Golf for Gourmets

Most people don’t associate sports with an exciting festival atmosphere; golf, traditionally even less so. But the Zurich Classic, held this year April 25-May 1 at the TPC Louisiana course, isn’t your average stop on the PGA tour.

“We have always showcased the food, the fun and the festival atmosphere of New Orleans at the Zurich Classic,” says Tommy Fonseca, tournament director and president of the Fore!Kids Foundation. “This is what makes our city and our tournament stand out on the PGA Tour every year.”

The event features several ticket options, starting with single day ground tickets for $25 and weekly passes for $75. (Discounted single day tickets are sold at Rouses for $20.) These tickets grant entry into Harrah’s 19th Hole, a site for live music and New Orleans cuisine including poor boys, crawfish, muffulettas and beignets served all day. Bag of Donuts is set to perform Sat., April 30, and Chee Weez take the stage on Sunday.

The Zurich Classic also offers premium tickets, such as admission to the Champion’s Club ($175 for Thursday and Friday and $225 for Saturday and Sunday), featuring food from iconic New Orleans spots, including Galatoire’s, Arnaud’s, Emeril’s, Drago’s, Mr. B’s Bistro, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Semolina, Zea Rotisserie & Grill and Hilton New Orleans Riverside.

Golf fans can watch the tournament from a panoramic 17th or 18th hole Cypress Suite, featuring cuisine from Patton’s Catering and unlimited food and drinks from 10 a.m. until the end of play. Single-day tickets are $200 for the 17th and $250 for the 18th on a space-available basis.

New to the tournament this year is the Zurich Wine Garden, located between the 17th green and the 18th tee, open to all fans and featuring wine by the glass.

The tournament is also family-friendly, featuring attractions geared especially toward kids. The NASA Kids Zone is a highlight, featuring educational, hands-on activities that include: building and launching a balloon rocket; a moon-shaped putting green; and learning about the NASA program and its technology. There will also be a free youth clinic on Mon., April 25, for junior golfers from noon to 1 p.m. at the TPC driving range. Also, kids 17 and under can attend the tournament for free.

Even more exciting than the children’s activities is the tournament’s commitment to philanthropy for kids. “Our tournament differs from others on the PGA Tour because of our strong title sponsor in Zurich Financial Services and our mission to raise funds for children’s charities through the Fore!Kids Foundation, which produces the Zurich Classic,” says Fonseca. Fore!Kids has raised more than $19 million to date and hopes to raise at least $1 million at this year’s tournament.

The Zurich Classic manages to combine several pastimes into one exciting event. “We understand that New Orleans is a city known for its many attractions and (is) also known as a major sports event market,” says Fonseca. “When we bring those attractions – food, fun, festival atmosphere – to this major league sports event, it attracts families as well as casual and committed golf fans from the entire region.”

Above all, the Zurich Classic is quintessentially New Orleans. “All PGA Tour events have their own personality,” says Fonseca. “You might say that the Zurich Classic in New Orleans has more personality than most.”

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