photo courtesy of the Houston Open
As the golf season comes into full swing, the golf world turns its attention to the Houston Open. The Houston Open, a mainstay on the PGA Tour since 1946, is being played March 26-April 1, 2018. The tournament has served as the warm-up to the Masters Tournament since 2007, as it is the last tournament before the season’s first major. The Houston Open traditionally draws a strong competitive field of world class golfers and 2018 will be no different. Heavy hitters like Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler will all be contesting the Houston Open. Standing in their way will be Golf Club of Houston’s Tournament course. The course was designed by Rees Jones with help from PGA Tour veteran David Toms, and is noted for how well it mirrors the conditions of Augusta National. The course uses natural wetlands and lakes in a secluded wooded course, and includes the light rough and fast green speeds common at the Masters. The immaculate conditions, strong field and challenging course make the Houston Open one of the PGA Tour’s premium events.
The tournament is organized by the Houston Golf Association (HGA), and together with the Houston Open has raised over $70 million since it was first contested in 1946. The HGA partners with various charities that focus primarily on helping children and their families. The First Tee of Greater Houston is the primary charitable partner with the HGA, and seeks to use the game of golf to teach kids important life lessons. The program is in 488 area schools and reaches nearly 350,000 students each year. Money is collected from the net proceeds of the tournament, and also through the popular Birdies for Charity program used at other PGA Tour events. Using pledges, local charities can raise donations through the Birdies for Charity program based upon the total number of birdies made at the tournament. Since 1999, Birdies for Charity has raised more than $6 million for local charities.
Practice rounds will take place Monday through Wednesday, in addition to a Monday Pro-Am Competition and Wednesday’s Grand Pro-Am Competition. The proper tournament will kick off with the first round on Thursday and will finish up with the championship round on Sunday. Tickets can be purchased through the Houston Open’s official website. There are many different options tailored to fit the needs of spectators. Fans can buy a “Good-Any-Day” grounds pass good for any day Wednesday-Sunday for $45. If you know what day you want to attend, you can get a grounds admission for Wednesday or Thursday for $35, while a grounds pass for Friday, Saturday or Sunday will cost you $40. For spectators looking to enjoy the tournament in a relaxed atmosphere, fans can purchase access to to Club 16, a skybox and lounge behind the 16th green with views of the 16th and 17th holes. These can be purchased for single days for $109. For those wanting a more exclusive event, the Greenskeeper is an open air skybox on the 17th hole that includes food and beverage during play. Greenskeeper tickets are $225 Thursday and $275 Friday, Saturday or Sunday. First responders, active-duty and retired military personnel can receive complimentary tickets with access to Gallery Furniture Heroes Outpost on the 16th tee box included.
For fans who can’t attend the Houston Open in person, the entire tournament will be broadcast on the Golf Channel and NBC. Golf Channel will handle all of the first 2 rounds, 4-7pm ET on Thursday and Friday and also provide coverage Saturday and Sunday 2-3pm ET. NBC will hold primetime coverage of the third round and championship round Saturday and Sunday 3-6pm ET. Coverage will also be available through PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM satellite radio and streaming online on the PGA Tour’s website.