The Honda Classic: An Insider’s Guide to The Palm Beaches’ Premier Golf Event

February 13, 2020

The PGA Tour returns to Palm Beach Gardens later this month for the always highly anticipated Honda Classic golf tournament – running February 24 through March 1, 2020.

Whether you’re an avid golfer or sports lover or not, The Honda Classic is the must-attend event of the season. Here’s your guide to getting the most out of your trip to the links. 

Gallery of Fans at the Honda Classic
Photo by Cristyle Egitto

 Tickets & Passes
The Honda Classic offers a variety of ticketing options – you just have to decide on the experience you’re looking to create. Daily Grounds passes give overall access to the property, for walking alongside the players and visiting vendors, merchandise tents and viewing areas open to the public. Monday is free, Tuesday practice rounds are $20 and the Wednesday Pro-Am is $30, while tournament days Thursday through Friday are $50. These passes can be packaged into multi-day family packs and party packs based on the number of days and attendees in your group.

As a “thank you” to the servicemen and women of the United States Armed Forces, there are free ground passes with access to the Patriots Outpost viewing area available Thursday through Sunday for those actively serving or retired, along with their dependents. 

Fans at the Honda Classic
Photo by Cristyle Egitto

Where to Watch

Make sure to check out the upgraded hospitality options before you purchase your ticket, as there are a handful of credentialed venues to choose from. From the luxurious, all-inclusive, air-conditioned Legends Club and Champions Club situated on the 18th hole to the open-air Waterford Club overlooking the 17th hole, these elevated viewing areas will set you back a few hundred dollars a day but are the ultimate way to experience the Honda.      
 
I would be remiss to talk about The Honda Classic and not mention the infamous Bear Trap. Situated between the 16th hole and 17th tee box, this Goslings-sponsored party pad is hands down the most popular place to see and be seen Honda weekend. Paired with the Puma Golf Village, the Bear Trap offers open-air viewing with covered areas and stadium seating. Not for the faint of heart, the Bear Trap has exploded in recent years with an expanded deck and capacity. The weekend crowd brings high energy, loud fashion and a thirst for fun. The drink of choice? A Dark N’ Stormy made with Goslings dark rum and ginger beer.  

Godlings Tent at the Honda Classic Cristyle taking picture with a Bear
Photo by Cristyle Egitto

 What to Wear

The dress code for the weekend is smart casual. Being on the course, flats or athletic shoes are recommended, or wedges if you feel the need for height. There’s a lot of walking on grass and a lot of walking in general. Most men arrive in performance fabric polos and shorts, while ladies vary from athleisure to fashionable rompers and sundresses. The weather is typically warm and sunny, so don’t forget your sunscreen and sunglasses and keep fabrics light and airy. While some years have started with a morning chill, stick to layers as the afternoon tends to heat up. 

If you want to feel especially on-trend, Lilly Pulitzer releases a Honda Classic capsule collection each year before the event with items for men and women, including hats, tops and skorts in its custom tournament print. A percentage of the print’s sales go towards Honda Classic Cares, which distributes grants to local philanthropic organizations. The collection can be shopped in advance online, in local Lilly Pulitzer stores or in the Lilly Pulitzer Lounge near the 10th hole during the tournament. 

Player walking to tee box at the Honda Classic
Photo by Cristyle Egitto

Course Etiquette

While The Honda has become a known party spot, it’s important to keep in mind that this is a professional sporting event with players working and competing. Event staff have signage or raise their arms to indicate when the crowds need to maintain a low volume – especially during tee-offs – and fans should be respectful of the course and match play. Ropes and barriers are located along the course to direct foot traffic and protect the grounds and spectators. Rude or offensive behavior is heavily frowned upon, and inappropriate interactions with players may lead to attendee removal. 

As always, please drink responsibly and tip your bartender. 

 What to Eat

Concessions can be found throughout the course, as well as within the various hospitality activations. I love to hit the Champagne Lounge behind the 10th tee on my way in for a split sipper. Throughout the Champion Course are lounges like the Tito’s Stillhouse and The Oasis by Garden of Life by the 17th, Wright’s Way by the 11th and Corona Premier Clubhouse at 15 with dining and imbibing options. The Tavern on 16 features craft cocktails and bites by Salute Market, while The Terrace on the 9th hole provides all-day food and drink. I usually go for an Italian Sausage or Pulled Pork Sandwich at the Bear Trap, complete with chips, cookies and a drink.      

Concession items at the Honda Classic
Photo by Cristyle Egitto

 Getting There and Parking
If you plan to participate in the party side of The Honda Classic, I recommend ordering a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft. You can be dropped off fairly close to the action and already have a way to get home after drinking responsibly. 

General parking starts at $10 daily and is available at designated parking sites surrounding PGA National Resort & Spa. Upgraded parking near BallenIsles is available for $20 daily. Shuttle services offer free transportation to the main entry from satellite parking locations. Valet parking will run you $150 per day with parking on site. Weekly parking passes can also be purchased for those attending multiple days.

Good news, Honda and Acura owners –arrive in your Honda or Acura vehicle for free general parking!

Entrance of PGA National
Photo by Cristyle Egitto

Scorecard Notes

After the last putt, don’t miss the Tire Kingdom Fireworks Spectacular on Friday and Saturday nights, complete with live music after sundown, while surrounding preferred restaurants like La Masseria offer 19th hole festivities.     

The Honda Classic kicks off with its opening celebration on February 20, 2020, at 7 p.m. at The Gardens Mall. Enjoy cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, live music and a silent auction in the Grand Court. Tickets

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Image of woman Cristlye Egitto
Cristyle Egitto
Cristyle Egitto is a South Florida native, born in Miami, raised in Palm Beach and educated at the University of Florida. She founded the food blog EatPalmBeach in 2013 as a way to discover restaurants and culinary talents in the area while supporting local businesses. Her writing has appeared in various publications, and she has been featured on local TV and in multiple magazines.