golfer making a shot.
- Don’t run on the course and be aware of other patrons.
- Don’t ridicule or heckle golfers. This is not something that is tolerated in golf, and the PGA reserves the right to remove any spectator who is disorderly.
- Don’t ask for an autograph from a golfer while he or she is still completing their round.
Tips For Spectating PGA Events
It may be a boring answer, but the best thing for you to do when you are at a PGA event is to do whatever best suits you. If you enjoy walking and have the energy to walk the course, do that. If you prefer to sit and watch from a grandstand area or a collapsible chair, then do that.
If you plan to walk the course, here’s a pro tip if you want to take in as many holes and golfers as possible. When the first batch of golfers reach the 18th hole, start there and walk the course backwards from the 18th hole down to the 1st hole. This will allow you to see every hole and many different golfers.
When you reach the 1st hole, you can stay there until the leaders tee off later in the day. Then follow those groups back through the course.
If you plan on bringing a chair and sitting near a tee box or green all day, make sure you consider the weather. There will not be much shade near greens or tee boxes, and you will be exposed to the sun for long periods of time.
Can You Bring a Toddler Into a PGA Tournament?
Yes, you can bring a baby into a PGA tournament. There are some specifics you will want to consider before you choose to do that. See our article here detailing what you need to know about bringing a baby into a PGA event, including issues you may have with security at the gate.
Can You Smoke At A PGA Tournament?
Yes, smoking is allowed on the grounds at PGA events. You will want to review some etiquette issues that we cover in our smoking at PGA events article here.
What Are The Best Tournaments To Attend?
Majors are without a doubt the most prestigous golf tournaments to attend. There are four golf majors: The Masters, The PGA Championship, The US Open and The Open Championship. The Open Championship (also known as The British Open or simply ‘The Open’) is played in the United Kingdom. The other three majors are played in the United States.
If you are unable to attend a major tournament, there are other tournaments that hold significance. The Players Championship is considered by some to be the unofficial fifth major. Also, the Fedex Playoffs at the end of the year consist of four separate tournaments all of which hold significance in crowning the Fedex Champion.
The Phoenix Open held at TPC Scottsdale draws some of the largest galleries of any tournament on the PGA tour and is considered to be the most fan-friendly.
Another bucket list tournament to attend for many golf fans is the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Pebble Beach is considered to be one of the prettiest courses in all of the world.
How Big Are PGA Crowds?
When attending a PGA tournament, prepare yourself for large crowds, especially if many of the best golfers in the world are playing that week. Some single-day crowds at PGA tournaments can be in excess of 100,000 people. Keep this in mind when putting together your plan for what to bring and where to sit.
How Hard Is It To See Tiger Woods?
If you are going to a tournament that Tiger is golfing in, you will likely want a chance to see him up close. Beware, the galleries following Tiger can be massive, and swell even larger on the weekends.
If you are wanting to see Tiger up close, you have the option to watch him on the practice range before he tees off. That might give you a better option if you don’t want to attack the large crowds on the course.
Tiger, post-injuries, does not play in as many tournaments as he once did. So seize the opportunity when you have it.