The Charles Schwab Challenge is back in full swing.
The PGA Tour’s annual stop at Fort Worth’s famed Colonial Country Club returns to full capacity crowds and normal operating procedures for the first time since 2019.
As always, Colonial has drawn a solid field of the top golfers in the world, including a recent commitment from No. 8-ranked Justin Thomas. Local favorite Jordan Spieth of Dallas looks to become a two-time winner. He won in 2016 and has runner-up finishes in 2017 and 2021.
“It feels like it did two-and-a-half years ago,” said Michael Tothe, Colonial’s tournament director. “We’re looking forward to welcoming fans back with no limitations. We just want them to come and enjoy golf and enjoy the tournament. Have a cold beer, have a margarita, venture out to No. 13, meet a friend … just enjoy Colonial for the day.”
The tournament begins Thursday and runs through Sunday. Gates open at 6 a.m. each day.
Welcome, Heim: Heim Barbecue is the latest addition among food options available across the course. Heim’s food truck will be stationed at the driving range. It’s the first time Heim has been available during the tournament. … Another concession stand of note is located off No. 8 green called the “Oasis” where fans 21 and older can sample Michelob Ultra Seltzers. … Colonial’s concessions accept credit or debit cards only, no cash.
The 5: Schwab Performance Center: Since becoming the tournament’s title sponsor in 2019, Charles Schwab has leaned into the history of the Colonial and Fort Worth legend Ben Hogan. Hogan won the tournament a record five times.
So “The 5” is what the central fan experience zone is called these days near No. 10 tee and the lower practice putting green. In this area, fans can test Titleist’s newest clubs; hit into simulators of Colonial’s iconic 13th hole or No. 18; and even use one of Ben Hogan’s actual putters in a putting contest.
‘79 Schwab Firebird: The 2022 champion will drive away in a restored 1979 Schwab Firebird. The car will be on display all week at the No. 10 tee. … Eleven of the newest Lexus vehicles on display across the course.
New bar: The tournament has a new bar that is open for all fans off No. 17 tee called the 1936 Colonial Bar. It’s sponsored by Crown Royal. … For fans with a Citi credit or debit card, they’ll have access to the “Citi Lounge” off No. 10.
New logo: Colonial is introducing a secondary logo this year, playing off the course’s signature “Horrible Horseshoe” (Holes No. 3, 4, 5 that make a horseshoe around the driving range). Fans of the tournament will have an opportunity to purchase merchandise with this logo on tumblers, shirts and hats.
Sunday flyover: With the tournament being played over Memorial Day weekend, there will be a moment of silence followed by a flyover at approximately 2 p.m. Sunday.
Staying protected: The course will have complimentary sunscreen stations across the grounds. There are sunscreen stations at the clubhouse entrance; rideshare entrance; Palmer Village off No. 13 green; and Crenshaw Village at No. 16 green.
Autograph zones: The tournament will have a couple of autograph zones for children. One is at the lower putting green by No. 10 tee and the other is located by No. 4 by the driving range.
Don’t forget: As always, a popular photo opportunity remains the Ben Hogan statue at the clubhouse above No. 18 green. Additionally, the pro shop will be open all week for fans to purchase merchandise.
Places to watch
The Star-Telegram’s top three viewing sites:
No. 13: If you’re a fan of people watching, this is the spot to be. This is known as the “party hole” and it’s worth seeing the atmosphere and rowdiness. Plus, it provides a good challenge for the players. It’s a 190-yard par-3 over water that could spoil a round.
No. 4 green, No. 5 tee: This is for a true golf fan who enjoys seeing the best players in the world challenged. These are two of the toughest holes on the course and it’s typically not too crowded in these parts. An added bonus is that Heim BBQ is nearby.
No. 18, No. 9: You can’t go wrong with the finishing hole on either nine. There are bleachers for fans on both holes and each feature water hazards that players must avoid on their approach shots.
Places to park
Arguably the best transportation to and from Colonial is via a rideshare service (Uber, Lyft) as there is a dedicated dropoff entrance near No. 2 tee box on Colonial Parkway.
Off-site parking lots, which include round-trip shuttle service, are available at Rockwood Lane ($25 per day) or the TCU garage ($75 per day). Valet parking at the course is available for $150 per day.
All parking can be purchased at charlesschwabchallenge.com through Ticketmaster.
Did you know?
Five facts to know about the Colonial’s history:
▪ The par-3 4th, which plays 247 yards from the back tees, is the only hole that has never been eagled throughout tournament history. It’s been the third-toughest hole throughout history, trailing only No. 5 and No. 3. But the other toughest “eagle” on the course is the par-4 12th, which has been eagled just twice. No. 5 has surrendered eight eagles, while No. 3 has been eagled five times.
▪ No player has aced No. 4 but there have been 32 holes in one throughout the 75-year history. The last ace was by Sung Kang at No. 13 in 2020. There have been 13 aces at No. 13; 10 aces at No. 16; and nine aces at No. 8.
▪ Ben Hogan is the only player to successfully defend his title. He won consecutive Colonials twice in his career (1946-47 and 1952-53).
▪ Only seven players have won their first PGA Tour event at the Colonial. Sergio Garcia is the last to accomplish the feat in 2001. The others were Roberto De Vicenzo (1957), Dave Stockton (1967), Rod Curl (1974), Dan Pohl (1986), Keith Clearwater (1987) and Ian Baker-Finch (1989).
▪ The lowest 72-hole total is 21-under 259 by Zach Johnson in 2010. Justin Rose’s victory in 2018 ranks second (20-under 260). The worst 72-hole score posted? Johnny Palmer’s 51-over 331 in 1964. Palmer, who won the tournament in 1954, had scores of 87-81-82-81 in 1964.