In 2012, the BMW Championship, which was played at Crooked Stick Golf Course, was named that year’s “Tournament of the Year” by the PGA TOUR.
It’s coming back Sept. 6-11, and community organizers are planning ways to make the event better in 2016.
Tony Pancake, director of operations for Crooked Stick, spoke to the Carmel Rotary Club about the event July 22.
“We knew it was successful, but right away, we were figuring out what we can do better,” he said. “We focused on improving the golf course. The players love the golf course, but operationally, it was challenging. We also looked at ways to improve neighborhood relations. As you remember, we had some real parking and traffic issues the last time. We’ve spent hours and hours and hours on that. I think you’ll find things to be a lot better in 2016.”
The Carmel City Council is already working to help manage parking at this year’s event by passing no-parking and tow zones for residential neighborhoods so nearby houses aren’t inconvenienced by the event spectators. Part of the problem stems from not having a big enough parking lot to accommodate the thousands of attendees.
“There is no hard-surface parking that is anywhere near the capacity that we need to put on an event of this magnitude in Carmel,” Pancake said. “There’s nothing. We’ve checked everywhere. The nearest hard surface parking is Lafayette Square Mall, but we didn’t think that was something people will be comfortable with, so the next best option is the old airport and that option is reserved if needed. We’ll only use that option if there’s a downpour of rain. If we don’t, we’re going to be parking at 146th and Towne Road on the weekdays, and on Saturday and Sunday, we’ll be parking at Meridian and 116th on a paved parking area. We can park there on a weekend because the businesses are closed. Through the week, we’ll be on grass parking, assuming good weather.”
The weekday lot is at 2300 W. 146th St., Westfield, and the Saturday/Sunday lot is at 11815 N. Pennsylvania St., Carmel. A free shuttle will take people to the event.
In the event of inclement weather Tuesday through Friday, the public parking lot will be relocated to 2500 S. High School Rd., Indianapolis.
Because of the sponsorship, BMW owners can get complimentary parking passes in a special lot by providing a vehicle identification number when purchasing tickets.
The drop off zone is at 10910 Greenbrier Rd., Carmel, and hired drivers – such as taxi or Uber drivers – are asked to drop off attendees at 10850 Towne Rd., Carmel.
Cyclists can park at 2299 Augusta Lane in Carmel.
Pancake was asked by a Rotarian whether 126th Street just east of Crooked Stick would be open in time for the event.
“I’m on my knees every night,” he joked. “That’s part of the reason my hair is grey, and I’m not sleeping well. It’s supposed to be finished Aug. 29, which is seven days in advance of our tournament. I’ve been promised that if it’s not complete, that they’re going to open it so traffic can come that way. We’re optimistic and checking on that every week.”
More than 2,000 volunteers are expected at the event, and city, county and regional officials are involved in the planning process, such as encouraging attendees to dine at local restaurants. Many Hamilton County businesses are providing discounts for anyone who shows their BMW Championship ticket. Pancake said the event is expected to have an economic impact of $30 million for the region, including Carmel, Indianapolis, Westfield and beyond.
The BMW Championship is the penultimate event for the FedExCup Playoffs and determines the final field of 30 for the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
The following roads will have temporary no parking and tow away zones between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. during the PGA BMW Championship at the Crooked Stick Golf Course:
- Prestwick Lane
- Prestwick Circle
- Torrey Pine Circle
- St. Andrews Lane
- St. Andrews Circle
- Mansfield Place
- Braemar Court
- Belmont Court
- Sutton Avenue
- Sutton Place Drive East
- Sutton Place Drive South
- Sutton Place Drive West
- Royal Place
- Royal Court
- Royal Circle
- Royal Blvd
- Greystone Court
- Newbridge Court
- Westbury Place Drive
- Chatham Court
- Bishop Circle
- Windmere Blvd
- Hyde Park