Few sports are more rules-driven than golf. So when members of the Champions Tour tee-off later this month at the Sanford International, they’ll be held to the highest of professional standards. But fans watching the players at Minnehaha County Club also have certain rules they need to follow.
Fans who attended last year’s very first Sanford International were on their best behavior at the Minnehaha Country Club.
“Everybody for a first-year event did a great job by understanding the rules and regulations of a regular golf tournament,: Tournament Coordinator McKenzie Swenson said.
And organizers expect fans will be equally respectful of the rules during this year’s tournament.
“We know that sometimes people won’t be quiet but we just ask that they try their best to abide by what the marshals are telling them to do,” Swenson said.
Marshals are posted at each of the 18 holes to ensure that everyone in the gallery minds their tees and q’s.
“Mistakenly, people will sometimes yell or may be talking when somebody’s getting ready to hit, sometimes on an adjacent hole, so we not only have to be aware of our hole, but holes around us, too,” Hole Captain Brandt Williams said.
Quieting the crowd is usually just a simple matter of holding up a sign.
But once a player makes a shot, fans can give their full-throated approval. The more creative the cheer, the better.
“They’ll make a Chewbacca sound, I’ve heard that one before, surprisingly. I don’t know why, I don’t make that up,” Swenson said.
Cheering is accompanied by the subdued golf clap.
Perry Groten: Show me the proper technique as far as doing a golf clap. You gotta keep your head down and your eye on the hand?
“Exactly. You gotta cup your hand just perfectly, a nice, slight little clap. You got other people playing on the golf course, you can’t be disrupting play on a different hole,” Swenson said.
That’s why the hushed-tones of the golf voice are also encouraged.
Every once and a while a golfer, even a professional, will hit an errant shot that veers off the fairway and toward the crowd. So when you hear “fore,” you need to duck and protect yourself.
“If you get hit in the body, that’s one thing, but if you get hit in the face or the head, I can’t imagine that would feel too good,” Williams said.
The Sanford International is recruiting even more volunteers to help with crowd control at this year’s tournament to prevent spectators from making spectacles of themselves.
Fans attending the Sanford International are allowed to bring their cellphones onto the course, but the devices have to be on silent or vibrate.
Fans can ask for autographs during the pro-am events on September 18 and 19. But once the tournament begins, autograph seekers can only approach players after their round is completed.