Senior Players Championship draws crowd to Fox Chapel Golf Club
As thousands flock to the Fox Chapel Golf Club this week to rub elbows with PGA greats, there is plenty of allure off the course, as well.
The Constellation Senior Players Championship runs through Sunday, with 81 of golf's biggest names vying for a $2.7 million purse. Spectators who take a break from the action can enjoy golf-themed activities, upgraded concessions and other perks that have transformed the club along Fox Chapel Road into a festival-atmosphere outside the ropes.
Katelyn DiCristofano, tournament services manager, said a major draw this year is the Heinz Birdies for the Brave Patriot's Outpost.
“Any veteran or current military person can get into the tournament free, but they also have a tent where they can get snacks, water and relax,” she said. “It's on the 18th hole, so it's a great location to watch the play.”
Crews were busy last week putting the finishing touches on the hospitality tent, a large gathering area that faces the hilltop club and provides a welcome bit of shade for fans.
Heinz came on board this year to sponsor the PGA Tour Charities program, which has raised millions of dollars since 2006 for groups that improve the lives of veterans, as well as military families.
Created by golfer Phil Mickelson, the program originally was intended to support troops injured during combat. Mickelson donated money for each birdie or eagle throughout that first season to specialized veterans' services.
It has expanded now to benefit eight national groups that encompass the needs of military members, including Homes for Our Troops and Military Warriors Support.
Anyone interested in complimentary military admission can visit www.pgatour.com for verification and to download a voucher.
With up to 10,000 visitors a day to the golf club, organizers are trying to alleviate any traffic congestion and are offering free parking and shuttles from Pittsburgh Mills, along Route 28.
Premium parking at Shady Side Academy is available for $20 a day. Space is limited. Anyone interested can purchase a pass at www.pgatour.com.
Senior Champions Tour executive director Joe Rotellini said preparation for the event was on track. Organizers were busy over the weekend roping off the course and meticulously marking the boundary lines.
The weather was expected to play along this week too, with temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s and minimal chances of rain.
Rotellini said he expects fans will enjoy the Dick's Sporting Goods Spectator Village, an interactive tent where visitors can mimic their favorite competitor.
“They're going to have a swing net where you can test different clubs and a putting challenge where you can test your luck,” DiCristofano said. “We've moved it to the 17th hole this year, which is a great location. It's a par three, so watch it from the tee or the green.”
The gaming tent is surrounded by shaded bleachers and patio seating with umbrellas, creating a “little oasis” to enjoy the competition, she said. There also is an ATM and cellphone charging station, and it is open to all visitors.
DiCristofano outlined some general guidelines for fans who come out to the games. Cellphones must be in silent or vibrate mode and can be used to make calls only in designated areas away from play. Cellphones cannot be used to take videos.
Texting, e-mailing and Internet use are not allowed near play, nor are cameras.
When the Fox Chapel Golf Club hosted the tour stop last year, more than 53,000 spectators turned out. DiCristofano said organizers assessed what worked best and recommended minor changes or “fan enhancements” this year.
“We might have moved some bleachers so they are a little more in the shade or upgraded some of the concessions,” she said. “All these things were done to make sure fans got the best experience.”
Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- O’Hara woman pens book; tells story of more than 30 years teaching
- Tax rate stays put in O’Hara
- Route 910 reopening eases Indiana Twp. traffic issues
- O’Hara sewage pump station funding approved
- Providing officials tablet computers could benefit Aspinwall
- Indiana Twp. OK’s budget; tax rate holds
- Aspinwall seeks new trash collection deal
- Chabad Fox Chapel to close out Hanukkah with Fun Fest event
- Retired lieutenant colonel excited to be home in Indiana Twp. for holidays
- O’Hara woman offers to help Sharpsburg handle stray cats
- Fox Chapel Area children shine in Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s ‘The Nutcracker’