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Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

Should you go to the LIV Golf Party? Honest review after a day at LIV Nashville

By meerna Jun25,2024
Should you go to the LIV Golf Party?  Honest review after a day at LIV Nashville

LIV Golf is in its third campaign, and even though the organization will host its inaugural event in June 2022, there are still many questions surrounding the breakaway course. The golf world as a whole – fans, players and media alike – is still trying to figure out what exactly this music-sounding, team-centric, star-driven, Saudi-backed golf is.

You can’t feel something without being a part of it, so seeing as LIV Golf was hosting an event at The Grove just outside of Nashville, I decided to hop in the car and take a three-hour drive to see what it was all about.

The question I wanted to answer was: should you, a fan of golf or other sports, take part in the LIV Golf tournament? Within about 20 minutes of arriving, I had my answer.

Before we get into that answer and the many takeaways from a full Saturday at The Grove, it’s important to set the stage here.

I’m a 31-year-old guy who plays golf professionally. I’ve been following the sport closely for over a decade, so I don’t exactly fall into the “everyday golf fan” category, but that’s the approach I took when heading to LIV Nashville. Yes, I was there as media, but I was there to see everything and experience what LIV had to offer, while being fully aware that 99% of the people there spent their hard-earned money on it.

Expectations are important here. Like anything in life, if you find yourself in a situation with low expectations, there is a high probability that you will come out disappointed. The key is an open mind, and after a quick five-minute shuttle ride from the designated parking lot of a nearby high school, I was there as a guy who was simply curious about this new and much-criticized golf outing.

You can’t escape from music

In incredibly on-brand fashion, with LIV’s tagline “Golf, but louder,” the first thing I hear is Zach Bryan’s “Heading South” blaring from the speaker at the gate. I set off for the course about an hour before the shotgun starts. Many people sing along with me as their tickets are scanned, and the thought “this isn’t an everyday PGA Tour event” quickly enters my mind, followed by the thought “I think I like this.”

The next song on the LIV playlist was Drake’s “Nice For What,” which took everything to a whole new level. Golf, but actually louder.

I didn’t think I’d like the music playing throughout, but it’s an important piece of the puzzle that makes LIV not only different, but enjoyable. I’ve complained many times on social media about the music because it’s distracting when watching a TV broadcast, but in person it adds a whole new level of experience.

There’s something amazing about watching Phil Mickelson hit balls at the end of the range while Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight” plays on the speakers.

While it may seem like an exaggeration to say that constantly playing music is one of the most important features in the LIV experience, it’s hard not to come to that conclusion. Whether it’s kids being dragged to a tournament with their parents, people who don’t even play golf, or a wife or girlfriend who has no idea what’s going on, everyone enjoys music.

The vibrations vibrated

The Par 3 fifteenth hole was LIV Nashville’s designated party hole. The gigantic structure circled the entire perimeter. Tickets to the Birdie Shack off the tee on Saturday are approximately $155 and include three complimentary drink tickets. For those curious, domestic beer and generic seltzers were sold at concession stands for $11, standard cocktails and premium beer were sold for $12, and the most expensive drink was a grape cocktail for $16. Soft drinks were $6 and a bottle of water was $5.

The scene on the 15th hole, even viewed solely by the audience, was quite atmospheric.

As for the crowd itself, it wasn’t just a younger group of people surrounding the Par 3 15th, but it seemed to be a younger crowd all over the course. That was the expectation, not only because it’s a LIV event, but I was in Nashville after all.

Most of the people golfing on the 15th hole were there to hang out, drink some cold beer, and maybe take note of a few shots here and there. It’s no different than a PGA Tour event in that any large grandstands like this are mostly occupied by people who don’t care about the golf itself.

As someone who’s been to the PGA Tour stop in Memphis a dozen times, the atmosphere was like any grandstand where you can drink as much as you want, but Luke Combs, followed by Kendrick Lamar, was playing on the speakers and guests were competing for millions of dollars of dollars stressed on four feet on the green.

An event to which fans of traditional golf and their children are also invited

After spending all this time talking about music, alcohol, and parties, you’d assume your old-school, more “traditional” golf fan wouldn’t have a welcome seat at a LIV party. In fact, it is exactly the opposite scenario.

If you are limited and determined to go 18 holes with, say, Jon Rahm or Bryson DeChambeau and focus solely on playing golf, it is certainly doable given player availability. LIV wants it to be this way and the overall organization of the event is precisely tailored to this.

The structure behind the first tee box is a perfect example. Not only was it open to all fans, surrounded by a giant video board with pumping music, but there was also a special section for “Little Sharks” where little kids could surround the first tee on the ground.

The name “Little Sharks” quickly made sense after LIV general manager Greg Norman arrived about five minutes before the first tee shot and greeted about 50 kids surrounding the tee box before allowing them to stand on the tee box itself as the leaders were starting the second round.

As the father of an almost two-year-old, I couldn’t help but think how cool it would be to see my own son brushing shoulders with the World Golf Hall of Fame, standing just a few feet away from Tyrrell Hatton, the eventual winner of the event, sending his driver down the middle of the fairway.

A quick word on shotgun starting

The shotgun start at LIV Golf – in which each group starts at the same time – has its advantages and disadvantages, and being on site highlighted their presence.

The biggest advantage, at least personally, is that you don’t have to be on the golf course from sunrise to sunset to watch the players you want to see or feel like your ticket is worth the price. You can arrive at 11:00 and be well prepared and be in position at 12:15 and then head towards the exit at 5:00. Spending 12 hours at a golf tournament is not pleasant, spending six is ​​much more bearable.

The build-up to the start of the shootout, especially on the first tee, is also quite an entertaining scene. They play emotional videos for the players, like during an NFL game, the songs start playing and continue throughout the entire shot, and then the players leave.

As far as starting shotgun complaints go, I came away with two.

For some reason I had in mind that a shotgun start would mean non-stop action. I could sit on the first tee and as soon as the previous group was in the fairway, the next group was ready to attack. It was different on Saturday, as there was a 20-minute break between groups. The rather long walk between the 18th green and the first tee didn’t help speed things up, but it seemed unusually long at the moment. Two different people asked me where the next group was.

The second downside is the last hole of the day. Take DeChambeau on Saturday, for example. He is currently the most popular player on LIV and started his second round on the second hole, meaning he finished it on the first hole. If you want to watch DeChambeau finish his round, you leave the clubhouse and go out for the last hole, then come back in exactly the same way 20 minutes later to leave the event.

In a place like The Grove, where the fourth hole may very well be in a different state than the clubhouse, this poses a problem not only for the fan watching the competitor finish the round, but also for the LIV itself, as fans will refuse to go the whole round far, only to go back a moment later.

Overall, not having to spend all day on the golf course is an advantage that outweighs the disadvantage, and I guarantee every LIV player and employee feels the same.

So should you try to attend the LIV golf event?

I will never be one to tell anyone how they should spend their money, but yes, any sports fan who wants to see LIV Golf in person should try to make it happen.

I was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience. Considering the music, the sheer number of fans, the overall design, and the overall aesthetic of the setup, it exceeded any expectations I had in mind.

I think there’s a fine line for LIV where it can seem like it’s trying too hard to be different from the PGA Tour in every possible way. Nothing I saw or felt made me think that whatever LIV did was over the top. This includes skydivers falling out of the sky on cue when the shotgun’s launch clock reaches zero.

LIV Nashville was certainly different from anything I’ve ever seen on a golf course, but that’s by no means a bad thing.

In its simplest form, the LIV model deviates from the norm while still showcasing some of the biggest names in the sport, and after seeing the model in person, you can tell that the model works.

By meerna

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