PHOTOS: Behind-the-Scenes PGA Tour Preps at Innisbrook
What does it take to put together a PGA Tour event? A lot of prep work! Here's a behind-the-scenes peek at the action from the Tampa Bay Championship.
The upcoming Tampa Bay Championship will put Palm Harbor's Innisbrook Golf Resort in the spotlight when the PGA Tour event is broadcast around the world. The tournament begins Monday, March 11 and continues through Sunday, March 17.
The tournament has grown throughout the years, according to Operations Coordinator Bob Messinger. "It went from being a $250,000 to a multi-million dollar tournament," he said.
A lot of behind-the-scenes preparation goes into the tournament each year, with planning beginning almost a year in advance. The physical set up at Innisbrook started about a month ago. Bleachers, tents, roping and much more are brought in each year for the tournament.
The faux-granite entry arches and monuments that you'll see throughout the course were made by Evolution Studios & Media in Tampa. They may look like granite, but they're actually made of foam. The monuments are placed in strategic locations on the course where TV cameras will be capturing the golfing action.
Evolution Studios also made the large copperhead snake monument on display at the Copperhead Course, which is where the Tampa Bay Championship will be played. Crews created the snake with foam and wound up making it look a bit too realistic.
"It was too scary for TV," said Jay Vessey, of Evolution Studios & Media. Vessey said his staff had to bronze the snake with a different coating to make it look less realistic and scary.
Evolution Studios has worked on the Innisbrook leg of the PGA Tour for the last 10 years and is responsible for all of the signage, 84,000 tournament programs and other marketing materials. Everbank, the sponsor for the tournament was announced March 1, which had the studio scrambling to update signs and programs, but they got it done.
Volunteer Earl Land has been overseeing the merchandising efforts for the tournament over the last five years. He starts planning about a month after the tournament ends. He helps select collared golf shirts and arranges to have the tournament's logo embroidered on the shirts. The shirts are sold during the tournament and are offered $10 to $15 lower than pro shop prices. Land also pointed out that because profits from the shirts benefit the Copperhead Charities program, purchasers do not have to pay sales tax.
Zach Labbe, co-director of operations, has been working on the logistics and layout of structures at the tournament. He started building structures on February 1 and says he and his crews will be working on little details until the evening before the tournament begins.
So, how does he feel once all the hard work is over and the gates open?
"Relieved and nervous to make sure we did everything right."
- PGA Tour Tampa Bay Championship: Schedule and Ticket Information
- PGA Tour Tampa Bay Championship: What to Know Before You Go
Innisbrook is located at 36750 U.S. 19, Palm Harbor; (727) 942-2000
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