The People’s Open is taking place January 27 thru February 2 and there is still time to secure a flight for the greatest, greenest show on grass. We had a sneak peek on Media Day at the amazing Waste Management Phoenix Open venue, playing while workers were hammering out the finishing touches on immense structures to accommodate arguably the most attendees on the PGA Tour. The TPC Stadium Course is in pristine shape with the pro tees roped off for preservation of the driving ground.
16 is always a thrill to play, now fully encompassed by stands. As we made our birdies, we could just imagine the roar of the tournament crowd. Had the stands been full though, the pressure might have been too much and then the crowd would boo. That’s the culture and tradition of 16 where sponsor sections run $50k or $150k for the new lower level spots with even more comfy chairs. General public seating has also been expanded at 16 and other areas to ensure while driving additional sponsor dollars that the tournament is balanced with The People’s Open philosophy. Number ten will have a new Kiva open to anyone for prime golf viewing. El Rancho that debuted last year has been doubled in space and renamed the Ridge. An area of 36k feet at the highest elevation on course spans several holes for general spectating. Additional over seed has sprouted grass for family picnics on the lawn below while a drink rail lines the Ridge. Meet us there.
Alongside the popular Greenskeeper area of the 18th fairway, a high view with a high price tag is available in the new Scorekeeper section. The Patriots Post across the way featured a Humvee for fun photo ops last year. Tournament Chairman Tim Woods, a Commissioned Officer and Black Hawk Helicopter Pilot in Command in the Arizona Army National Guard who completed two combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom shared that this year a Huey helicopter will be landed on a pad for exploration. Veterans and their families receive free entry to the tournament and enjoy food and beverage at the Patriots Post. Anyone can Instagram from the Huey. Meet us there.
There is nothing sexy about the Waste Management name, but their business model and ecological impact is very impressive. For six years they have maintained a zero-waste event. Every day large crews sweep up the mess of many thousands of golf revelers and creatively, scientifically manage to utilize every bit of it. Waste Management is the main sponsor and tries to educate the world on recycling which is costly. But we can all manage that cost by minimizing the sorting task and increasing the amount of materials which can successfully be repurposed. According to Waste Management, it’s simple. Place in the recycle bin clean glass and plastic bottles and cans, cardboard/paper and nothing else. Anything else is a contaminant. Last year tournament wine bottles were recycled into glasses etched with the WMPO logo. This year they will do the same with Tito’s since there is a bit of vodka consumption on the course.
The cleaning crew will work around the clock as the after party in the Coors Light Birds Nest does not end early. The Birds Nest is the annual place to be and be seen with a lineup for 2020 including Dierks Bentley/Austin Burke, Miranda Lambert/Cody Johnson, G-Eazy, KYGO and special guests. Pick your music and join the fashion show that floods through the gates.
While the tournament is a blast for players, volunteers and attendees, the real beneficiaries are the many charities gifted through sponsor donations and revenues derived from the wise plans of the Thunderbirds and The People’s Open. To date they have raised over $146m, over $81m of that since Waste Management started sponsoring and Tim Woods believes they will blow through the $160m cumulative mark this year. That’s a lot to be proud of.
Whether you make the tournament or not, the Scottsdale area is a golf mecca not to be ignored. Check in to the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, beside the TPC Stadium course and relax by the pool with peach faced lovebirds flitting in the palms. Indulge in the Well and Being Spa; select from five distinct dining venues.
Many resort and hotel options abound. Mountain Shadows Resort at the base of Camelback Mountain is a great alternative for golfers with trendy accommodations. This new boutique hotel replaces a former Marriot where we enjoyed a long history of golf, corporate gatherings and art auctions. Today art is key to the resort’s ambience as a gallery of local artists are showcased while the elevator walls preserve history with a collage of photos including Lucille Ball waving her sunglasses from a golf cart. The Short course on property is a fun, affordable, quick golf round. Over 200 more courses are within driving distance including OB Sports and Troon Golf venues – The Phoenician, The Boulders South and North, Talking Stick and Longbow with Red Mountain views to name a few. Fountain Hills offers the twin warriors, Saguaro and Cholla of We-Ko-Pa and the elevation challenges of Sun Ridge Canyon and Eagle Mountain. www.experiencescottsdale.com and www.visitphoenix.com provide travel guidance galore. Meet us in the Valley of the Sun or it’s better to come on your own as we might be traveling to scout for more great golf destinations. Happy trails in 2020!
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