The First State’s premier PGA Tour event might be the last place you want to be with more than 100,000 people expected to swarm Wilmington Country Club this week.
If you’re not a golf fan – or just want to avoid traffic jams – there are some hotspots you should avoid, primarily Kennett Pike in Greenville where the exclusive 335-acre property is nestled next to the Winterthur Museum , Garden & Library in the much vaunted Delaware Country Castle.
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Practice rounds begin Tuesday with doors opening at 8 a.m. and continuing until 6 p.m. The Gardner Heidrick Pro-Am Wednesday opens at 6:30 a.m. Both will air on the Golf Channel.
The 70-man tournament with $15 million in prize money runs Thursday through Sunday with gates opening at 8 a.m. Thursday and Friday and 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Those rounds will be split between NBC and Golf Channel for those watching from home.
The only planned road closure will be Kirk Road just south of the country club between Montchanin Road and Kennett Pike Monday through Sunday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., said Charles “CR” McLeod, a spokesman for DelDOT. Residents will have access to it at all times thanks to the identifiers that will have been issued to them.
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Buck Road, which is just south of Kirk Road and connects Montchanin Road and Kennett Pike will serve as a detour.
With no official public parking near the course, golf enthusiasts will be transported to Greenville from satellite parking lots. Given the number of fans expected, there may be traffic jams near these venues during peak hours.
General parking will be split between two locations: Delaware Park Lot G (777 Delaware Park Blvd., Stanton) to the south and Longwood Gardens Lot L (1010 East Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, PA) to the north. All drivers must pre-purchase parking ($10-$30) at bmwchampionship.com.
BMW owners have their own free priority parking option called O Lot, located at 3 Beaver Valley Road at the intersection of Concord Pike and Naamans Road in Brandywine Hundred. It is already full for Saturday and Sunday.
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Although there is no official public parking near the golf course, signs offering $50 on-site parking at the former site of the Twin Lakes Brewery (4210 Kennett Pike) about a mile north south of the tournament site were spotted.
Ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft will only be permitted to drop off spectators at the designated drop-off/pick-up location approximately half a mile north of the country club at 4901 Kennett Pike.
DelDOT will not do any construction west of Del. 141 throughout the week, McLeod said.
He warned that there may be intermittent lane changes on Kennett Pike in front of Wilmington Country Club to ease the flow of shuttles while maintaining through traffic.
“It will be busier than normal but manageable,” he said.
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Traffic around the Delaware park will likely be heavier than normal, according to McLeod, and DelDOT will have staff on hand to help.
Additional parking lots in use this week include the south end of the Concord Mall (volunteers), the east lots of downtown Brandywine (hospitality) and Alexis I. du Pont High School (media).
As the penultimate event of the PGA Tour’s FedexCup Playoffs, the BMW Championship will feature the top 70 players on the FedexCup leaderboard. The top 30 players after the tournament will advance to the PGA Tour Championship on August 25 in Atlanta.
The unique Delaware event is estimated to bring more than $30 million to the Wilmington area economy.
This will be the third time in five years that the BMW Championship has been held on the East Coast. The tournament is usually played on courses in the Midwest.
Wilmington Country Club’s South Course is one of the best courses in the United States, according to Golf Digest, and although it has never hosted a professional event, it has hosted prestigious amateur events, including the US Women’s Amateur 1913, US Junior 1965 and 1978. Amateur, US Amateur 1971, US Girls’ Junior Amateur 1978 and US Mid-Amateur 2003.
Wilmington Country Club also hosted the 2013 Palmer Cup between the United States and Europe. This American team included 2019 BMW champion Justin Thomas, who is currently in the top 10 of the FedexCup rankings, managed by Scottie Scheffler.
Siera Jones contributed to this report. Do you have a story idea? Contact Ryan Cormier of The News Journal at email@example.com or (302) 324-2863. Follow him on Facebook (@ryancormier) and Twitter (@ryancormier).