May 24, 2014

Colonial’s new entrance gets thumbs up

Fans receive eyeful of golf right away as they enter for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

As beginnings go, the Frost Park main entrance is off to a good start at Colonial Country Club.

Instituted by virtue of recommendations from PGA Tour security, the new main entrance for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial had checked in about 75,000 fans through Saturday.

“This is our first year here at the Colonial and it has been great,” said Malcolm Lacey, event manager for Provision Golf Putting Hire. “We do a lot of PGA Tour events and ATP tennis events all over the world and obviously we are paying very close attention to detail on this one with it being so close to the oven [the Nike Golf Testing Facility located in west Fort Worth].”

Fans get right to the point entering the grounds, with the Nike Golf hitting area. It comes complete with six inflatable hitting bays, a golf simulator, six-hole putting course and a charity long-putt contest.

Each player stepping into the hitting bay area known as the Nike Golf Swing Zone will get to demo Nike clubs, including the Nike Covert Driver that is used by PGA Tour stars Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.

NTPGA teaching professionals are on hand to analyze the player’s swing and provide a mini-lesson. Once a player is finished, Nike Golf will email them a video of the session for their own use.

Next door to the hitting bays, fans will find the putting course that is perfect for younger fans attending the Colonial.

There is also an air-conditioned simulator where golfers can hit into a huge screen and watch a computer-generated version of the distance their ball would travel on the hole.

Suite view

Elite Construction Pro’s skybox on No. 16, behind the Par 3 16th green, provides a panoramic view of the entire hole as the pros tee off 192 yards away down the steep hill and over the water to the putting surface.

“This is our first year to have a skybox at Colonial,” said David Doyle, CEO of ECP Construction. “It is a great way to give back to our customers and friends and support a great Fort Worth event.”

ECP Construction is a Fort Worth-based commercial construction company that has done jobs all over the country as well as local shopping centers and car dealerships. Doyle worked with the Crowne Plaza Invitational tournament committee to select this particular location for what is essentially a big investment for his company.

“Everything has been smooth from the moment we approached Colonial about getting a skybox,” he said.” They were answering our questions before we even asked them. We will be here for many years to come.”

Tennis anyone?

The Chairman’s Suite and the Gus Bates Insurance hospitality suite have a new home this season.

Colonial’s new tennis shop now sits just off the 10th tee and is the product of Colonial’s growing demand for tennis.

“We began construction on the new tennis shop building on Labor Day and finished about two weeks ago,” said Matt Watson, head tennis professional at Colonial Country Club.

“From the tournament’s standpoint, it is a great addition with the top level split into two hospitality areas and from the tennis point of view, our program has grown from two tennis pros to four full-time pros in the last 10 years, so it will benefit us year around.”

Guests get the full treatment of amenities as the building is modeled primarily after the main club house and affords a great vantage point for the 9th green, 10th tee and short-game practice area.

Correspondent Kevin Casas contributed to this report.

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