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 In HearSway

Maybe you haven’t heard, but a national golf championship is coming to Southern Pines in less than a week — the 77th U.S. Women’s Open.

Preparations are underway at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club.

First: Yes, this is a big deal. 156 players will be playing for a total purse of $10 million, with the winner claiming $1.8 first place prize money.  Thousands of fans will descend on Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club to watch. Some of both have already arrived.

Practice rounds begin Tuesday, May 31 and Championship Rounds kick off Thursday, June 2 and conclude Sunday, June 5. Play begins at 7 a.m. each day.

Here’s what you should do:

1. Expect traffic delays.

Common sense tells us that more visitors = more cars. There’s also a major road closure: N.C. 22 (Central Drive) will be closed between Pee Dee Road and the Midland Road Traffic Circle from 7 a.m. Monday, May 30 through the conclusion of the tournament on Sunday, June 5.

  • Heightened security measures are also in place. The Southern Pines, Aberdeen and Pinehurst police departments are working in conjunction with the Moore County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina Highway Patrol, SBI, and ALE. Southern Pines will use off-duty officers to work 15 security posts at the course, and the State Highway Patrol will be responsible for 15 different traffic posts in the area of the course. 

General parking for the U.S. Women’s Open championship will be at Sandhills Community College, with a shuttle bringing fans to the course Tuesday through Sunday.

2. Go. Yes, Even if You Don’t Know Anything About Golf.

It’s a championship, right in your backyard! Put on some sunscreen and go soak up the atmosphere. Walk the course. Buy some merch. Drink some beer. Have a freakin’ summer.

  • Visit the Amex Food Village, which will be stocked with drinks, dranks and food. You’ll also get a front-row seat to jumbo screen with live NBC coverage of the championship. Bonus: Take advantage of happy hour after 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 3 and Friday, June 4.
  • Shop the merchandise tent from 7 a.m. until an hour after play concludes each day.
  • Stop by the 4D Fan Experience Powered by Cisco, where 90 different cameras will capture your swing on a video that you can take home, analyze, and share with your friends so they can all laugh at you.
  • Take advantage of complimentary WiFi, powered by Cisco.

3. Take Your Kids.

Kimberly Erusha, USGA Staff, showing nine year old Catherine Andino how a stimp meter is used to measure the speed of the greens during Junior Day at the 118th U.S. Open. (Copyright USGA/Jason Miczek)

At this U.S. Women’s Open championship, little fans are a big priority — and kids under 18 get free admission with every adult ticket (you can bring in four kids for every adult ticket purchased). Put them in a white hat or shirt, bring a sharpie, and let them collect autographs.

  • There are designated viewing zones for kids on the 1st and 18th tee, and the 18th green. The 18th green also has a selfie zone.
  • In the fan zone, kids of all ages can take advantage of chipping and putting, full swing drills, an exercise station and arts and crafts. Those 18 and under can get details on a 9-hole scavenger hunt, to be returned to the merchandise tent for a prize.

4. Download the U.S. Women’s Open Championship App.

You can track your favorite players, find amenities and receive exclusive, on-site alerts throughout the championship.

5. Read the A-Z Women’s Open Fan Guide.

If you have questions, you’ll find all the answers here, from gate times and autograph policies to where you should and shouldn’t stand — and what you should and shouldn’t post to social media. Bookmark it.

6. And, Study Some Course Material.

The U.S. Women’s Opens at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club have produced two World Golf Hall of Fame inductees — Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb — and a third competitor (Cristie Kerr) who is on her way to joining their ranks. Here’s who to watch: 

  • Jin Young Ko. The two-time major champion, ranked No.1 in the world, might be the most consistent – man or woman – player in golf. Fresh off two top-10 finishes, she’s claimed six titles since last July. 
  • Nelly Korda. Nelly claimed her first major in Atlanta last summer, and is now ranked No. 2 in the world. 
  • Yuka Saso. Last June, Yuka became the first player from the Philippines to claim the championship, matching two-time champion Inbee Park to the day (19 years, 11 months, 17 days) as the youngest winner in U.S. Women’s Open history.

BONUS: Buy Some Tickets for the U.S. Women’s Open.

You know what to do. Click here.

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