Golf fans have different approaches to watching tournaments in person.
Some like to hook up with their favorite players and follow them around the course. Others like to pick a prime viewing spot and watch each group come through. And others try a hybrid of those, following a group for a while, settling down when they find a good spot and then moving on to catch up with their favorite.
Whatever the favored approach, most fans at the American Family Insurance Championship end up visiting the area around the tees at Nos. 10 and 14 and the greens at 15 and 18. And the largest number of all jam the space around the par-3 No. 17 party hole.
With that in mind, tournament organizers are working on ways to make those areas even more fan friendly this year.
“We’re working on the areas between 10 tee and 14 green, 15 tee and 18 green,'' tournament director Nate Pokrass said. "That is an extremely popular area for all the fans, so we’re working on enhancing our bleachers and video board access, things of that nature.”
But the biggest area of continued development is the 17th hole, which has become the most popular spot of all. This year there will be additional bleachers, creating more of a horseshoe around the green. The Leinie’s Lodge also will be expanded to accommodate more fans, as will the hospitality area behind the green for tournament sponsors.
“It’s been a popular area from a hospitality standpoint and for fans, so we’re looking to create a good environment down there,” Pokrass said. “Both the public and the sponsors should have a pretty expansive space and it should be even more fun.”
Schedule of events
Monday: Tournament qualifier at Legend of Bergamont Golf Course in Oregon.
Tuesday: The First Tee of South Central Wisconsin Skills Challenge (invitation only); Pro-Am tournament pairings party (invitation only).
Wednesday: Pro-Am tournament (closed to public).
Thursday: Pro-Am tournament (closed to public).
Friday: Gates, will call and ticket office opens to the public, 7 a.m.; American Family Children’s Hospital ceremonial first shot, 8:30 a.m.; tournament Round 1, first tee time, 8:50 a.m.; Toby Keith concert at Breese Stevens Field, 6 p.m., with opening acts Krystal Keith and 38 Special.
Saturday: Gates open to public 8:30 a.m.; tournament Round 2, first tee time 9:50 a.m.; celebrity foursome featuring Brett Favre, Andy North, Toby Keith and Jack Nicklaus in nine-hole scramble, teeing off from 10th hole after the final group, approximately 2:30 p.m.; Music in the Alliant Energy Pavilion, 5 p.m.
Sunday: Gates open to public 8:30 a.m.; tournament round 3, first tee time 10 a.m.; trophy ceremony following completion of play.
General admission: $25, valid any day.
Champion general admission (50 and older): $20.
Youth general admission (15 and under): Free with purchase of adult ticket.
Free parking will be at off-site locations. Fans will be shuttled to championship’s front entrance. Off-site parking will begin at Verona High School and Badger Ridge Middle School. When those lots are full, fans will be diverted to other locations including Epic, Redden Soccer Complex and West Madison Bible Church. Electronic signs will provide directions.
Total $2 million, with winner’s share of $300,000.
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Proceeds from the tournament will be donated through the Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation to the American Family Children’s Hospital and other local charities. The tournament has raised more than $4.7 million for charities in its first three years.
Players will visit Hy-Vee Autograph Alley between the 9th and 18th greens before or after play to sign autographs. Autographs are not allowed on the course during tournament competition.
Cameras and cell phones
Spectators are allowed to carry mobile devices on the course with the volume on silent or vibrate. Devices may be used for video, audio and photos for personal use only.
The list of items prohibited at the tournament includes:
• Noise-producing electronic devices.
• Bags or backpacks larger than 8x8x8 inches.
• Signs, posters and banners.
• Cases and/or covers (such as chair or umbrella covers).
• Televisions and radios.
• Food and beverages.
• Containers and coolers.
• Metal-spiked golf shoes.
Friday: 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Golf Channel.
Saturday: 2-5 p.m., Golf Channel.
Sunday: 2-5 p.m., Golf Channel.