Approximately half a million spectators attend the Masters in Augusta, millions more attend tournaments across the country each year.
If you’ve never been to one but love watching golf make this your year to see it live. It can seem intimidating when you’ve never been to one before.
There are rules and etiquette to keep in mind when attending a golf tournament but there’s no need to worry. We’ve got everything you need to know about watching golf at your first tournament.
So grab your favorite club and let’s tee off
Whether you’re attending a local tournament or want to catch the action of the Masters, it’s good to plan ahead. Most tournaments will have a lot of people traveling and so finding accommodations could get tricky the closer you get to tee off time.
Make sure you get the appropriate tickets for the events you want to attend on the days you plan to be there. Sometimes it’s necessary to purchase these several months in advance and you need different tickets for various activities.
You want to have everything you’ll need, plan what you’re taking with a checklist so you don’t forget something important.
Some things you’ll want to consider for your golf watching vacation:
- Light comfortable clothing
- Good walking shoes
- Hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen
- Lawn chair or blanket
- Refillable cup
- Small bag to carry essentials
You can obviously personalize this list to include things specific to you but these are the basics that will get you through a day of being a spectator.
Stay, Stray, or Follow the Play
There are a couple of different ways you can strategize your spectating. It all depends on the experience you want to have and what you want to take in.
Many people like to choose a spot on the course, usually near a hole they like or where their favorite players are teeing off first, and stay there for the duration.
If you come early and find a good position where you can see the hole clearly this is a good way to see all the golfers who pass by. You can get comfortable and relax for the day.
Golf tournaments have a lot more to take in than just watching golf. There are often great refreshments to enjoy, games to play and sights to see.
Wandering may make it more difficult to actually see any golfing, you’ll be free to take in everything else there is to see. You may still be able to catch a glimpse of a few golfers or an epic shot if you wander to the right place at the right time.
You may want to venture over to the driving range or stand by the clubhouse where they have cellphone, camera, and autograph locations. These things shouldn’t be used near the course during play.
Follow the Play
If you came to watch golf because of one player in particular than you may prefer to follow that golfer throughout the day. You’ll want to get to the hole they’re teeing of from early and to stake out the best viewing spot.
When you travel the course to follow the play of one golfer you probably won’t have a clear view of the whole game. Thousands may be in the procession following them.
Watching Golf Requires Peace and Quiet
Golf is not the fastest paced game in the world and watching it in person can take even more patience than being a couch spectator. You’ll be trying to catch a glimpse of the same little white balls as thousands of other eager fans.
Of all the things you take with you to the tournament, make sure patience is one of them. Patience with how long the game takes and with the people around you. You need to be quiet during play and accept the rules of the game.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
You’ll need to be respectful of those around you and of the game itself. If you are watching from a standing position make sure you’re not blocking the view of spectators who are sitting.
If you are watching and the ball comes towards you, get out of the way. You’re welcome to help search for a lost ball if you’re asked to but don’t ever touch a golf ball without permission to do so from officials.
A Time and a Place
There is a time and a place for everything at golf tournaments. You can learn most of the information you need regarding this in or around the clubhouse. There will be postings of which golfers are teeing off from which holes as well as updates throughout the day.
There are clearly marked places where using your cellphone is acceptable and where it’s okay to ask for autographs. Don’t engage in these activities on the course or in areas that require quiet.
To Bring or Not To Bring
Everyone loves to take pictures of the memories they make and places they’ve been but it’s important you don’t interrupt or distract from the tournament. Cameras are only permitted on practice days.
Cellphones, laptops and other devices are not permitted on tournament days for most events. They may be confiscated or you’ll be turned away if you try to enter with one so it’s best to leave them at home.
If you are allowed to enter with a cellphone or other device be sure to put them on silent and not to cause any distractions with them.
If you want a comfortable place to sit and are planning on staking out a spot for the day then you may want to bring a chair with you. It will have to be folding and cannot have arm rests on it.
Bags, Purses, and Backpacks
You’ll probably have a few things you want to take and you don’t want to have to juggle them but don’t pack a big bag to carry everything but the kitchen sink. You won’t be allowed to take bags bigger than 10 x 10 x 12 inches into the Masters or other big tournaments.
Relax and Have Fun Watching Golf
Watching golf in person can be a great way to spend a day and attending the Masters is an experience like no other. If you follow our guide for watching golf, you can sit back, relax and enjoy your time.