Colonial Country Club – Charles Schwab Challenge
Photos by Michael Davis, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86
Colonial Country Club 3735 Country Club Cir Fort Worth, TX 76109
Year Opened: 1936
Charles Schwab Challenge continues streak at Hogan’s Alley
The Charles Schwab Challenge is played at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. Although this was Charles Schwab’s first year being the sponsor in Fort Worth, the Colonial Country Club first hosted the US Open in 1941. Due to World War II, no tournament was played from 1942-45, but a PGA Tour golf tournament has been held at the Colonial Country Club every year since 1946, giving the course the honor of being the PGA Tour’s longest-tenured tournament at a single venue. The tournament is traditionally hosted over Memorial Day weekend.
The Colonial Country Club is known as “Hogan’s Alley” because legendary Ben Hogan won the tournament five times. The course yardage is 7,209 (creating a Par 70 for golfers), and the course record is 61, co-held by seven PGA Tour pros: Keith Clearwater, Lee Janzen, Greg Kraft, Justin Leonard, Kevin Na, Kenny Perry, and Chad Campbell. The course has also hosted three major or significant professional golf events: the 1941 U.S. Open, the 1975 Tournament Players Championship, and the 1991 U.S. Women’s Open.
Food & Beverage 3
There are numerous concessions tents around the golf course, with nearly one stand per hole as the tents are strategically placed for patrons to be able to buy food and not miss any action. The Charles Schwab Challenge food and beverage options are the standard sports fare, such as hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken sandwiches, along with pretzels, peanuts, and various sweets. The food and beverage prices are typical of what sports fans are accustomed to when going to events; $10 is the highest price for food or alcohol options, with soda beverages running from $4 to $6.
Being in Texas, there is BBQ in the B&B which is near the 9th tee box – their menu includes brisket and pulled pork with many other BBQ staples. There is also the 1936 Colonial Bar and Grill, as well as a variety of cocktails and different kinds of beer available in the Fan Zone. Ben and Jerry’s ice cream carts are also located at various places along the course, for fans looking for a sweet treat or some water.
In addition to the general food areas, there are the premium seating areas for fans that want to have a more leisurely and upscale place to eat. One of the upgrades for concessions is the Champions Club, with a cost of $250 (upgraded tickets, but gives access to air conditioning as well as television while you eat and drink). In summary, there are plenty of food and beverages here for any fan to enjoy, but the overall menu is what fans expect at PGA events.
The Charles Schwab Challenge continues bringing an impeccable environment for avid golf fans. Hogan’s Alley continues to be one of the best-groomed courses on the PGA Tour. The private club opens their course to the golf world and creates an atmosphere like all the fans are members of the club. There are great seating opportunities to watch the best of the best play on the Par 70 course, and the Colonial Country Club and the volunteers create an environment that is attractive to all types of golf fans. The amenities here include a kids’ autograph zone, the Famous 13th Hole (a par 3 over water with the patron’s seating directly above the green, leaving very little space for the golfers safe zone on the green), and finally The Five, a Schwab Performance Center that is a live interactive golf experience focusing on the five fundamentals of both golf and investing, connecting Ben Hogan’s ground-breaking approach to golf and Schwab’s approach to investing and retirement.
As in all PGA tournaments the fans excitement escalates on the last day, with fans getting to see the final pairings and leaders coming down the 18th fairway to the Colonial Clubhouse, with Ben Hogan’s statue overlooking the 18th green. The winner of the Charles Schwab Challenge receives the customary Scottish royal tartan plaid jacket, the Leonard Trophy, and a 1973 fully renovated Dodge Challenger.
The Colonial Golf Course is located about four miles from downtown Fort Worth. The golf course is located on the south bank of the Clear Fork of the Trinity River, just northwest of the campus of Texas Christian University.
There are several tourist attractions in Fort Worth near the Colonial Country Club – Fort Worth Zoo on University Drive is just across from the main entrance for the tournament. The Fort Worth Zoo is one of the top-rated zoos in the country. In addition, the Cultural District around the general parking at Farrington Field features several museums, including the world famous Kimbell Art Museum, the Will Rogers Memorial Center (home of the annual Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo), and the new Dickies Arena.
However, a trip to the Fort Worth Stockyards is a must when visiting the Fort Worth area, and it is just a few miles on the other side of downtown. There you can see the famous “World’s Largest Honky Tonk” Billy Bob’s Texas, home to live music from national recording acts, a large dance floor, pool tables, mechanical bull rides, and live bull riding on the weekends. The stockyards also have a few steak houses that are well worth the visit, and there is also a local Tex-Mex favorite, Joe T. Garcia’s, but be prepared for long lines if you chose this eatery. Or if you’re looking for BBQ, Heim BBQ at 1109 W. Magnolia Ave is one of the top-rated BBQ places in the state. But the best food option might just be the Ol’ South Pancake House – this Fort Worth stable is a 24-hour family restaurant that is perfect for those early tee times at the tournament.
There are plenty of lodging options while in town, with two good choices being the Sheraton Fort Worth Hotel and Spa at 1701 Commerce, and the Stockyards Hotel at 109 E Exchange. If you want to be within walking distance of the Colonial Country Club, though, then the Courtyard by Marriott Fort Worth or the Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham Fort Worth are your better options.
The Colonial Country Club is a private golf club, but the fans that flock to this course are very diverse. As with all PGA Tour events, there are plenty of groups that form around certain golfers. The largest gallery the past few years have been around Jordan Spieth, which is great for fans of other golfers that want plenty of space to follow another golfer around the course.
In general, golf fans are very courteous and respectful of everyone in attendance. This holds true around the course at Colonial – the whole crowd is united in supporting the players, but the support becomes the loudest as the final pairing head to the 18th green on Sunday evening.
The Colonial Country Club is located off University Blvd across from the Fort Worth Zoo. The club is situated in the Park Hill-Colonial Hills neighborhood, and this old neighborhood can’t support general parking for the PGA event. However, there are three parking options available to patrons; Bronze, Silver, and public. The Bronze and Silver parking areas are located on the opposite side of the neighborhood, on the Texas Christian University campus. The cost for Silver parking is $75 per day or $300 for the week, with a shuttle that takes patrons to the Colonial Clubhouse. The bronze parking is close to the silver parking, but the cost is $25 a day cheaper, and $50 cheaper for the week. Lexus Owners receive a $20 discount when driving their Lexus vehicles. The final option is public parking, with all general parking costing $20. The Charles Schwab Challenge website states $15, if you buy in advance, but fails to state that there is an added $6 service fee. The general parking is located at Fort Worth’s Farrington Field at 2921 W. Lancaster or Rockwood Lane Fort Worth, with both areas providing free shuttles to the course.
The main entrance is on Rogers at the 4th hole fairway. There are metal detectors at the gates and Andy Frain Services checks patrons’ bags. There are no opaque bags allowed that are larger than a small purse (6” by 6”) including carrying cases, backpacks, camera bags, or chair bags. Clear plastic, vinyl, or other bags not exceeding 12” x 6” x 12” are allowed, as well as food if it is stored in one-gallon clear plastic resealable bag. All mobile phones, tablets, and PDAs should be put in the silent mode, and cameras are allowed during practice rounds only. Once inside the course is very walkable, as the landscape is flat with plenty of trees for shade.
Return on Investment 3
The return on investment at the Charles Schwab Challenge is as expected for a PGA Tour event, but is a little better than its metroplex counterpart, the AT&T Byron Nelson in Dallas. The daily grounds tickets are $50 per ticket, but the Colonial Country Club is one of the treasures on the PGA Tour – the historic golf course has hosted some of golf’s greatest players. There are also special ticket packages that enhance a patron’s experience, but they come at a price; the Patio Club@16, Hogan Club@18, and Best seats@18 green. These all have clubhouse access, with food and beverage included, but the prices range from $275 to $350 per ticket.
The concessions pricing is on par with typical sporting event concessions prices, but the overpriced parking keeps the ROI from being higher; the AT&T Byron Nelson’s free parking option may have spoiled me when it comes to parking. Overall, however, the return on investment is in line with other sporting events.
A trip to the Colonial Country Club is a chance to see the game’s biggest names firsthand, and those names represent a wide range of styles on the PGA Tour. Since the tournament’s inaugural event in 1946, golf greats like Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Tom Watson, as well as modern-day stars such as Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Jordan Spieth, and Justin Rose, have won this tournament – the 2019 champion was Kevin Na, making the tournament his third PGA Tour win.
The Charles Schwab Challenge is also among the PGA Tour leaders in charitable giving, including generating a record $13 million awarded to charities in 2018. The tournament has generated $100 million for more than 150 charitable organizations over the past two decades.
The Colonial Country Club fifth hole, which has the Trinity River running alongside the fairway, is mentioned as one of the best holes in America. This hole is regularly ranked as one of golf’s most difficult, and is the anchor in the very tough three-hole stretch nicknamed the “Horrible Horseshoe.”
The Colonial staff and volunteers also do a great job throughout the week helping patrons navigate to and from the parking lot shuttles to different places around the course.
Finally, the Charles Schwab Challenge’s placement on Memorial Day weekend inspires the tournament to remember the men and women of the Armed Forces that sacrificed their lives while serving their country, with a moment of silence during tournament play.
Colonial Country Club is a beautiful course laid out in a perfect setting to host a PGA Tournament, with an easy course to navigate and plenty of shade from the large oak trees along the fairways. The DFW area is also a great tourist area for golf fans to enjoy, with plenty of restaurants and lodging in the vicinity. In fact, traditionally the DFW area hosted back-to-back weekends of PGA golf, with the AT&T Byron Nelson tournament in Dallas followed by the Charles Schwab Challenge here; Dallas-Fort Worth is the only metroplex area in the US that hosts two PGA events each year.
In 2019 the PGA Championship broke up the consecutive weekends, but if the PGA returns to their prior schedule, then spending a week in the DFW areas watching two PGA Tour events is a must for the avid golf fan. However, if the schedule stays the same with a break between the two tournaments, then golf fans have a great choice in choosing which side of the metroplex; either a link style course in Dallas, or the traditional golf course in Fort Worth.