A massive tent city is going up on the western fringes of Lake Forest and the city is bustling with excitement knowing Tiger Woods and 69 other of the world’s best golfers are part of it.
“It’s going to be a very exciting time here in town,” Lake Forest Mayor Don Schoenheider said. “It will really show the golf world and the world of sports more about Lake Forest and Conway Farms.”
A few of the tents have six-figure price tags like a lot of North Shore real estate, but these are only temporary. People will mostly use them for four days and then they will come down.
All this activity is going on to prepare for the PGA (Professional Golf Association) BMW Championship at Lake Forest’s Conway Farms Golf Club Sept. 9-15 featuring Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and the other 67 top rated professional golfers in the world.
And all of this preparation is being overseen by the Western Golf Association (WGA), a 114-year-old organization based in Golf, a tiny suburb (503 people) sharing a zip code with Glenview. Local partnerships are essential to making it work as well.
“It takes the entire community,” WGA Tournament Vice President Vince Pellegrino said. He is spending his days in one of the temporary structures on Conway Farms overseeing preparations. “We couldn’t do it without the cooperation of the surrounding communities.”
One of those projects is finding parking places for more than 125,000 people expected to purchase tickets for the event. Grainger has a large parcel of land near the intersection of Everett and Riverwoods Roads where people will park with continuous shuttle service to the course.
“It took cooperation with Metawa and Lincolnshire to pull it off and (insure) public safety,” Pellegrino said. Shuttles will also take fans from both Lake Forest train stations—Union Pacific and Milwaukee Road—to Conway Farms.
Tickets for the event are $40 a day for each of the four rounds—$10 for practice sessions Sept. 9-11—which entitles a person to walk the course within close proximity to the golfers and sit in bleachers built around a number of holes.
If those tents appeal to you—Pellegrino calls them skyboxes and chalets—you can do that too. “They’re for corporations to entertain their clients,” Pellegrino said. A box for 25 people costs $40,000. “Yes they can,” he added when asked if a private individual can buy one as well.
People sitting in the skyboxes have an elevated view to see action on more than one hole with comfortable seating and private food and beverage service. There is also an upgrade Pellegrino calls a chalet. “They’re enclosed and air conditioned with outdoor seating,” he said. The cost is $100,000.
When the tournament arrives, neither the chalet nor skybox holders or even the Conway Farms members will be parking in the club’s lot. It will be reserved for players and caddies. “We have to take care of the caddies,” Pellegrino said.
Caddies have a special place in the WGA’s heart. The organization has sent over 10,000 young men and women to college as Evans Scholars since 1930, including Pellegrino.