Event Spotlight: The Memorial Tournament

Melissa Kossler Dutton

Most people think of PGA Tour events as adults-only affairs. But organizers of the Memorial Tournament want parents to know this Central Ohio stop offers plenty of activities “fore” children. The annual golf tourney, on tap May 28 to June 3, welcomes families, said executive director Dan Sullivan.

“It's an opportunity for parents to spend their day with their children in a great environment,” Sullivan said.

The tournament, founded and hosted by Jack Nicklaus, brings world-renowned golfers to Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin. Nicklaus, an Upper Arlington native, started the event in 1976 as a way to recognize important contributors to the game and to raise money for local charities.

The Memorial also serves as an opportunity to expose young people to the game of golf, which originated in Scotland centuries ago. “It's a way for us to promote the game by introducing them to it at the highest level,” Sullivan said.

He encourages families to attend May 30, which is Junior Golf Day. That's also when the Nationwide Invitational—the annual Pro-Am game—takes place. Attendees often have the opportunity to speak to the golfers and get autographs. “The players are always very willing to interact with kids,” Sullivan said.

Young people who are motivated by what they see are invited to the Junior Golf Clinic, which takes place at 5:30 p.m. at nearby Safari Golf Club. The free clinic provides children with observational golf instruction, an insider look at the PGA Tour and a visit from Jack Hanna and a few of his exotic friends from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Sullivan also suggests becoming a member of The Memorial's Clubhouse Kids group. Youth who register at memorialclubhousekids.com receive a welcome packet with a lanyard, backpack, water bottle and other gifts (a $5.95 shipping fee applies).

The tournament tries to be family-friendly in other ways as well, Sullivan said. On their way into the Memorial on Junior Golf Day, kids can pick up a treasure map that requires them to find different items along the course. Plus, all of the concession booths offer children's meals.

“We are always trying to ensure that kids know golf is a great option,” Sullivan said. “The hope is that once they experience the enjoyment of the game and the tournament that they become one of our patrons for a long time.”

The Memorial Tournament

When: May 28 to June 3

Where: Muirfield Village Golf Club,5750 Memorial Drive, Dublin

Cost: Up to four youth ages 18 and younger are admitted free with a ticketed adult. Adult admission ranges from $35 for practice rounds to $290.

For more information: thememorialtournament.com

Junior Golf Clinic

When: 5:30 p.m. May 30

Where: Safari Golf Club, 4853 Powell Road, Powell

Cost: Free. Registration is not required.