After months of planning, the stage is set for the inaugural American Family Insurance Championship at University Ridge Golf Course.
"We've had to build ourselves a sporting venue," says tournament director Nate Pokrass. "Obviously, we've got a great golf course. We've got a nice clubhouse, a nice golf training center that allows us to have great access for the players, caddies, media officials, but, ultimately, all the hospitalities have to be constructed from the ground up. We've partnered with some great vendors. We worked a lot with the PGA Tour and have built ourselves an outstanding sports stadium here at University Ridge."
The first few days of the week will feature private events. The actual tournament begins Friday. It runs through Sunday. The field will consist of 81 players competing for a $2 million purse. Some of those players, such as Milwaukee native Skip Kendall, arrived in time to play a practice round on Monday.
"Oh yeah. It looks great," Kendall said as he prepared to play his first practice round. "I mean it looks great. I haven't been on the course yet, but just driving in, it looks like we're at a Tour event. That's the way it should be."
Pokrass is expecting a large turnout for the event.
"PGA Champions Tour events, benchmarks out there 10-15,000 per day are averages that we've seen in comparable markets. We know we'll be reaching that. I believe we'll be pushing well into 20,000 per day, especially on Saturday and Sunday. The sales have been strong. The weather is looking great. So, we know the crowds will be outstanding."
General admission for the event is $25 per day. Kids under the age of 15 are free. Military members also receive free admittance.