Barclays brings PGA’s best to Central Jersey
The event brings the top 125 professional golfers to the area, along with big crowds and ramped-up activity.
The Barclays' location rotates each year among a group of venues in New Jersey and New York.
It was last held at Plainfield Country Club in 2011, when Hurricane Irene forced the tournament to be reduced to 54 holes.
Organizers are hopeful for a much better forecast this time, with a full slate of activities leading up to Thursday’s first round.
Peter Mele, Executive Director/Vice President of The Barclays, said he and his staff have worked diligently to offer the most efficient ways to get fans in and out of Plainfield Country Club without causing mass gridlock.
“We try not to be overly impactful to the local community around the golf course because most of our parking is offsite, so we do a park-and-shuttle type system,” Mele said.
That general park-and-shuttle will be located at Oak Ridge Park in Clark. A free shuttle will be provided to-and-from New Jersey Transit’s Metropark. Full parking and visitor information can be found here.
A unique aspect of Plainfield Country Club is its physical location. The famed course is essentially nestled on the edges of Edison, South Plainfield, and Scotch Plains, with several other surrounding towns, including Clark, just a stone's throw away.
Mele credits those towns' officials for their cooperation in developing a comprehensive and cohesive plan to deal with the big crowds and congestion.
“We work very closely with the communities that we bring the tournament to every year,” Mele said.
He estimates a total of 130,000 to 140,000 visitors will turn out for the week’s events.
While that is, of course, more people than the area is used to this time of year, Mele is confident it will not affect daily life too much. Since Plainfield Country Club is a small, intimate venue, attendance is capped each day at 25,000.
When you combine that factor, along with the shuttle system, and star players such as Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Phil Mickelson having spread-out tee times, Mele is optimistic about the logistics.
“With golf going off at 7 in the morning until pretty much 7 at night, people come throughout the day,” Mele said. “So, the traffic isn’t that crush.”
He does concede that some local roads directly around the course may be affected during peak times, and exiting may have some higher volume, but officials do not believe it is anything they cannot handle.
Mele said that because all of the parking is offsite, most of the local golf traffic will consist of buses and shuttles.
“There’s some minor road closures during operating hours, but I don’t think it’s anything that outlandish,” he said.
Mele reiterated that the tee times of the marquee players will dictate the rush of crowds.
Officials estimate the lead-in events and tournament, which runs from Thursday to Sunday, will have an economic impact between $30 million and $40 million on the surrounding area.
And much to their delight, no hurricanes appear to be in the forecast this time around.