Debbie and Garry Wear sat inside the new Vons Pavilion tent sipping on their Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon as the Bob Hope Legacy Pro-am wrapped up on Wednesday at the PGA West Stadium course in La Quinta.
“It’s nice watching them come in and play. The view is beautiful,” gushed Debbie Wear.
If they had been sitting in that spot a year ago, the La Quinta residents would have had to pay a premium ticket to get inside what was then known as the Bob Hope hospitality suite.
This year the tent has been replaced by the Vons Fan Pavilion and as the tent says at its entrance, it's "Open to all spectators.”
There is no premium ticket to gain access to the 8,000-square-foot hospitality and viewing area. Sure, guests have to pay for their food and drink, but they don’t have to pay for the ambiance and outdoor deck with stadium seating that provides an unencumbered and spectacular view of the 18th hole.
The new tent is one of several changes to the CareerBuilder Challenge this year as the tournament, in its 59th year, looks to heighten the fan experience and appeal to more non-golfers and locals.
All fans also will have access to the 17th Green Casamigos Club 17, an open-air venue serving up drinks at the par-3 17th hole known as Alcatraz.
“We like the fact that you can come in here and it’s air conditioned and you have options for lunch,” said Garry Wear of the Vons tent.
Debbie Wear was quite fond of the “big tostada” salad she got from Las Casuela Quinta. The Chop House at Jackalope Ranch and Jackalope Ranch also had booths there serving up everything from filet mignon and lobster sliders to a 16-hour smoked barbecue pulled pork sandwich.
Tent sponsor Vons also has their Signature Cafe there with breakfast and lunch options, which is operated by very energetic and reassuring employees who let golf fans know: “If you’re hungry for a good sandwich you’ve come to the right place.”
Drink options also abound. A decent-sized bar sits in the middle of the tent serving up cocktails and beer.
And on one side of the tent are various branded booths from High West Distillery, Casamigos Tequila, Grey Goose, Bacardi, Golden Road Brewing, Caymus Vineyards, William Hill Estate Winery and Rodney Strong Vineyards. So if you’re in the mood for an Old Fashioned Modern or a Mint Julep, head to the High West Distillery booth. If it’s a smooth Chardonnay that appeals to you, head to Rodney Strong. High-top tables provide a place to sit down and enjoy.
Jan and Kathy Groso from Oregon think the new tent will help the fan experience, whether you take advantage of the food and drink options or not. The $30 day pass also helps.
“They are trying to get more people which is a good idea,” said Jan. “If you want to have lunch at home and pay $30 for the day ... you can stay here from the time it opens to the time it closes. Where else are you going to do something for $30 and see professional athletes? I think it’s a good deal.”
Such a good deal it makes Kathy wonder what the tent will look like on Saturday and Sunday when the tournament is in full swing.
“It’s going to get super crowded. It will be interesting to see Sunday,” she said.
Inside the new tent there is also a huge screen that broadcasts the golf, but also various smaller TVs all across that can be tuned in to various other sports, including the two NFL playoff games on Sunday that decide the Super Bowl.
Wayne Panzica, a seasonal La Quinta resident who was checking out the new tent on Wednesday, said having those extra TVs will be huge for the sports fans.
“The two playoff games, those are huge games. You can do both,” he said of watching the game but also keep an eye on the golf.
Panzica is also a big fan of the concerts that premiered last year with Fitz and the Tantrums. This year the tournament has Huey Lewis and the News performing Friday with the Goo Goo Dolls on Saturday. The concerts are included in the price of the general day pass.
“It’s not a good deal, it’s a great deal,” said Panzica who has been to other golf tournaments where the concerts cost extra.
He thinks the new tent will be a hit with guests. It’s especially nice, he said, to have an air-conditioned place to watch the golf when it gets too hot outside. He does have one suggestions on how to attract more locals though – increase the celebrity factor with maybe Justin Timberlake.
“It’s awesome. I think this will definitely help. But they have to get celebrities. Even just one big name,” said Panzica.
Written by Xochitl Pena posted by The Desert Sun: http://www.desertsun.com/story/sports/golf/careerbuilder/2018/01/17/vons-fan-pavilion-offers-careerbuilder-challenge-access-great-food-drinks-and-views-free/1040802001/