Take special care when purchasing golf tournament tickets from brokers and other sources.
Golf fans have the opportunity to join the world's best golfing professionals on the tournament circuit by obtaining the year's top golf tournament tickets. Late winter through the end of fall comprises the regular and extended tournament season of the Professional Golf Association of America (PGA) and the U.S. Golf Association (USGA). Depending on the tournament and the host organization, tickets can vary in availability and price.
Some of the year's top golf tournaments include:
Golf tournament tickets to the Augusta National Golf Club Masters Tournament are often the most desired and most difficult of all the seasons tickets to obtain. The Masters annual tournament is held every April in Augusta, Georgia, and is viewed in broadcast by millions of golf enthusiasts. The tournament is a world-class, week-long competition, with competitors playing for the coveted green sports jacket and millions in purse money. The Masters has made household names out of many golfers, so it is no wonder that tickets are so hard to come by.
Tickets are officially available through the Augusta National waitlist, but once those are sold, they may be available through other pricey avenues. Aside from the official source, private ticket brokers are the easiest and most reliable route to Masters tickets. While large brokers are more likely to sell in large quantities, smaller brokers are likely to sell just one or two tickets. Tournament tickets are sold in the form of badges that allow one admission per badge. Online auctions are another source for tickets, although less reliable than licensed brokers. Fans may stand a chance of buying tickets from the many scalpers that line the streets surrounding the venue. Although this is legal by GA State Legislature, the Augusta National Golf Club retains a strict policy against scalped and illegally re-sold tickets. Scalped tickets can be voided by tournament entry officials.
Tickets to USGA-sponsored Open tournaments are available to USGA members on an application basis only. Applications received during a six-week window are selected at random for the right to purchase a limited number of tickets. A general public application period follows the USGA member application period, and there is a drawing for the same right to purchase tickets. Tickets have sold out for every year of competition to date. Private brokers also make tickets available to the general public.
The PGA of America provides fans links to obtain tickets to tournaments on their tour schedule. Tickets are sold by the individual tournament's sponsor as well as by private brokers.
Fans who purchase golf tournament tickets should confirm that their tickets are for the tournament rounds and not the practice rounds held in the days directly before the competition. This is especially true when purchasing from a broker or online auctioneer. While the lower-cost practice round tickets are easier to come by, and may be something a fan would like to purchase, it can be a cruel surprise to find out that recently purchased tickets are for practice rounds instead of competition rounds, particularly if practice rounds have already ended. Buyers should always check the date on tickets before purchase. Tickets should also be purchased from reputable dealers, as counterfeit ticket scams are increasingly common.
While some of the annual golf tournaments remain at the same location year after year, many of the top tournaments vary locations on a rotation. Diehard fans should consider travel and housing expenses when purchasing tickets. Such expenses can often be higher than usual rates because of an expected influx of fans and travelers at that time and location. It is not unheard of for local residents to rent their private homes to tournament ticket-holders for a hefty weekly fee, especially after area hotel spaces have been sold out. In addition, as crowds of up to 40,000 can be expected for many tournaments, transportation logistics must be considered. Since many host golf courses cannot accommodate parking for such large crowds, fans should research alternatives, such as satellite parking with shuttle services. Fans should also plan for increased automotive traffic during and after tournaments and expect increased waits at restaurants, bars and other entertainment venues.