What is the Honda Classic
Founded in 1972 as Jackie Gleason’s Inverrary Classic, the Honda Classic is a professional golf tournament part of the PGA Tour, typically the first of Florida Golf events in late winter. The event has been backed by various companies since its start but Honda has been the event's title sponsor since 1982. The tournament has been held at various courses and clubs throughout its 45-year history but has been hosted at PGA National Golf Club on its Champion Course since 2007. The Tournament brings some of the world’s best golfers to Palm Beach County for its week-long event. This year the event is held February 20th through the 26th, with the televised Tournament play beginning Thursday February 23rd.
Where is the Honda Classic
The Honda Classic is held at PGA National Golf Club located in Palm Beach Gardens just west of the Ronald Reagan Turnpike. The golf club is located close to I-95, Turnpike, and only about a 20-minute drive from Palm Beach International airport. PGA National Resort & Spa offers lodging options but there are plentiful nearby hotel options such as Hampton Inn, Marriott, Hilton Gardens, and Double Tree Hotel & Executive Suites to name a few. In addition to hotels there is a large variety of nearby dining options from high-end steak restaurants, such as III Forks Prime Steakhouse, to casual options such as LeBron James-back pizza chain Blaze Pizza. Many of these dining establishments are located right along PGA Boulevard in the Midtown and PGA Commons plazas. Venturing east on PGA Boulevard will lead you to world class shopping in the Gardens Mall and dining options set on the intracoastal.
Tickets for the event can be obtained on the Honda Classic website. There are a multitude of options in the way of tickets which will meet a wide variety of needs but keep in mind children 15 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult. Daily Grounds Passes range from $20-$55 depending on the day of the Tournament with packages ranging from $125 to $750 for upgraded tickets. Parking is located adjacent to the entrance of BallenIsles country club and costs $20 daily or $80 for the week. For the first time PGA National is offering valet parking, which is the closest options for parking and this privilege will run $150 daily or $400 for the week.
What to Wear
The event website suggests appropriate casual golf wear with comfortable walking shoes. Some die-hard fans will wear their own golf shoes and if this is the case the event requires soft spikes only. Event planners also suggest bringing a windbreaker, hat/visor, sunscreen, sunglasses, and an umbrella because let’s face it, South Florida’s weather can require all of these items within the span of just a few hours, especially the sunscreen and the umbrella. If you forget any of these items there is a store on the grounds which sells all of these items, many with Honda Classic branding. Beware, however, theses items do not without a price premium.
How is the Event
For anyone who is new to The Honda Classic event or even new to the sport of golf, the tournament is a worthwhile experience. It is a great opportunity to see some of the world’s best golfers all in one place doing their best to attempt to win big and either keep their spot at the top of the Tour leaderboard or keep climbing the ranks one birdie at a time. It is a unique experience being able to watch a sports professional make their plays and have the privilege of walking the course with them from hole to hole. If this isn’t for you then grab a drink and take a seat at the grandstands located at the course's most challenging three-hole stretch dubbed The Bear Trap. In the words of Tiger Woods, “There are no bailouts. You have to commit and hit a good shot”. Although there is a No Autograph policy during the length of the event the best place to maximize the chance of an autograph is near the scoring zone named Miami Children's Hospital Nicklaus Outpatient Center Autograph Zone. Overall whether you are a golf fanatic or a casual observer, the Honda Classic offers a worthwhile experience for everyone.