Big windowed white tents, grand spectator stands and makeshift walkways have sprung up at Hazeltine National Golf Club along its 18-hole course in anticipation of the upcoming KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
Construction started just over a month ago, according to Championship Director Renee DeLosh. With the tournament less than a week away, crews are working on finishing details such as fencing, carpeting and logo placement.
“I’m looking forward to seeing all the details of our two-year runway during the championship,” DeLosh said.
The tournament, from June 18-23, is setting records in terms of ticket sales, she added. DeLosh declined to provide specific numbers, saying that the PGA does not make that information public.
“We are on record pace for ticket sales, beyond what we have witnessed in the last five years. We’ve seen wonderful support from this community,” she said. “We look forward to seeing everyone out here during championship week and we look forward to good weather and golf.”
The city of Chaska started giving away two free tickets per household for Tuesday and Wednesday practice rounds on June 10, according to Communications Manager Kevin Wright. Four children under 17 years of age can be admitted with each adult ticket purchased.
Residents have to bring proof of residency when they claim the tickets at City Hall.
“It’s a great perk,” Wright said. “Hopefully they can take this opportunity to see the course and see the golfers play.”
The tickets were donated to the city by the tournament. In general, the city will have 2,000 tickets per day on hand.
The world’s best golfers aren’t the only high profilers coming to Chaska.
Former Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice will be giving a speech during the Women’s Leadership Summit on Wednesday. The event, which aims to empower women on and off the golf course, is not open to the public.
Other keynote speakers for the summit include Olympian Mia Hamm, who played for the U.S. women's national soccer team from 1987-2004 and was a FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion.
Lynne Doughtie, KPMG chair and CEO will also speak during the event.
Security for the tournament will be different from the Ryder Cup, according to Police Chief Scott Knight. Spectators are allowed to park, bike and even walk to the tournament.
“It is all hands on deck. For two reason, we have our regular everyday business we have to staff for, and then we do have the event at the golf course,” he said.
The 26-officer department will have a presence before and during the tournament. Planning for the championship started two years ago.
The Chaska Fire Department and crews from Ridgeview Medical Center will also be on site, along with other local, state and federal public safety organizations, such as the FBI, according to Wright.
Chaska Public Works employees will also be on call for emergencies.
Before the Ryder Cup, transformers were built near Hazeltine to sustain tournament activities. The Chaska Electric Department will energize those transformers, place a meter on them and monitor usage for billing, according to Wright.
“Even with all the emergency planning, the response to the community won’t be impacted. The coverage for the city doesn't change fire and police response,” Wright said.
The Carver County Board of Commissioners also passed an ordinance enacting craft operation restrictions on Lake Hazeltine for the tournament in June.
The lake caused a headache for the city during the 2016 Ryder Cup, when a pilot landed a floatplane on the lake. The pilot later sued the city after the chief publicly called his actions “stupid” and “imbecilic.”
The suit in U.S. District Court was “dismissed with prejudice and on its merits and without costs or disbursements to any party,” according to court records.
The Chaska City Council had passed an ordinance restricting activity, however it did not have the authority to do so since the lake is considered a public waterway.
The new ordinance passed by the board is approved by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which has jurisdiction over the lake, according to Knight.
“All water surface use is strictly prohibited on Lake Hazeltine, starting on June 18 (12:01 a.m.) through June 24 (11:59 p.m.). Unless specifically authorized, no one will be allowed to operate a boat, canoe, kayak, tube or craft on Lake Hazeltine, or land a plane on the lake, during this time,” the ordinance states.
Authorities will enforce the restriction and issue citations and remove offenders from the area.
There were no records from the Federal Aviation Administration of any air restrictions during the Ryder Cup event. As of Tuesday, there are no restrictions over Lake Hazeltine listed on the FAA website.