By Murray Gleffe
HOBART-Keeping a golf course operable with an LPGA event set for a week away can be challenging.
Multiple bathrooms, concession stands, first aid stations, seating, and towers have to be brought onto the course to make it a reality.
International Management Group (tournament managing partner) has again taken the role of getting temporary structures in place prior to the tournament start.
Rounds of golf are still being played by the general public and will be available through Friday, June 29.
However, golfers need to realize that while playing a round, set up will take place leading up to the event.
“Our main goal is to accommodate our title sponsor (Oneida Nation) and our spectators,” said Jon Paul Genet, tournament director of the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic. “We meet and discuss the map of the course and where we think everything should go. Our main compounds are situated to the east of the clubhouse where we were last year. It’s a good location. We want the people to be able to see good golf shots, eat the food and drink the beverage, and enjoy everything the event has to offer. We sent out a survey after last year’s tournament to all the patrons to get feedback on what could be improved and what they enjoyed. If there is an overwhelming need on one particular idea, we listen and make the change.”
Sporting events rely on spectators to not only generate revenue but to provide excitement for the players.
The Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic will have numerous options available for fans once they arrive at the gate and check in.
Fans can roam the course, sit behind one tee box and watch their favorite player tee off, or enjoy the action from behind the last two holes where The Deck at 17 presented by Festival Foods will be offered behind 17th green, and Skywoman Suite seating behind the final hole. The latter two will be offered as an upgrade, not part of the general admission ticket.
“We think our ticket options this year provide everything a fans wants,”said Genet. “We are very excited to have Festival Foods as a partner on the pivotal penultimate hole. Additionally, we will once again have our Military & Veterans Pavilion sponsored by OGEC located behind the 14th green. That is a change from last year where it was positioned left of the 16th green. We think making the change will ease the congestion and make their experience even better with the new location. We will be providing multi-seat vans that will transport the military personnel out to the venue. All active duty and retired military will be admitted in free to the event”
The Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic is not without a shortage of sponsors in its second year.
Oneida Nation will again showcase its heritage, culture, and traditions in a compound set up directly after you pass through the main gate.
Another top tier sponsor, Prevea Health will have employees positioned throughout the course to provide first aid and water to those who need it.
Badger State Brewing will provide four different craft beer options at concession stands and additional styles inside the clubhouse for those who have access during the week.
Water Joe, Bay Bank, Oneida Casino and Cellcom are four additional sponsors that provide hydration, financial needs, gaming, and phone service in Northeast Wisconsin.
“We know our main title sponsor will provide a great product not only for the week but for the entire calendar year in Wisconsin,” said Genet. “Obviously everybody wants their name or billboard off the 18th green or back nine location come Sunday. We do our best to accommodate our sponsors throughout the course at great vantage points. We want our fans to be able to visually see the product they are providing to make our tournament the best that it can be.”
The Golf Channel will once again provide more than 10 hours of live coverage. Thursday and Friday the action will be broadcast from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 4:30-7:30 p.m.
“To have main groups featured in the first two rounds, and then back nine prime-time coverage on the weekend is exciting for everybody involved,” said Genet. “ They do a tremendous job at positioning the cameras where they need to go to have the best overall picture available to the viewer tuning in. In all, they will have 15 towers or spider cams on the course. Some will obviously be available on holes that run side by side each other.”
Because Wisconsinites like their food and drink this year’s concession menus will offer more options.
“We work with a vendor company that work multiple events throughout the nation,” said Genet. “We partnered with Bernatello’s this year and will be offering pan pizza at a couple of locations. In addition, we are very fortunate that Festival Foods has customized a quarter pound OktoberFest brat that will be sold at all of the concession stands. Chips, cookies, granola bars, hamburgers, and soda are additional items that will be offered as well.”
With the full field set to be released this week, and a number of the top players having offered a verbal commitment, the anticipation is there for 2018 to have stronger attendance than 2017.
“We feel like with a strong field in place this year, it will draw the fans,” said Genet. “Once the fan sees the tournament field next week, my hope is that they will automatically be excited and purchase either a ticket on-line or at the gate. We had a good field last year. However, right now we are on pace at getting around 80 to 85 percent of the top 20 players in the world to play at Thornberry Creek at Oneida. That will make it a great field. It is exciting.”
For more information on how to purchase tickets for the tournament go to thornberrycreeklpgaclassic.com/ticket-info/
“There are not many places you go where a trophy and the grounds are blessed by the people of the Oneida Nation,” said Genet.
Note: Former number one player in the world Lydia Ko has committed to the tournament. A preview of the field and tournament predictions will be included in next week’s feature.