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November 2021

World's Largest Pro-Am Presents Food And Beverage Challenges

By Steve Eubanks

How do you feed the world’s largest pro-am? 

To answer that, you have to start with, what and where is the world’s largest pro-am in the first place? The answer is: Galloway, New Jersey, during the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer, a 54-hole women’s event on the old Donald Ross-designed Dolce Seaview Resort, within sight of the Atlantic City skyline. The event, which has been on the LPGA Tour schedule since the mid-1980s, has always been a nice stop. But it only makes sense from a sponsorship standpoint because of what happens the Wednesday and Thursday before.

“Probably seven years ago we started thinking, there can’t be an event with a bigger pro-am than this one,” said tournament director Bill Hansen only moments after getting 800 amateurs out onto three golf courses for the two-day event. “There are bigger am-ams and that sort of thing on a Monday after a tournament. But I can’t think of another event where they’re flying in 125 pros who are not in a tournament field to hold a pro-am on three courses over two days. It’s almost like six separate pro-ams. We realized that there wasn’t anything close, so we started calling it the world’s largest pro-am. Certainly, the PGA Tour or the Champions Tour would never do anything like this.”

So when you throw in volunteers and staff, the number of people being fed exceeds 1,000 for two days. How do you do it? 

“We open the biggest banquet room in the hotel,” Hansen said. “And we have two separate facilities, one at the Dolce Seaview (hotel) and once at Galloway National. Between the two, it’s a massive undertaking. There are also plenty of vendors on the golf courses. ShopRite has (grocery store) outlets from Massachusetts to Maryland all their vendors want stations on the courses. So even if you didn’t go through the buffet lines, you aren’t going hungry.

“Then we have the hotels in Atlantic City involved for the evenings. They’re accustomed to feeding even larger groups than this. So it’s a big undertaking but we have partners who make it work.”

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