Every year, my family and I go to the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Edgewood Golf Course in Lake Tahoe. I’ve been to a few golf tournaments in my life, including a yearly visit to the Waste Management Phoenix Open, known to be the “biggest party on grass.” But to me, the ACC Tournament is, by far, the most fun.
Lake Tahoe during the summer is beautiful, and nothing beats being on that course with a lake view, perfect weather and a cold beer.
The turnout of celebrities is consistently exciting. You can park a chair, or a boat, and spend the day pointing and saying, “Hey, I know him/her!” Or, you can follow around your favorites and hope to snag a picture or autograph.
If you stay the night in Tahoe, chances are you might see a celebrity or two at the Harvey’s or Harrah’s casino after. Last year, I had a chance meeting with NFL linebacker A.J. Hawk while waiting outside one of the casinos for a cab. Hawk is known to tackle a lucky, or not so lucky, spectator every year.
This year, lots of construction was happening around the course that includes The Lodge development that is expected to be open in 2017. This includes guest rooms and cabins for rental along the fairways.
The 17th hole is lined by a beach occupied by of all kinds of party people, pulled up on the shore in their boats, ready to catch footballs and signed souvenirs from their favorite athletes. You may have seen the videos of Justin Timberlake, Steph Curry and Alfonso Ribeiro dancing together after all landing on the green. If not, you should.
Steph Curry was a crowd favorite. Everywhere he was, a crowd of kids eagerly followed, pining for autographs. Larry the Cable Guy, a natural comedian, didn’t go a hole without cracking a joke to the crowd or poking fun at his playing partners.
Steph Curry tees off from par 3 Hole 17 with his father, Dell Curry.
Larry the Cable Guy entertains onlookers after a poor finish on the 14th green.
What sets this tournament apart from any other is the infectious energy of every player and spectator. Not one player is unhappy to be there. Celebrities and athletes are more than willing to sign autographs and entertain the crowd. There truly is no other golf tournament in which its players are so relaxed and interactive with spectators. Aaron Rodgers even let a kid hang out with him while he played the 17th hole.
Aaron Rodgers and fan search for Rodgers' ball in the water.
Charles Barkley is a terrible golfer, but he loves the game so much he still comes out every year to play in this tournament, despite repeatedly landing at the bottom of the leaderboard.
But Barkley has been known to say that the ACC Championship is his favorite event on his calendar every year. I think it just might be mine, too.