Once Spring Break comes and goes, I can count on two things: 1. A super slow April, and 2. An extremely busy May! When I sit down to fill out our family calendar for May, we never have a free weekend! Mother's Day and Memorial Day are holidays for everyone, but in our home, golf takes over our weekends in May with the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth and my favorite, the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Four Seasons Dallas in Las Colinas! For the past six years we've been attending the Byron Nelson golf tournament in Las Colinas, TX. This year will be a special year for the tournament as it is the last at TPC Four Seasons in Las Colinas! Always a good time, I'm looking back at my experience at the tournament over the past few years!!
My first year at the Byron was five months into my relationship with Matt! Growing up in a family that loved golf you would think that I would've attended a professional golf tournament prior to this, but that was not the case! This was my first year, and probably one of the most fun of the six I've experienced!!
Named after golf legend, Byron Nelson, the tournament is now the ninth longest running tournament on the PGA tour schedule. For Dallas residents, this tournament is one of the biggest social events of the Spring. Over the weekend, thousands will pour into the venue to watch golf, and equally as fun, watch the wide range of people in attendance! After spending the past several years attending the tournament I've learned a few things:
1) It is HOT in Texas in May. Being an Arkansas girl, I know what hot summers are like, but y'all it is SO much hotter in Texas than it is back home. It is a different kind of hot. When they say, "hotter than hell," they mean it!! I remember wearing a short little dress and thankfully flip flops my first year. While the flip flops were a good decision, the dress was not! I didn't consider that I would be sitting down for part of the time or that there would be TV cameras everywhere! Thank goodness for the paper fans they passed out! My sister-in-law and I had to hold them to prevent accidentally flashing the players or cameras while sitting next to the 18th hole watching golfers come in! A maxi dress, shorts, or a romper would be a much friendlier outfit for the course.
2) This isn't your typical golf tournament environment. When a lot of people think of golf they think of tradition, seriousness, and a calm, quiet setting. The Byron, I learned, is known for its causal vibe. From the moment you enter, you are greeted by a giant pavilion and stage. During the day, the tent is home to a variety of beer gardens and frozen drink stands. Once the play is done for the day, the tent and stage turn into a full fledged concert/party!! If you are a people watcher, the Byron is gold!! Every Dallas stereotype you can imagine is present. You have your spectators that are truly there for the golf, but more than not you will see a slew of 20 somethings in 4" heels and tiny dresses. They are definitely there for sport, but it isn't golf!
3) VIP/Private tents badges are the way to go. Our first year there we had standard tickets. We walked the course, bought our bucket of beer, found a nice spot on the 18th hole and watched the players come through. It was awesome!! The second year, we were given free VIP tickets which included access to a series of tents that served food and drinks, and most importantly had NICE portapotties. That seems ridiculous, but y'all at the Byron they only have portapotties, which makes sense because you are on a golf course. The tents; however, have the upgraded version that are air conditioned and actually flush and have a sink. I can not handle a portapotty, so tent life is a must! Tents are also nice because they give you the option to sit in a shaded and cooled area with seats which is especially good on days when the weather is too hot or too rainy to be out in the elements.
The past couple of years we've been invited to a private party on the course which is my favorite way to experience the Byron of the three. We have a friend whose company holds a private party at a house that overlooks the course. They serve food, drinks, and have an actual bathroom in their pool house for guests to use!! Two years ago, as a very large pregnant lady, this was golden!!
4) Most importantly, there are LEGIT golfers at the Byron! Having attended the Canadian Open and the US Open, two seemingly larger tournaments on the PGA tour, I never expected the tournament in my city to host the same big names, but it definitely does! Over the years we've been able to watch some of the greats up close like Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Matt Kucher, Sergio Garcia, and hometown favorite Jordan Spieth! Last year Bill Murray was there. Y'all, BILL MURRAY!
One of my favorite people on the tour isn't even a player anymore, but an announcer, David Feherty!! He is seriously one of my favorites. Y'all, I love him!! When most people are following golfers at the course, I'm following him!
When golfers are done for the day or waiting to tee off, you can often find them at the practice greens or driving range! And while some don't like to be approached, many are open to a young (or old) fan saying hello or snapping a quick photo! Matt was able to have a short conversation with Charlie Hoffman a couple of years ago, who even signed and tossed Matt a ball before leaving the putting greens!!
5) It is ALWAYS a good time! If you are one who doesn't think of golf as a fun spectator sport, I urge you to attend a tournament in person! Though I do love golf, I have attended with friends who do not and everyone always has a great time! The experience of seeing professional athletes in their element at a golf tournament is so different than any other professional sporting event because you are able to get so close to the action. You are literally lining the fairway! It's like a court side seat for everyone in attendance!
My first year I witnessed a gentleman a couple of feet from me get hit in the head with a ball! He was ok, which was important, but then we were only a few feet from the golfer and his next shot! We could hear his caddy giving him yardage and elevation advice before his next shot!! I love it!
And while hot, you can always find shady spots to post up at the tournament. The course is always in great shape! Sitting and watching all of the players come through one hole is my favorite way to watch the tournament!
This year is shaping up to be a rainy weekend for the Byron, but I'm sure it will still be a great and final year at TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas! Next year, the Byron will be moving to the newly created Trinity Forest Golf Club, a links style course less than 10 minutes from downtown Dallas! Though it will be sad for some to say goodbye to the location they've come to love, I know the new course will bring a lot of excitement to the tournament and game of golf next year!
If you go to the Byron Nelson this year, be sure to share your pics with me on Instagram! I'll be sure to post ours as well!