By Matthew Lewis, Contributing Reporter
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA – The 2021 Honda Classic plans to welcome golfing spectators once again to PGA National Resort & Spa March 15-21st. Organizers say for the health and well-being for all involved in the tournament and the local community, that daily attendance will be limited.
While the Honda Classic was named the Most Fan-First event of 2019 by the PGA TOUR, attendance records will not be broken in 2021. Tournament officials say they are building a unique and first-class fan experience, provided in a safe and responsible manner while continuing to make a significant charitable impact throughout South Florida.
There will be a re-imagined Bear Trap on the 17th hole with social distancing guidelines. The 18th hole footprint will be different too, but there will be fans waiting there on Sunday when the new Honda champion is crowned.
“We are being conservative in our planning as we continue to navigate the pandemic,” Honda Classic Executive Director Kenneth R. Kennerly said. “We want to do everything possible to make sure that The Honda Classic will be a great experience and continue to make a significant charitable impact on the thousands of children in our community whose lives we are able to enhance every year.”
The Bear Trap, which usually winds around the 16th green and 17th hole tee box area, is being transformed into three sections with limited seating in socially-distanced blocks of two and four seats.
Advance reservations for The Bear Trap and other shared and private hospitality areas are now being taken through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 561-799-4638. General admission ticket sales will begin at a later date.
The traditional Pro-Am events, essential for the golf tournament’s charitable endeavors, will be contested during the week, with amateur participants being tested prior to those competitions.
In other words, the show will go on, with tournament officials building a number of contingency plans. Final details on all areas will be announced in the near future.
“With so much uncertainty across all categories of the business, we have really focused on prioritizing flexibility with our site planning,” Tournament Director Andrew George said. “We’ve worked collaboratively with our vendors to delay the start of construction.”
Adding, “We are frequently updating our health & safety protocols as we receive new guidance or best practices. And our hospitality venues will be strategically altered to provide a first-class entertainment option while facilitating social distancing.”
Protocols will be put in place that include the mandatory use of facial coverings, social distancing and other health and safety measures. All permanent and temporary structures will have complete daily sanitation along with all golf carts and vehicles used in tournament operations.
Organizers say all interactions from start to finish including ticketing, admissions, merchandise, and concessions will be contactless and safety measures regarding food preparation and distribution will be in place.
In late June, the PGA put into place stringent pre-tournament COVID-19 testing. Players and caddies are required to return a negative “in-market test” before being allowed into facilities at all, and that’s after being tested before traveling to the tournament.