It's the biggest month in golf for North Texas, with the AT&T Byron Nelson (May 16-21), which is played at the TPC Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas and hosted by the Salesmanship Club of Dallas; and the Dean & DeLuca Invitational (May 22-28).
Get tickets to "the Byron" and "the Colonial" online to avoid lines at the Box Office, and read our tips from the pros below. (Active military and veterans receive free daily grounds admission to the Byron Nelson tournament.)
At a press conference following the AT&T Byron Nelson Opening Ceremony, hometown hero Jordan Spieth reminisced about attending the Byron with his father as a kid, and said this year's final run at the TPC Four Seasons was somewhat "bittersweet": This year's AT&T Byron Nelson is a special one, as the Four Seasons, the Byron and the City of Irving are wishing the tournament a fond farewell; with it moving to the new Trinity Forest Golf Course in 2018, this year's event will celebrate 35 years of 35 memorable years of the Byron at the TPC Four Seasons in Las Colinas.
"It's one of the best events of the year," Spieth said. "I'm looking forward to creating the best memories yet this week."
Renamed in 1968 after the tournament’s first winner in 1944, "the Byron" has become one of DFW’s biggest and most anticipated social events in addition to being the PGA tour’s most successful fundraiser, raising more than $143 million for the Momentous Institute's mental health and education programs for children. "The best attribute of the Byron Nelson is the energy," says Dallas-based course consultant and former PGA player Harrison Frazar, adding that convenient parking, great views and "lots of drama close to the clubhouse" also make the event unique and fun for visitors whether they're visiting for one day or multiple days of the tournament.
Local PGA players competing in the back-to-back tournaments include Colonial member Ryan Palmer and of course, 2016 Colonial Champion Jordan Spieth. Coming off the heels of his win at the 2017 Master's, Sergio Garcia will also compete at both tournaments, and will look to defend his 2016 AT&T Byron Nelson title.
Both tournaments are safe and youth-friendly enough to bring the kids and let them roam around, which brings us to our first tip: make it a family affair!
Bring the kids.
Spieth returned to host the Byron’s Under Armour-sponsored Youth Clinic on May 16—one of the tournament’s most beloved traditions. " The Colonial’s Nike Youth Clinic on Sunday, May 22 is also hosted by a PGA pro, during which the first 500 kids will receive a free gift bag and those ages 13-17 can pick up a free one day ticket to the Invitational.
Don't be late. Or better yet, get there early.
At the Four Seasons course, “go where the putting/chipping greens and driving range are,” Frazar says. “Sit there, watch someone hit balls and hear conversations with players and caddies … [to] see how they do what they do.” Attend the Colonial on Wednesday for a more relaxed atmosphere; fans can bring cameras and are more likely to get autographs as players are more accessible, Roberson adds.
Follow the action.
"The real golf fans go next to holes 16-18" of the TPC Four Seasons course, Frazar says. In Fort Worth, the No. 5 hole that runs along the Trinity River is its most famous—and one of the tour’s most challenging. Roberson also recommends the ninth, another water hole near the clubhouse. New in 2016 at the Colonial is the complimentary Ben Hogan Exhibit, which is home to rare photos and memorabilia from "The Hawk" himself. Visitors will also have the opportunity to hold one of the legendary golfer's drivers and putt with one of his putters.
Plan your route.
Frazar encourages fans to research players’ golf styles then “watch their mannerisms on the course, from how they chip and putt to how they carry themselves.” Know tee times beforehand to get a head start—and don't forget the basics: Drink water, wear sunscreen, and bring a hat or umbrella for shade from the Texas heat.
The Colonial has gained notoriety over the years not only for its history and longevity, but “players feel it’s an all-around test of a good golfer,” says Dennis Roberson, Colonial tournament manager. “It’s about hitting all the shots, controlling your ball, putting well ... it’s not just about how far you can hit [the ball].” For spectators—especially first-timers—Roberson says it is easy to walk the entire scenic course within minutes, as there are few elevation changes and several tree-shaded areas throughout. Consequently, you can walk toward the roar of a crowd coming from a certain hole and not miss any excitement. (Despite the Colonial course being private, there are ample public courses for golfers of all levels to enjoy all around Dallas-Fort Worth.)
Secure your real estate.
Bring blankets or fold-up chairs to claim a spot, but have someone hold down the fort or you’ll lose that real estate. Expect lots of drama and excitement near holes 1-3 at the Byron, but expect lots of people, too. With a condensed layout and few elevation changes, fans can easily walk the Colonial course with a player, but bleachers at the No. 9, No. 13, No. 16 and No. 18 allow for seated spectating.
Quench your thirst at the 19th hole.
"Those who go [to the Byron] for the party atmosphere enjoy 17," Frazar says. This year, guests of legal drinking age can purchase a VIP ticket for any day of the tournament that offers access to the Grey Goose 19th Hole Lounge at the No. 17 and No. 18 holes. Here, visitors will enjoy premium cocktails and concessions, plus the opportunity to watch the action on the green from stadium seats or a covered patio.
However, the Pavilion at the Byron—more specifically, the “Pavilion After Dark”—is as much a destination as the tournament itself, with DJs and bands keeping the party going long after the last round Thursday through Sunday (access to the Pavilion is included in a ticket purchase). If you're more a fan of the action and entertainment off the field, the Pavilion is where you'll want to be after play Thursday through Sunday.
The Colonial’s free evening concert series at Frost Park begins after tournament play. Just don’t miss the action at the 13th—”our wild and crazy hole of excitement,” Roberson says. Surrounded by concessions, vendors and an amphitheater of bleachers and skyboxes, the par-3 over water is a homebase for many fans.
For tickets and more information on the AT&T Byron Nelson/Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas, visit www.attbyronnelson.org. For tickets and details about the 70th Dean & Deluca Invitational, visit www.deananddelucainvitational.com