Thinking about going to the Phoenix Open? I say go for it, and don’t let bringing your little ones stand in your way. I’ve been taking my kiddos for the past three years by myself and had a total blast each and every time. My first year was with my 18 month old, the next year I was pregnant with a two and a half year old, and last year I brought my two little ones, toting a diaper bag, jogging stroller, Ergo and carseat. Crazy, I know, but learn from my experiences and make this year one you and your kiddos will remember for years to come.
- Go on a free day or early in the day. The last three years, I’ve been fortunate to land free tickets from friends who had unused corporate tickets. I always went early in the week, before the crazy crowds came and tended to go earlier in the day before the partiers party a little too hard. This year, no such luck on free corporate tickets, but I did see on the Waste Management Phoenix Open site that Monday, February 1st and Tuesday, February 2nd are free general admission days! And don’t forget–ages 17 and under are free every day.
- Take your time. Knock on wood, but I’ve ended up with amazing weather every year the day I decided to attend. The Phoenix Open seems to mark the start of spring in Arizona and I try and soak up every moment of blissful weather before the sweltering summer heat comes. And it’s coming. The Phoenix Open is a great excuse to just spend the day outside, have a picnic in the grass, walk the course while the little ones nap in the stroller or carrier. It’s an awesome escape I look forward to every year. No schedule. No rushing from one thing to the next. Sit back and people watch. Just enjoy the day outside with your kids and I promise, you won’t regret it.
- Ask for help. Like I said, I typically take the kids by myself. I like the adventure of it. It kind of feels like a rite of passage for me. That being said, don’t be afraid to ask for help. I’ve only been treated well by staff and attendees when I’ve asked for help getting my stroller on the bus while I wrangled two kids. Not sure where to park? Check out this map, but I head to the free general parking at Westworld. I’ve heard of people parking nearby and calling a cab to drop them off up close. That sounds like a great idea as well, but I’m cheap and I’ve never had a problem, even hauling all my gear with me.
- Pack light. Check the Security Procedures before you go, but in short, less is more. You can bring all your baby needs with you (bottles, milk, diapers, etc.) but “diaper bags” are not on the approved list. Pack light–a couple diapers, small pack of wipes and whatever baby food items you might need for a meal or snack and stick them in your small purse. Someone is usually passing out clear plastic bags you can use as well. Remember last year when I brought the carseat? Opt for a baby carrier and just the stroller if you can manage it. Otherwise, see #3 and ask for help getting on and off the bus.
- Collect on the freebies. Speaking of the clear plastic bags–grab one for each of your kids and as you pass through the vendor tent on your way in, let them gather up all the freebies. We’ve collected pencils, stickers, gift cards for free meals, coupons. The vendor tent might be my son’s favorite part of the whole day, so we tend to spend the good part of an hour walking around, checking everything out. Keep an eye out for games sponsored by Waste Management, where kids can win drinks, meals, and little prizes. There are usually mascots from local teams walking around, too, near the general admission food tents. My kids always have a blast hunting them down.
Let’s be honest here. I know virtually nothing about golf, but I have such a great time at the Phoenix Open. We pass by TPC every day on the way to school, watching the set up and tear down year round (Ever noticed how many months the whole process takes?). My son talks about going to the “golf show” all the time and looks forward to it as soon as Christmas is over. I enjoy it for what I get out of it–a day out in the sun enjoying what Chicagoans wish they had in February; a day of adventure, not really having much of a plan and going with it; a day making memories with my kids without the distraction of schedules, laundry or TV.
Have you been to the Phoenix Open with kids? Any tips your learned along the way? I’d love to hear! Give me a shout out on Tuesday…I’ll be there!