On a picture perfect day for golf, the BMW Championship teed off today for its week-long tournament (September 14-September 20) at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Illinois.
The crowd was small compared to what it will be later in the week but the excitement and anticipation was large--making it the perfect day to scope out the grounds, check out the viewing areas, concessions, walk the course and catch a bit of the pro-am.
The first BMW Championship that took place at Conway Farms was in 2013. Instantly, it became a fan favorite.
Before the 2013 championship Conway, a new-ish private club (1991) with an old money vibe, was known among the golfing community-but not so much with the everyday golfer.
That all changed in 2013, when fans flocked to the course--over 134,000 of them--one of the highest numbers PGA officials have seen in years--a number that could have been overwhelming for a town of less than 20,000. But not for Lake Forest. Not only were officials impressed with the numbers, they were impressed with the way Conway Farms handled the event.
So--now they're back for 2015 and will be returning again in 2017. What was very good two years ago is promising to be even better this time around.
According to WGA Senior Vice President of Tournaments Vince Pellegrino, “Improving on an already great fan experience is always a top priority,” noting that, "the enhancements are designed to help ensure that every guest who passes through the gates at the BMW Championship has a memorable, first-class experience.”
So here's what fans can expect in 2015.
General Spectator Viewing and Seating
Seating on the 18th green, which in my opinion is the best spot to view the action, has been doubled for general admission spectators. Additional public viewing areas have been built or expanded on holes 1, 2, 7, 9, 10, 17 and the 18th tee. For putting fanatics, check out the 7th hole which has the tiniest green on the course, perched up above three deep bunkers with a very tough recovery from behind that includes a newly installed bunker. Out of 24 golfers that we watched today only 4 landed on the green when they were under 100 yards from the hole. Of course, this was a pro-am--hopefully the pro's will do better.
The BMW Owners’ Pavilion has also been expanded for 2015, allowing for more BMW owners to enjoy their private, air-conditioned space that is located between the 16th green and 17th tee box. BMW owners need only to show their key to gain access.
Other private seating areas are:
The 1899 Seats. This is a single-day, all-inclusive ticket option that allows entry into a shared hospitality venue on the 15th hole in addition to the grounds. Spectators there will have reserved seats available throughout the day as well as unlimited food and beverage. Tickets for these seats are only available through a WGA member club or WGA Director.
Green Coat Club members can partake in a premium food and beverage menu with full table service, plush indoor or outdoor seating with panoramic views of the course. Green Coat Club patrons also will have the opportunity to purchase an exclusive line of tournament merchandise not offered for sale to the general public. Only 300 of these weekly tickets will be sold.
Construction of wider walkways should make things less crowded and easier for spectators to move between holes to follow their favorite players.
Food and Beverage
A bigger "Biergarten" for 2015 features picnic table seating on a lush green lawn with huge video screens for viewing the action. The Biergarten. which has doubled in size from 2013 will also be offering more beverage and food options this year. The Chicago-themed menu will feature Chicago's iconic deep dish pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs and other Windy City favs from Chicago's original Lou Malnati’s. Beer, wine, water and soft drinks will also be available. Concession stands are located throughout the course.
The 12,000 square-foot BMW Experience and fan challenge area features contests and interactive experiences along with a display of a variety of BMW vehicles. There is also a large merchandise area nearby. The area is located by the driving range.
Saturday, September 19
The third round tee times for the 2015 BMW Championship have been rescheduled for 10 a.m.-12:01 p.m. on Saturday, September 19 due to expected inclement weather. Players will be grouped in threesomes and will tee off from holes No. 1 and 10. Gates will open at 9 a.m.
Sunday, September 20
- COMPLIMENTARY PUBLIC PARKING
- BMW OWNER PARKING
- HOSPITALITY (H- LOT) PARKING
- PREFERRED PARKING
Complimentary shuttles will be provided from Six Flags Great America to the main entrance at Conway Farms Golf Club.
DIRECTIONS TO SIX FLAGS GREAT AMERICA: Exit from I-94 onto IL-132 E/W Grand Avenue.
VOLUNTEER PARKING (V-LOT)
Volunteer parking will remain unchanged.
Outside vendor parking is available for $30 at the corner of Everett and Waukegan Rds. in Lake Forest at St. Pat's Church parking lot. The area is across the the street from the West Lake Forest Metra station where drivers can catch a free shuttle to Conway Farms.
Complimentary shuttle service will also be provided to and from the BMW Championship from the two Lake Forest Metra stations: Milwaukee District/North Line and Union Pacific/North Line. Spectators can walk, bike to or be dropped off at the Metra stations to take the shuttles to the course.
Tickets and admission
Admission to the tournament will be capped at 27,000 spectators each day. For more information, click here.
Click here for a close-up look with 4 of the PGA young superstars battling for the FedEx Cup.
In and around Lake Forest
If you're looking for something to do in addition to the BMW Championship, check out "Show Me Chicago's" suggestions from 2013--not much has changed since then, the restaurants are all still in business, the beach is still there and the library is still hosting their book sale--only now it's their 4oth annual sale.
About Conway Farms Golf Club
Conway Farms Golf Club opened for play on August 3, 1991. The Tom Fazio award-winning course sits on 209 acres in Lake Forest, Illinois, and is designed around the traditions of Scottish links golf. The origins of Conway Farms Golf Club trace back to three Lake Forest families whose love for golf was exceeded only by their foresight. Their vision for a first rate golf club began with the purchase in 1956 of a farm straddling a stretch of old Conway Road, thus giving rise to the name Conway Farms. The club is dedicated to the protection and preservation of the game, encouraging walking, fast play and the strong support of Championship golf.
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