Is this your first golf championship? Want to know all the rules of fan conduct at the U.S. Women’s Open? This is not exactly the place for that (here’s the official guide). But, if you want to hear some tips from fellow Open newbs, this is the place for you.
1. Health and Safety:
Every good Girl Scout knows the basic rules for outdoor fun: bring water, wear sunscreen, dress comfortably, and wear the right shoes. Those rules all apply. Have shoes that rub a little, but think they will be fine? They will not be fine, and you will be forced to acquire a flimsy, standard-issue bandage from a first aid tent that will be flapping on your heels in no time. Ask us how we know. Speaking of feet, how did we never realize how slippery pine straw is? Because it is. You’ve been warned.
- More on hydration: There are water bottle refill stations on the course. A frozen lemonade, found at certain concession stands, is also a great way to cool off. Also, as a volunteer told us, there are no “beer police” — you can take it with you as you enjoy the championship.
- And, on eating: There are several concession stands about, but you might want to bring granola bars or other snacks for the kids. Meat & Greek, Roasted and Toasted, Mas-A-Wrap and Wildfire Wood Fired Pizza and Grill will rotate through the Amex Food Village, which is near the 14th and 12th greens. You can get there easily from a shuttle that leaves from the 9th green.
2. Looking the Part:
The merch tent is fun, but you do not need to purchase a polo. We’ve seen people in dresses, flip-flops (plz refer to item no. 1), and old beer T-shirts. Find something in between business casual and a 3 a.m. run to a big-box store that used to be open 24 hours.
3. Not Embarrassing Yourself:
See Nos. 1 & 2 — but also, pay attention to what people are doing around you. If a bunch of people are stopped on the path, there is a reason. When golfers are preparing to swing, don’t barrel through the crowd and traipse through a bunch of crunchy, loud-af pine straw, or decide it’s the moment to rip open your toddler’s pack of orange fish. You will be shushed. You will receive side eye. If you’re near the green, it’s best to just pretend you’re in a library.
4. Taking a Shuttle:
Parking is at Sandhills Community College, and a 10-minute, air-conditioned shuttle ride brings you to the championship gate. You can also take a shuttle from one side of the course to the other, which will shorten your walk. That’s located near the 9th green. There’s a bathroom on it, if you feel the need to use it and make the ride uncomfortable for everyone else.
5. Following the Game:
If you’re keeping your eye on a particular player, the U.S. Women’s Open app is super helpful for literally keeping track of them. You can view real-time updates of their scores, and rest easy knowing if you need a break you’ll be able to find them via a map of the course that pinpoints their location. Cool, and also just a little creepy. You can walk along with a group of players through their round, or you can pick a nice Par-3, stake out a spot in the shade and watch a few groups come through.
6. Getting Autographs:
If you have a little fangirl or are one yourself, you should know the best place for autographs is after the round is complete. Wait patiently at the score box at the end of the round. Players will review their scores, then come out with sharpies at the ready. If you’re just in it to fill up a flag or oversized golf ball from the merch tent, see when the rounds end on your app and skip around to complete your collection. Gotta catch ’em all!
7. Doing Other Stuff:
If you want to take a break from the action, head over to Fan Central, just beyond the practice putting green at the entrance. You’ll find the blissfully air-conditioned (we can’t stress this enough) merch tent, some rocking chairs in the shade (if you’re lucky enough to score one) and plugs to charge your devices.
You’ll also find:
- A kids’ zone with putting, driving and chipping activities (they’ll whack rubber ducks, which squeak adorably when they hit the ground) + a scavenger hunt with a chance to win a prize
- A tent equipped with cameras that will capture your swing in 4D and give you a video to cringe at for all of eternity.
Behind the 18th green, there is an autograph and selfie zone where players will interact with kids after rounds are complete. If you have little ones who can’t make the walk to the end of a round, this is your ticket.
8. That’s It. Get Your Tickets.
And there you have it. Did we miss something? Tell us about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.