February 5, 2012

Torrey Pines: golf tournament with a toddler

We did it. We took a toddler to a PGA golf tournament.

As soon as we our pledged to check out our local amenities, wouldn't you know that the Farmers Insurance Open would be the very next weekend? Since I grew up on the East Coast, I was very familiar, and have frequently attended the Heritage PGA tournament in Hilton Head, SC. We even took our little guy to the tournament there last year, but we had a lot more help and were more familiar with the places to hide him, if trouble started to brew.

We really wanted to get on the course and check it out - its beautiful, and situated on cliffs overlooking the Pacific. Also, when else is it really OK to drink a beer at 10AM while you push a stroller? We were worried that he would he would scream during someone's backswing. We were worried he would melt down as soon as we got there and we would have to turn around and drive an hour and a half home, and be out our parking and ticket fees.

I googled around some but came up with mixed reviews, consisting of things like "of course you wouldn't take a kid to a golf tournament, get a sitter" (except we don't know anyone here yet, and might he enjoy it, too?) and "I took my kids and it was fine" (though no tips). So we armed ourselves with sure-thing snacks (cereal bars, string cheese, cheerios, applesauce, cherry tomatoes, grapes) and water and sunscreen and toys (cars, a ball, plastic animals). And we set our expectations low: we decided the time and fees were sunk costs and we would enjoy as much as we could. This was part of our adventure. We tried to stay in neutral parts of each hole, where players were not likely to be hitting, but we could still see them walk by. We would walk between shots. We would stay in the buffer hospitality areas as much as possible. We even threw a football with M in one of them. We were lucky and we got him to nap for about an hour of his normal two-hour nap in the stroller while we walked the course. After that he was pretty upset. He did want more opportunities to walk around. We did get him excited about seeing the front nine, waterfront holes, which by that time had been vacated by players completely and just a few touristy folks like ourselves were snapping contraband photos.

All in all, I'd call it a success. There was still more crying and stress than hubby would have liked, but I thought it was OK. We were not the only ones with little ones there, and we gave knowing looks to the other families who had sleepers or cryers or eaters when we passed by. I say, if you are willing to accept the sunk costs and be saddled down by a stroller and kid-centricities, go for it! There are a few more tournaments here in SoCal coming up, so we probably will check those out, too!!

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