Monday, November 29, 2010

TCU Tailgate and Visitors Guide

TCU Guide UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Congrats to TCU on selection to the Big East Conference. I'll be adding a new TCU Guide over the next 2-3 months. I have been to TCU and can easily say it will become one the favorite road game trips for Big East Fans.


TCU sits south of down Fort Worth. Fort Worth is said to be where the west begins. There is so much to do here. For Big East visiting fans this should be one of the trips you decide to add a few extra days to your trip. I recommend staying and checking out all that Fort Worth has to offer. From the Fort Worth Visitors Guide:
Five distinct, world-class museums anchor a park-like setting in Fort Worth's Cultural District. The Amon Carter Museum, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, the Kimbell Art Museum, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame offer a wide variety of experiences and masterpieces to thrill the senses and expand the mind.

TCU CAMPUS--One of the Prettiest in the Big East

First Things First: GETTING THERE

The closest Big East School is Louisville and that is still about 850 miles. So unless you live near Ft Worth you most likely will be flying in. You really only have two options: Dallas Fort Worth International or Love Field.

Dallas Forth Worth International AKA DFW

DFW is located about 15-20 miles northeast of Fort Worth and ground transportation is limited to Fort Worth. If you are staying in downtown Fort Worth the (Trinity Railway Express) train might be a viable option. From airline terminals: Airline travelers arriving at DFW Airport board Remote South buses at designated stops in the terminal. Buses depart the terminals approximately every 15 minutes. At Remote South, passengers connect to buses serving the CentrePort/DFW Airport Station. Buses to CentrePort/DFW Airport Station depart Remote South every 15 minutes. Note: No service on Sunday so your return trip might be affected. Another service is the airporter which offers pickup/delivery service from Fort Worth downtown hotels and DFW. More info about DFW ground transport options to include rental cars is here.

Dallas Love Field

If you fly Southwest Airlines you'll be flying into Dallas Love Field. It is located near downtown Dallas and ground transportation options for those going to Fort Worth is pretty much rental car or taxi. It is located about 40-45 miles from TCU and you'll be driving in urban/suburban traffic the whole way.
So plan carefully if using Love Field.


If you have time and are adventurous you can look into Amtrak Train service into Fort Worth. The train station is downtown near the convention center.

TCU STADIUM INFO AND DIRECTIONS

TCU's historic Amon G. Carter Stadium is on campus and lends a great game day environment. It is undergoing a huge renovation and should be ready for TCU's inaugural season in the Big East in 2012. Tickets will be incredibly hard to come by in 2011 as capacity will temporarily be reduced to the low 30's in 2011. I highly recommend visiting fans buy their tickets through their own university in 2011.

TAILGATING:


TCU has a great tailgating environment. A nice overview from a few years ago shows a commitment to large scale tailgating rarely seen in the Big East. Various groups are detailed here...Big East schools the bar has been raised. Note: Be advised due to construction many tailgate locations listed in the articles will be changed.

NOTE: I will be expanding this section late summer 2011 as more info is released about tailgating. The on going Amon Carter Stadium construction is sure to impact some the past tailgate lots and traffic flow.



Tailgating at TCU

TAILGATE SUPPLIES
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The closest places to pick up tailgate supplies: There are several convenience stores and a newly updated Kroger at University and Berry (campus) to buy beer. The Kroger near campus has a great selection of craft beers. The old Albertson's a few blocks of campus has recently been converted also into a Kroger.  This one specializes in gourmet items.  Bluebonnet Liquor and King's Liquor are also close to campus for your liquor needs. Goody Goody Liquor is a big liquor store in the shopping center at I-20 and Hulen, and they have a great selection of beer, liquor and wine.  The closest Walmarts are located a few miles away.

Scalpers and You:

Scalping tickets is generally legal in Texas. Just don't scalp next to the stadium in full view of the Police...you are asking for trouble.  Some suggested areas to look:  On S. University Dr.(next to the campus) driving south from I-30.  Cantey Street between University and Stadium Drive is the hot spot.  Check right in front of the University Christian Church on Cantey Street and also walk along Cantey Street.  Next place is to try around the stadium but just be mindful to do it discretely.  Another area is near the Will Call area at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum (DMC) which is just southeast of the stadium.  Finally, it you are tailgating it is always possible to find a single or a pair fairly easily among fans in the tailgate lots.  If you plan ahead you can buy tickets through resale sites like www.fansnap.com.

Since buying/reselling tickets is illegal in TX you can save this for future use at other locales. A few tried and true techniques to get the best price buying I have used: 1. Know what a legit ticket looks like 2. Buy from your own fan base first 3. The smaller the group the smaller the price--single tickets are cheapest 4. Prices usually peak 1-2 hours before kickoff--inside an hour the closer to game time the cheaper the ticket, right after kickoff they plummet to near nothing 5. A fan walking to the stadium in with a group of friends and still holding extra tickets to sell will usually dump them for a cheap price (they do not want to miss the game and often they are doing a favor for a buddy to sell them) usually you'll spot them holding a finger or two out to their side or over their head or saying selling one, etc... 6. If you have to deal with a professional scalper--NEVER give him what he asks, have a seating chart with you, check to make sure all tickets are really together and for that game, offer him lower and be prepared to walk away, after you turn and walk away more than half the time in my experience they'll give in and take your offer, if you can afford to wait...wait inside 20 minutes to kickoff as see the prices drop (assess the situation for the number of tickets available, how many you need before employing that strategy) 7. Don't be embarrassed to go back to a scalper to buy ticket(s) 10 minutes after you said no to his previous offer 8. Don't fall for their tactics to make you feel like you're ripping them off by only offering $20 a ticket, etc...they love to play games with your self-image and ego.

Lodging: Close By Campus

The closest decent lodging is about 1.5 miles north of the campus along North University Drive. Motels in that area are:
Courtyard Fort Worth University Drive, Springhill Suites Fort Worth University, Homestead Studio Fort Worth Medical Area, and Fairfield Inn and Suites. If you are in good shape several of these motels are within walking distance of the stadium.

Lodging: Downtown


Staying in downtown Fort Worth is another option. It is located about 4-5 miles northeast of TCU. The downtown area is vibrant and offers big city sophistication. The Omni Forth Worth and Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel come recommended.

Lodging: Fort Worth Stockyards Area

Staying at the Fort Worth Stockyards Area is a perfect way to spend a long weekend. It is located about 8 miles north of TCU and staying here should allow the visiting fan to really soak in Texas Culture. This linked map will show you the motels located around the stockyards. If you are still unsure try reading up and seeing if the Stockyards are right for you.

Dining: West 7th St. Area

West 7th St. is located about 3 miles north of campus. It is the new, trendy area to go. Lots of good places and great people watching here.

The best burger in town just might be Fred's in the W. 7th St. Area. A little west is Kincaid's Hamburgers and they also have their fans. Delaney's Irish Pub has good pub food and lost of TVs to watch football on game day.

Dining: Campus Area

Charley's Old Fashion Hamburgers is located is south of campus near I-20 but is worth the drive for great burgers.

Barbecue: A Texas Tradition

Texas BBQ is all about beef with a little sausage and maybe cabrito thrown in for variety. Brisket is a Texas Specialty and you need to try it.

The Railhead Restaurant offers great BBQ just north of the Campus. A little further north is Angelo's Barbecue and they have been around since 1958 serving up great food. Riscky's Barbeque serves up BBQ, burgers and Steak at locations in Downtown and by the Stockyards. Also, in the Stockyard's is Cooper's Old Time Pit BBQ. Like Rudy's below they serve meat sliced in front of you by weight. One unusual thing about Cooper's is they also served Cabrito (young goat). It is actually very good.



Cooper's Old Time Pit BBQ: Smoked Meat Cut to order

Rudy's "Country Store" and Bar-B-Q is new to the Metroplex. If you are heading to the Arlington Area along I-20 be sure to stop in. Being a Yankee myself the first time you visit here will be different than up North. You need to come in and be ready to tell them how much meat (by weight) and sides you want. If you are military or retired be sure to ask for your discount. If you have time (45 mins SW of FW) be sure to drive to Stephenville, TX for Hard Eight BBQ. It is worth the trip. Finally, if you are near the DFW Airport North Main Street BBQ is definitely worth a visit.



Hard Eight BBQ: Smoking Meat the Tejas Way

GOLF


Due to Fort Worth's southern location you can expect consistently warm weather golfing through Halloween. November will be mostly good weather with some days warm and other days cool. Occasionally, November can bring a strong cold front but definitely you should bring your sticks when coming to a TCU game anytime during football season.

Fossil Creek Golf Course
: One of the nicer layouts in Fort Worth. If you want a nice challenge this is the place.


Just the way golf was meant to be, Fossil Creek will challenge golfers of every ability. Gorgeous rolling fairways and 18 testing holes all intertwined throughout streams created by Fossil Creek. This exclusive par 72 public course, designed by America's foremost golf legend, Arnold Palmer, winds its way through 1150 acres of natural Texas terrain.

Surrounded by rocky-ledged creeks and crystal lakes, gently contoured bluffs and massive trees, each of the 18 holes at The Golf Club at Fossil Creek issues the premier challenge to experienced and beginning golfers alike.





Fossil Creek--18 Hole Layout

Pecan Valley Golf Course: One of the best Municipal golf courses in Fort Worth. It is located about 15 mins southwest of TCU.
Originally designed by Golf Course Architect Ralph Plummer in 1963, there are two 18 hole golf courses separated by the Clear Fork of the Trinity River. The "River" Course, considered one of the top municipal courses in Texas, plays to about 6,100 yards from the Regular (White) Tees and can be extended to 6,600 yards from the Championship (Blue) Tees. Play from the Forward (Red) Tees is just under 5,600 yards.

The "Hills" Course, where the back nine holes designed by Golf Course Architect Dave Bennet, were added in 1982 and is approximately 150 yards shorter than the River Course. Several hundred trees have been planted and are just beginning to mature which will improve playing conditions in the years to come.

Tierra Verde Golf Course: Located east of Fort Worth in Arlington and is an exceptional course and worth the drive.
It's hard to find a more beautiful course than the award-winning Tierra Verde Golf Club. Tierra Verde is the first golf course in Texas and the first municipal course in the world to be certified as an Audubon Signature Sanctuary. Walk onto the first tee and enter an environment where golf and nature come together in harmony. Opened in 1998, and carved from 250 acres of secluded terrain, the course's unsurpassed layout encompasses a variety of natural settings and offers an outstanding playing experience on every hole. Each hole has five sets of tees, sculpted fairways, strategically placed sand bunkers and water hazards - all accented by stately trees and beautiful native grasses.

Tierra Verde:  Be Sure To Pack Your Sand Wedge

Southern Oaks Golf Course: Located south of town in Burleson. It is a very good course and a good value.
Designed by PGA Champion Mark Brooks, Southern Oaks Golf Club was inspired by the simple elegance of early American courses and the time-honored links of Scotland. This spectacular daily-fee course combines timeless, classic golf course architecture with modern facilities and amenities.

Encompassing 300 acres, the lands natural features are artfully modified and arranged to produce an intriguing and visually striking golf course that assimilates the scenic beauty of the local terrain. The course is built on softly rolling landscape that is beautifully framed by centuries-old trees and intermittently intersected by Village Creek. Mark Brooks skillful design blends these elements to create a course of exceptional character with a wonderful balance of long and short holes.



Z. Boaz Golf Course
This course is suitable for the hacker and is fairly inexpensive.
Z. Boaz is located in the west sector of the City, surrounded by a network of major traffic arteries. This 18 hole regulation length facility was designed by Golf Course Architect John Bredemus. The original design of the course featured small greens, minimum trapping and few hazards. The par 70 course plays to a length of 6,033 yards from the Championship (Blue) tees, 5,655 yards from the Regular (White) tees and 4,782 from the Forward (Red) tees.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

WVU Tailgate and Visitors Guide '10


Morgantown Click to enlarge
Image from www.retirewv.org

This is one of a series of tailgating guides for Big East football schools written by Syracuse fan and tailgate aficionado TexanMark. If you have any feedback or additional information you think belongs in this guide, please drop an email message to Mark by clicking here.

First Things First: GETTING THERE
If you’re a Pitt fan, finding Morgantown is easy and fairly painless. For the rest of us it is much more involved. The airfares into Morgantown (MGW) can be very expensive. Morgantown has scheduled service with United with daily flights to Washington DC (Dulles-IAD) on commuter aircraft. Probably the easiest way to fly there is to fly in and out of Pittsburgh International and rent a car.

For the rest of us, we drive from our homes. Here is a sample list of travel times by car: Pittsburgh 1 ¼ hrs, Washington DC 3.5 hrs, Cincinnati 5.5 hrs, Syracuse 7 hrs, Northern New Jersey 7 hrs.

This link has some good directions from the interstates. West Virginia offers a tremendous Football Game day environment. Since Morgantown is relatively small, the whole town is involved with the Mountaineers. It is very similar to how smaller cities within the SEC take to their teams.

From the Regional Research Institute: “WVU is easily Morgantown's leading employer. When school is in session, Morgantown's population jumps from 29,000 to 50,000. The city is located in the north central part of West Virginia, within 10 miles of the Pennsylvania border and 30 miles from Maryland. It stands near the corner of Interstates 68 and 79, but the more important intersection historically was the confluence of the Monongahela River and Decker's Creek.”

Campus Info:

In order to gain an understanding of how Mountaineer Field sits in the Campus you must first become familiar with the two campuses. A good view of the two campuses and the unique Personal Rapid Transit (PRT).




Two Campuses: Downtown on left, Evansdale on right--click to enlarge


Walnut Street PRT Monorail Station (Downtown Morgantown)

From the Regional Research Institute:
“The university's downtown campus lies on the northern edge of the city's small central business district, and a more striking setting for a university is hard to imagine. Dating to 1870, WVU looks like the Ivy League.
Campus streets lead uphill from downtown to hills and more hills. (After four years at WVU you not only would have a bachelor's degree, but Olympic-class leg muscles as well.)

At the crest of one landscape-dominating mound is Woodburn Circle, comprising three of the university's oldest buildings, which stand like three distinguished professors posing for a yearbook photo, overlooking the city and the Monongahela Valley.

In the 1950s, WVU ran out of room to expand, and a second campus - the Evansdale Campus - was initiated three miles to the north. Unfortunately, the Ivy League architecture stayed downtown. The new campus buildings are more functional and, well, dull. Except for the coliseum, it is on a hilltop is visible for miles. The coliseum looks like a concrete UFO. Saucer-shaped, big enough to hold 14,000 beings, it appears to be merely parked there, waiting for a call from its home planet.

(A WVU alumni friend, whose devotion to the university's sports teams is fanatical, insists that the true atmosphere of the university is revealed on any given football Saturday, when its Mountaineer Stadium is filled with 60,000 people chanting "Let's go, Mountaineers" and the prize-winning marching band performs.)
When WVU began operating two separate campuses, it needed a way to connect them. It was too far to walk, the hills discouraged bicycling and shuttle buses had problems on the narrow streets.

So in 1975 planners created the Personal Rapid Transit system, which is essentially a horizontal elevator. You put 50 cents into the turnstile (WVU students use a "Mountaineer Card") (Editor Note: the PRT is FREE on game day) and select your station, just as you would choose a floor in a high-rise. You wait for a yellow, electric-powered, rubber-tired car about the size of a soccer mom's SUV to sidle up to the platform. And off you go, even though there's no driver at the wheel - and there's no wheel.

The PRT system runs about nine miles from the medical center through the old campus to downtown. Most of the passengers are WVU students and staff, but anyone may use the system.”



West Virginia University Main Campus

Game Day Tailgating/Parking:


Parking on Campus--printable PDF with comments

Like most big time programs the ability of visiting fans to park near the stadium is extremely limited. Unlike some other Big East programs tailgating is very common and fairly easy to do. The close in parking lots are the haven for the season pass holders and the well connected. Some people like to park elsewhere and then wander over to the Blue Lot for the vendors selling food. The Blue Lot used to be referred to as "the Pit" and was home to a lot of rowdies. WVU cracked down on the rowdy behavior a few years ago. It is much tamer now but instead of a concentrated area of rowdy behavior it has dispersed into lots all around. Morgantown unlike other Big East cities turns into a huge tailgate around the city. If you have a good sense of humor you shouldn't have any real problems. One way to make friends with the natives is to buy some Pepperoni Rolls and share them. These WV favorites sound like the perfect tailgate food as they do not require refrigeration. BTW, most of the rowdy students have moved to the nearby apartment complexes and other private lots.

The Party in the Parking Lot
Using the “KISS” principle (Keep It Simple Stupid), I suggest first time visiting fans park in the free parking lots surrounding the Basketball Coliseum. It is located about ¾ miles away from Mountaineer Field and is an easy landmark for visitors to find. RV Note for the Coliseum Parking Lots: There is now a $40 charge for RV's. But, that $40 fee is good for the whole weekend, Fri - Sun. RV's in coliseum parking must park in an area near the stoplight at Patteson Drive. There are other free lots at the Evansdale Campus if you want a spot with better shade (these lots surround many of the academic buildings southeast of the coliseum). The Coliseum/Evansdale Campus Shuttles run continuously, starting about two and one half hours before kickoff and of course run after the game. The roundtrip cost is $4.00. WVU provides you a list of rules and suggestions to make your trip to the stadium stress free.

From the Official MSN WVU Website

2010 Football Parking Information

Parking changes now in effect

# The Green lot (off Van Voorhis Road) opens at 6 pm for RVs and a single-game RV pass is $100. The Green lot opens at 7 pm for cars. Bus parking is available in the Green lot for $50. Recreational vehicles who don’t have a season pass should park in the WVU Coliseum lots. The White lot, located off of Oakland St., will accept game-day passes for $40. This is a car-only lot.

The new parking garage will also be available to Green lot users for $40.

# The Gold lot (Area 72, adjacent to the Facilities Management Building in front of ERC/Towers) and the Purple lot (Areas 52 and 61 behind Sheetz on Route 705) will have limited spaces available to purchase single game parking passes. Passes will be sold for $20, and the Gold and Purple lots are car-only lots.

# Small tents may be erected in designated areas only and may not be larger than 12' x 12'. A parking permit for the designated lot is required to erect a tent and the vehicle must be parked adjacent to the tent. Tents may only be erected after 7 a.m. on game day.

Recreational vehicle parking

# Lots open for recreational vehicles at 6 p.m. on the Friday before the game (except for the Colorado game).

# Recreational vehicles are 20 feet or longer. Vans are considered cars.

# Trailers are permitted in the Red, Green and Coliseum lots only.

# Car passes may not be upgraded to RV passes.

# RV passes may not be used for cars.

# RV parking at the WVU Coliseum is now $40 in designated parking areas only. RVs parking at the WVU Coliseum will be issued a special pass when arriving and upon receiving payment.

# All RVs must now be parked three hours prior to kick-off.

Other Parking information

# Parking pass is not valid for limousines.

# Free parking is available in the lots adjacent to the WVU Coliseum. A shuttle service to the stadium is available for $4 round trip.

# No tent can be erected in parking spaces or in such a manner to impede the flow of traffic. Open fires in the parking lots are also not permitted.

# Parking passes are limited to one space per pass. Tailgate gatherings are not permitted to overflow into adjacent parking space and/or drive lanes.

# Parking by Ruby Day Care Center or anywhere on Hospital Drive will require a pass. All cars without a pass will be towed to the Coliseum at owners expense.

# Games involving the consumption of alcohol are not permitted in any of the University-operated parking lots.

# Fires are not permitted in any of the University-operated parking lots.

Handicapped Parking

# Handicap parking is available for single-game purchase ($20) on a limited basis at the WVU Law School (Brown Lot). Handicap-accessible vans will provide transportation from the Blue and Brown lots to the stadium gates.

# A handicap-accessible shuttle bus will provide transportation to and from the WVU Coliseum.

# Handicap parking will require the following admission to the appropriate lot:

-- WVU issued color-coded parking permit

-- Valid state-issued handicap parking placard or license plate

-- Valid state-issued handicap parking registration card

-- Photo ID of the handicapped permit holder (the photo ID must match the handicap parking registration card and permit holder must be in vehicle)

-- Handicap permit holders will be required to park in the spots reserved for handicap parking only. This will be strictly enforced.

If you arrive early ('eers start early-- 7 am for an afternoon or evening kickoff is considered normal) and want to get in a WVU lot closer to the stadium you can try the Gold or Purple Lots: NOTE from the MSN Website: "•The Gold lot (Area 72, adjacent to the Facilities Management Building in front of ERC/Towers) and the Purple lot (Areas 52 and 61 behind Sheetz on Route 705) will have limited spaces available to purchase single game parking passes. Passes will be sold for $20, and the Gold and Purple lots are car-only lots." The University’s sports website states, “Private Parking (not affiliated with WVU): is available for a fee at several locations along Patteson Drive, Van Voorhis Road, W.Va. Route 705, University Avenue, Don Nehlen Drive, Willowdale Road and other areas near the stadium.” Two suggestions: The first one is located across from the Kroger Grocery Store on Patteson Ave. It is a strip shopping center (Rite Aid, Boston Beanery Restaurant and Radio Shack). Expect to pay about $10-20. You can obviously get beer and other tailgate supplies at the Kroger. The White Birch Office Tower is located north of the stadium at 1255 Pineview. Parking costs about $10.

A very good article about the West Virginia Game Day experience was written by a Washington Post reporter a few years ago. Tailgating in its finest form is found in Morgantown, all Big East fans need to circle this game on their calendar to do. One last option is to park in downtown Morgantown and ride the PRT. The PRT will take you the PRT Health Sciences Center Station which is about 1/4 mile north of the stadium.

Low Hassle Shuttle Alternative

The Mountain Line Transit Authority (click on Football Shuttle link on right side at MLTA website) provides shuttles to all WVU Football home games. Shuttle buses pick up passengers at the lower entrance to Mountaineer Mall (5000 Greenbag Road Morgantown , West Virginia 26501) . Cost per passenger is $3.00 round trip, children 5 and under ride free. Shuttles will begin two hours before kickoff. The return trips will begin at the start of the fourth quarter and run for one hour after the game.

More notes from their website: All Buses are fully accessible to persons with mobility impairments. Parking is free at the Mountaineer Mall. Buses run every 10 minutes to the game. Buses operate return trips beginning at the start of the fourth quarter and run for one hour after the game. Buses load and unload under Ruby Hospital Canopy (a short walk north of the stadium). Accessible buses are available for transport from the Blue Lot to both East & West Gates (please notify shuttle driver of your needs)


Mountaineer Field The Big East's Largest Crowds are here!

Milan Puskar Stadium has been around since 1980 but has been enlarged and modernized.


TAILGATE SUPPLIES



Get WVU Gear Like This at College Flags and Banners

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College Flags and Banners Co. is the ultimate source for your tailgate. They offer a huge selection of college flags and banners including: Army, Cincinnati, Connecticut, ECU, Louisville, Memphis, Navy, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, USF, and WVU. Plus everything else you need for game day, from tailgating flagpoles and wheel stands to conference pennant sets. All products are officially licensed and ship within 24 hours. Order today and relieve 10% off your order by typing in coupon code "MARK10" at checkout.

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Other Sports Flags:
Sports Flags and Pennants Co. is the premium source for all of your NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and NASCAR flags and pennants. Fast, secured shipping to your doorstep and all products are officially licensed. Through our site we are offering a coupon code for 10% off your order. Just enter "MARK10" at checkout.

The closest places to pick up tailgate supplies: Kroger Grocery Store on the west side of the stadium (350 Patteson Ave). It is open 24/7. On the north side of the stadium is a Sheetz Convenience Store on the north side of the stadium. On the west side of town in Granville is a WalMart SuperCenter.

TAILGATEWIKI--Total Tailgating Resource


Tailgatewiki.com is designed loosely on the wikipedia concept that anyone with internet access is considered an expert in the field and can contribute their personal knowledge in an online arena. Wikipedia covers all areas whereas Tailgate Wiki focuses on tailgating and improving the game day atmosphere. Because many fans follow their team when they play on the road, Tailgate Wiki will serve as a resource for those fans to understand what to expect when they get there. Kind of like having a friend in every city, at every stadium, giving you the inside scoop on the best places to park, tailgating policies and much more. This is all user generated content and the goal is to benefit the entire tailgating community.

Scalpers and You: From the University website:
The scalping of tickets on University property is forbidden. Violators are subject to removal from University property. No solicitation of any kind is permitted in the parking lots or stadium. Individuals discovered soliciting will be asked to cease or will be removed.
You have been warned.

Scalping tickets is illegal in WV. Reality is it is tolerated around the stadium on gameday. The blue lot(the lot located between Puskar Stadium and Ruby Memorial Hospital) is very popular for ticket selling. Another place for scalpers is on Patteson Drive. The road runs between the Coliseum and the stadium. You can find scalpers there with signs.

Since buying/reselling tickets is illegal in WV you can save this for future use at other locales. A few tried and true techniques to get the best price buying I have used: 1. Know what a legit ticket looks like 2. Buy from your own fan base first 3. The smaller the group the smaller the price--single tickets are cheapest 4. Prices usually peak 1-2 hours before kickoff--inside an hour the closer to game time the cheaper the ticket, right after kickoff they plumment to near nothing 5. A fan walking to the stadium in with a group of friends and still holding extra tickets to sell will usually dump them for a cheap price (they do not want to miss the game and often they are doing a favor for a buddy to sell them) usually you'll spot them holding a finger or two out to their side or over their head or saying selling one, etc... 6. If you have to deal with a professional scalper--NEVER give him what he asks, have a seating chart with you, check to make sure all tickets are really together and for that game, offer him lower and be prepared to walk away, after you turn and walk away more than half the time in my experience they'll give in and take your offer, if you can afford to wait...wait inside 20 minutes to kickoff as see the prices drop (assess the situation for the number of tickets available, how many you need before employing that strategy) 7. Don't be embarrassed to go back to a scalper to buy ticket(s) 10 minutes after you said no to his previous offer 8. Don't fall for their tactics to make you feel like you're ripping them off by only offering $20 a ticket, etc...they love to play games with your self-image and ego.

Finally, be sure to visit Larry and his crew and say hi at his WVU tailgate website.



'Eers Know How To Have Fun On Saturday!


LODGING:

Like most small towns it will be next to impossible to find a room if you look a week out. If you are a fan of historic, restored hotels Morgantown has the Clarion Hotel Morgan. It is within walking distance of the PRT. The Hampton Inn is very close to the stadium and might be a good option if you get lucky with a reservation. The Residence Inn by Marriott opened in 2006 and is also very close to the stadium but it sells out quickly. And a newly renamed 16 story Waterfront Place Hotel (nee Radisson) has opened in the Wharf District downtown. New to 2009 is a Microtel Inn near the Mall. Recent new additions are the Hilton Garden Inn in the Suncrest Town Center and the Fairfield Inn and Suites near the University Town Centre. Your best resource is to use the local visitors' guide. Last resort if you strike out, try looking for some "Mom and Pop" Motels near Morgantown.

Waterfront Place Hotel
If you decide to travel to Morgantown at the last minute: first see if you can find any cancellations at the motels in Morgantown. If you strike out, you’ll need to try outlying areas.

If you are traveling in from Pittsburgh and points north and east try these three cities: Washington, PA for motels, Waynesburg, PA for motels, and Uniontown, PA for motels.

If you are traveling from the south or west try these cities: Fairmont, WV for motels, Clarksburg/Bridgeport, WV for motels, and Wheeling, WV is another option for motels for those coming from the west as well as Washington and Waynesburg, PA.

DINING:
Almost all restaurants and pubs close to campus are going to be packed to the brim on a football weekend...so so enjoy the scene and have patience.
If you want to go somewhere not to far from the stadium that is a traditional haunt of WVU students/alums...I would suggest....Crockett's Lodge
The Boston Beanery II near intersection of Patteson Dr. and University Dr. has a varied menu, lots of fans and reasonable prices. Expect to have to wait to eat. A few blocks north of the Wharf District in downtown is Morgantown Brewing Company. Morgantown's only brewpub is located at 1291 University Avenue phone(304) 296-BREW. A comprehensive list of bars is here. One final website gives you some great options for food and drink and shows you where the bar specials are and menus for lots of restaurants.

For older readers who don't want to get caught in the hustle and bustle of the students...I would suggest Colasantes Ristorante & Pub ...this is a place is just west of Morgantown (in the city of Westover) and is very close to both I-79 and I-68. If you want a more upscale place....I would suggest Oliverio's Ristorante....this establishment is located on the beautiful new wharf district in Morgantown overlooking the Monongahela River. Tailpipes opened in early 2010 and features gourmet burgers and old fashion shakes. Dragonfly Sushi offers much more than just Sushi in an elegant environment. Yesterday's Bar & Grille restaurant has an upper-casual dining atmosphere. Other restaurants can be found here. BTW, you can limit your searches on this website to various neighborhoods of Morgantown.

SPORTS BARS:Kegler's is a sports bar near the campus, Buffalo Wild Wings is known for their duh, wings, and also lots of TVs carrying all the college football games. The Sports Page has ESPN Gameplan and looks to cater to a younger crowd. The Varsity Club is very close to the stadium and has an awesome baked Italiano Sandwich. Another gem is the the Brick Yard Pub. Finally, Damon's , on Hwy 705 about 1 1/2 miles from the stadium, is known for their ribs as well as their full offerings of sports programming. Not really a sports bar, Firkin Pub offers you a British Pub environment along with darts and pool. The Firkin Pub is just north of the stadium on Van Voorhis Rd. The Wings are reported to be good.

Shopping: Morgantown has University Town Center which has a typical assortment of big box retailers and trendy shops found in newer suburbs around most cities. It is located next to Star City/Osage--Exit 155 I-79 on Highway 19. Morgantown Mall is located across I-79 from University Towne Center. It looks to have a nice selection of retailers. If you are in search of chain restaurants you can find them in this area.

Things to Do:

If you happen upon Morgantown during the changing of the colors you need to checkout nearby Coopers Rock. It is the largest and most visited state forest in WV.


Cooper's Rock

A real nice website detailing all your outdoor types of things near Morgantown should keep you busy.
If you prefer to stay in town, the trolley is a great way to see Morgantown.
Whitewater rafting is great in West Virginia. If you are adventuresome, consider going on a river rafting tour on the New River or The Gauley if you have an extra day, they are several hours away. If you don't want to travel as far try the Cheat River or Youghiogheny River.

White Water Rafting on The Gauley
Morgantown is revitalizing an old area of their town into the "Wharf District". You can see the orientation of the Wharf District to downtown Morgantown here.


Wharf District

GOLF:

There are some great courses in West Virginia, including the Pete Dye Golf Club in Bridgeport (about 30 mins south--rated the top course in West Virginia and one of the top 100 golf courses in the US by Golf Digest) and the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs. Note that White Sulfar Springs is 3 1/2 hours south of Morgantown near Exit 181 off I-64. Lucky for all of us--a very nice course with lodging is located in Morgantown. The Lakeview Resort might just be the perfect solution for a golf and football getaway.

The Lakeview Resort


Pete Dye Club

There are a number of golf courses the Morgantown Area. Here is a list. The Mountaineer Golf & Country Club is a public course for the golf challenged and/or budget minded. It is a short course that is relatively flat and inexpensive. You should be able to walk this course for less than $20, even on weekends.
Hope this helps. Thanks to WVURON and Jackson1011 for helping me with the guide.
The opinions expressed in this guide are those of TexanMark. While every effort has been made to ensure all the information presented is accurate and current, it would be wise to verify things when possible. Please note that this guide is not endorsed by Scout.com, Rivals.com or its site publishers, administrators and/or moderators.
Return to TexanMark's Tailgate Guides Main Page

Sunday, August 22, 2010

USF Tailgate and Visitors Guide '10


Tampa Bay at Night


This is one of a series of tailgating guides for Big East football schools written by Syracuse fan and tailgate aficionado TexanMark. If you have any feedback or additional information you think belongs in this guide, please drop an email message to Mark by clicking here.

University of South Florida (USF) is the lone geographical misfit of the Big East Football Conference. Most felt USF won the BCS lottery when Boston College bolted for the ACC and left the Big East searching for an eighth member for the 2005 season. Well I tell you what, they have fit in quite nicely in the Big East and have become a first tier team strength wise. Due to the southern location USF has become a favorite destination for mini-vacations for Big East football fans. USF is a young program but it is a great asset to the league.

First Things First: GETTING THERE

Unless you want to drive 900 or so miles (Louisville, Cinci, WVU and Pitt) this trip will be a flying event. The good news most everyone can get a nonstop into either Tampa or close by Orlando (90 miles). Both of these airports have a bevy of cheap flights to northern cities. Note: Orlando offers the most nonstops and generally the cheapest flights. It might be worth your while to fly into Orlando and rent a car and drive to Tampa. Obviously, many visiting fans will plan a four-five day mini-vacation and will visit Orlando anyway. If time is tight you should fly into Tampa. The airport is located about a mile from the stadium. You can easily take a cab to the game. Note: Taxis drop/pickup riders at the northwest corner of the stadium.
Other Travel Options:
Several ultra discount charter carriers offer scheduled service between some northeastern/midwestern cities and Orlando Sanford Airport (2 hours) and Saint Petersburg/Clearwater Airport (30-45 mins). Note: These airlines often only fly once a day so a missed flight or broken aircraft could be very problematic. If you have a lot of time, Amtrak offers service into Tampa. The fall season is a great time to visit Florida due to discount prices for rooms and other tourist related services. Consider yourself lucky if your team has an October or a November visit scheduled to Tampa and take advantage!


Getting to the Stadium: Raymond James Stadium Click to enlarge (Thanks USFFan)

USF (like UConn and Pitt) plays their football games off campus. The campus is located about eight miles northeast. Like Pitt, they share a stadium with an NFL team. Raymond James Stadium (RayJay or RJS) opened in 1998 and is a great venue with many amenities. Note: USF games since demand increased are selling upper deck tickets for all games. Listed capacity for USF games is about 66,000. RayJay is located off Dale Mabry Highway which is a major North/South Artery in Tampa. The stadium is located adjacent (east) to the airport.



Directions:

FROM THE NORTH
I-75 to I-275 South to Himes Avenue North
or
Dale Mabry North.
Stadium is approximately one mile north, between Himes and Dale Mabry.

FROM THE SOUTH (SARASOTA AND BRADENTON)
I-75 to I-4 West to I-275 South to Himes Avenue North or North Dale Mabry
or
I-75 North to I-275 North to North Dale Mabry.
Stadium is approximately one mile north, between Himes and Dale Mabry.

FROM THE EAST (ORLANDO)
I-4 West to I-275 South to Himes Avenue North or North Dale Mabry
or
I-4 West to Hillsborough Avenue West or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard West.
Stadium is approximately one mile north, between Himes and Dale Mabry.

FROM THE WEST
I-275 to North Dale Mabry
or
Highway 60 East to Spruce Street East to North Dale Mabry.
Stadium is approximately one mile north, between Himes and Dale Mabry.



Parking/Tailgating

Map of Parking Near Ray Jay Click to enlarge (From the official Bucs site)
Note:Lot 14 was the old mall lot

The easiest thing is to park at RayJay. The lots open five hours before games(or at 8am for Noon games). Note: Buses and Campers are allowed to park on stadium property for USF games in Lot 8 (located south of the stadium). Note: Campers/RVs park in a different lot for Buc games. Expect general admission parking to be directed to Lots 1, 2, 3, and 4 but you can park in some other lots south of the stadium. Looking for where the USF students park and tailgate? Try Lots 3+4 and the old mall lot (Lot 14). Lot #4 is closest USF's student government sponsored tailgate area and student entrance (Gate B). USF fan outrunner states, "There's a lot of frats and clubs partying in there, and a lot of heckling/smack talk."

The official website states: “For USF home games Cars and Motorcycles will be charged $15, Buses, Campers, and Limousines will be charged between $45 and $60 depending on the size of the vehicle and the number of spaces it occupies.” Tailgating seems to have few restrictions.
Note: The stadium has in the past enforced very restrictive rules on the size of bags brought in the stadium. Definitely err on the conservative side.
However, charcoal grills are okay in the parking lots! One other parking option is located adjacent to the stadium grounds across the street (west) at Hillsborough Community College.
Note: Just to the east was the old Tampa Bay Center Mall. Recently it was torn down. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are building training facilities there. A lot of Bull fans and USF students have used the free parking at the Mall in the past. ARRIVE EARLY OPTION: The Mall Lot has been converted into Lot 14 now and is a pay lot. Students still flock there. It is a pay lot but people routinely show up 5-7 hours before kickoff. You can arrive early, set up, save spots and throw a football. The rules are more lax. Expect an attendant to come by later to collect money. All Ray Jay lots are $15 to park.

I tailgated in 2006 and found the convenience of the stadium lot hard to beat. I queued up 3 hours and 10 minutes before kickoff on the roadside of Dale Mabry (northbound) at Gate 9. There were about 15-20 cars waiting with me at 9am. (NOTE: kickoffs now open 5 hours before kickoff and at 8am for noon kickoffs) They opened at precisely three hours prior to kickoff. I went through the gate and turned left and parked in Lot 7 right behind a rope separating me from permit parkers. If you arrive early like I did you get a "primo" spot next to one of the walkways. Tailgaters filled in over the next hour or so. We were about 400 yards south of Ray Jay's entrance. Plenty of porta-potties and lots of good times as Cuse and USF fans intermingled nicely. We stayed about 90 minutes after wards. By then the lot was very empty. If parking on site doesn't appeal to you...try cruising around to find some private lots which might accommodate you earlier.

Finally, The Bulls Tailgating Association has a good website that gives you even more info. Their forums have some good suggestions in there for Bars, recipes, etc...

Driving an RV Down?

Florida in the Fall is a great time to get one last use in before the Winter for the northern Big East fans. Unfortunately no overnight parking is offered at the RayJay. Instead you'll need to park at one of these RV parks listed below and drive in the day of the game.
For overnight RV parking, please contact one of the following parks:

Bay Bayou RV Park
813-855-1000
12622 Memorial Highway
Tampa, FL 33635


Happy Traveler RV Park

813-986-3094
9401 E Fowler Ave
Thonotosassa, FL 33592


Lazy Days RV Campground
800-350-6731
6210 County Road 579
Seffner, FL 33584


Sun RV Resorts

813-659-2504
4630 McIntosh
Dover, FL 33527


Tailgate Supplies: About a mile south of the stadium is Total Wine and it had a huge selection of Liquor, Beer and Wine. I even found quite a few microbrews from up north there. There is a Walmart across the street for all your other supplies.

Ticket Scalping and You: USF fans have told me it is legal to buy and sell tickets now for whatever the market bears. Supply is more than demand currently. You should be able to find tickets offered for less than face around the parking lots and walkways except for the high demand games. Even though ticket reselling has been liberalized there is still a rule not allowing reselling tickets on the grounds of stadiums you have been warned.

With that in mind: A few tried and true techniques to get the best price buying I have used: 1. Know what a legit ticket looks like 2. Buy from your own fan base first 3. The smaller the group the smaller the price--single tickets are cheapest 4. Prices usually peak 1-2 hours before kickoff--inside an hour the closer to game time the cheaper the ticket, right after kickoff they plumment to near nothing 5. A fan walking to the stadium in with a group of friends and still holding extra tickets to sell will usually dump them for a cheap price (they do not want to miss the game and often they are doing a favor for a buddy to sell them) usually you'll spot them holding a finger or two out to their side or over their head or saying selling one, etc... 6. If you have to deal with a professional scalper--NEVER give him what he asks, have a seating chart with you, check to make sure all tickets are really together and for that game, offer him lower and be prepared to walk away, after you turn and walk away more than half the time in my experience they'll give in and take your offer, if you can afford to wait...wait inside 20 minutes to kickoff as see the prices drop (assess the situation for the number of tickets available, how many you need before employing that strategy) 7. Don't be embarrassed to go back to a scalper to buy ticket(s) 10 minutes after you said no to his previous offer 8. Don't fall for their tactics to make you feel like you're ripping them off by only offering $20 a ticket, etc...they love to play games with your self-image and ego.

RayJay Stadium:

This place is great now that USF is consistently drawing over 40,000 fans and a few games over 60,000...great job USF. The facility is absolute first class and has many amenities. I don’t expect all the concessions to be open but you should still have a good variety.


Buccaneer Cove
Buccaneer Cove is a tremendous landmark and you need to wander over and check it out sometime during the game. You should have great sight lines since the stadium was built for football.


City of Tampa a lot of stuff to do

TAILGATE SUPPLIES:



Get USF Gear Like This at College Flags and Banners

New to 2010 are great tailgate products offered to my readers...BTW, you get a 10% discount.

College Flags and Banners Co. is the ultimate source for your tailgate. They offer a huge selection of college flags and banners including: Army, Cincinnati, Connecticut, ECU, Louisville, Memphis, Navy, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, USF, and WVU. Plus everything else you need for game day, from tailgating flagpoles and wheel stands to conference pennant sets. All products are officially licensed and ship within 24 hours. Order today and relieve 10% off your order by typing in coupon code "MARK10" at checkout.

If you are looking for more than just college try their sister company.

Other Sports Flags:
Sports Flags and Pennants Co. is the premium source for all of your NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and NASCAR flags and pennants. Fast, secured shipping to your doorstep and all products are officially licensed. Through our site we are offering a coupon code for 10% off your order. Just enter "MARK10" at checkout.

TAILGATEWIKI--Total Tailgating Resource


Tailgatewiki.com is designed loosely on the wikipedia concept that anyone with internet access is considered an expert in the field and can contribute their personal knowledge in an online arena. Wikipedia covers all areas whereas Tailgate Wiki focuses on tailgating and improving the game day atmosphere. Because many fans follow their team when they play on the road, Tailgate Wiki will serve as a resource for those fans to understand what to expect when they get there. Kind of like having a friend in every city, at every stadium, giving you the inside scoop on the best places to park, tailgating policies and much more. This is all user generated content and the goal is to benefit the entire tailgating community.


Shopping

I’ll keep it real simple. Drop your spouse here. The International Plaza shopping complex is located about 1 ½ miles southwest of RayJay stadium.
From the website: “International Plaza, adjacent to Tampa International Airport, is the most distinctive shopping and dining destination of Florida's West Coast. Four fashionable department stores, over 200 specialty shops and Bay Street at the Plaza... an open-air village of fine restaurants and small boutiques.” This place has a hotel (Renaissance) there and offers some travel packages. Thirty and over crowd alert: The Bay Street Level (Street Level) has a large collection of upscale drinking and dining establishments. This is a good alternative to the rowdier, younger Ybor City area.

Dining/Nightlife

I do know you need to try to eat at a Cuban Restaurant in Tampa. Cuban food is excellent and not too expensive. There is a huge selection in the area around the stadium especially if you drive south of the stadium. I would recommend after the game to head to Bay Street Level of the International Plaza or another option is cruising over to the Port of Tampa area and checking out Channelside.


Map of Channelside/ Hyde Park Areas
Channelside is another retail/dining entertainment area with many great restaurants, bars and lodging to include motels and condos. If you decide to stay downtown this place should be a must do destination. A trolley is available to take you from Channelside to Ybor—a plus. Hyde Park is located just SW of Channelside. There are lots of little shops to browse. Restaurant BT comes highly recommended. It specializes in a modern style of classic French & Vietnamese cuisines and is a great place for a quiet romantic dinner. Recommend using the valet parking because parking is at a premium.


Ybor City--a great place to party
Finally, Ybor City has an international reputation for hosting a great party. The crowd trends a little bit younger than International Plaza and Channelside. Ybor is Tampa’s old Latin community. Like many other urban areas it has been revitalized. If you really want to let lose and mingle with lots of other like minded people this is the place. The Columbia Restaurant (Ybor City) has been around for a century, specializing in Spanish and Cuban fare (get the paella). They have the best sangria, and is it is a great spot for lunch or dinner.
Following are restaurants recommended by local USF fans: “Bern's Steakhouse (South Howard Ave) offers the best steak in the Bay area. It's unique decorative style -- part bordello, part renaissance and the world famous dessert room is something to see. The Colonnade (Bayshore) offers great seafood and wonderful views of Tampa Bay and downtown Tampa. Whiskey Joe's Bar and Grille (Courtney Campbell Causeway) offers good food and reggae music and is built out over Tampa Bay. Salt Rock Grill (Indian Rocks Beach) is a great place to have dinner after a day at the beach. Frenchy's Rockaway Grill (Clearwater Beach) is the best place to grab a quick sandwich when catching rays on a GREAT beach.

SPORTS BAR ALERT!

Lee Roy Selmon's (Boy Scout Blvd - near Tampa Stadium) has some GREAT barbeque as well as a lot of TVs. The Pressbox Sports Emporium is also close by. Beef O'Brady's is a large sports pub chain. The Westchase location is fairly close to the airport area. International Plaza has Champps. It is a full service sports bar and should have ESPN Gameplan. Finally, if you are looking to shoot a game of pool and be surrounded by lots of Coeds...well Peabody's Billiards is the place for you. It is located just north of the USF campus.

BARBEQUE

Besides Lee Roy Selmon's (mentioned above)--other great barbeque places: Kojak's House of Ribs (Gandy Blvd), Jimbo's, First Choice BBQ, maybe the best barbeque around Tampa? Near the campus try Lupton's Fat Man's BBQ (located near the college). Another place with a great reputation is Big John's Alabama Bar B Que. Big John's daughter runs the location on Dale Mabry, called BJ's Alabama Bar B Que. Finally, Jazzy's BBQ has a legion of fans.

CK's (Tampa International Airport Marriott) is a revolving restaurant with a GREAT Sunday Brunch. Another great place for Sunday breakfast: The Brunchery (S MacDill Ave & N Dale Mabry). Charley's is great for gourmet steaks. Charley's can be seen from I-275 just east of West Shore. For tailgate sandwiches, Publix deli & Brocato's on Columbus and 50th are about as good as you are going to get. The bay area's best buffet (arguable) is right down the road on Dale Mabry (were RJS is) known as the Vari Asian Crazy Buffet. It has steaks, seafood, sushi, Japanese, etc. It's pricey at $22 a head. Looking for Thai? Try the Thai Terrace on Dale Mabry.
For wings, Hooters is north of the stadium on Hillsborough just west of Dale Mabry and the Press Box is south on Dale Mabry. If you are looking for a very good brew pub near RayJay try Cigar City Brewing. It is about a mile south of the stadium. The original Hooter’s is in Clearwater Beach. For Japanese hibachi steak, chicken, & seafood (cooked at the table), try Arigato's Japanese Steak House. It is reopening soon (as of Aug 2010) north at 14430 N. Dale Mabry in the Carrolwood Plaza (next to Bally's Fitness). If staying on the beach in St. Pete, for seaford I'd recommend the Hurricane on St. Pete Beach, Crabby Bill's with several locales, Ted Peter's in St. Pete on Pasadena for smoked mullet and Shell's Seafood. TBO.com is a good information source for Tampa Bay eats & things to do too.”

Note: long time restaurant Sam Seltzer's Steakhouse closed May 2010.

Lodging

Lodging is plentiful and comes in all price ranges. If you want to be able to walk to the game the (new) Holiday Inn Express, Day's Inn or Comfort Inn are your best choices. Note: You are smarter to drive and park if you are bringing in supplies staying at either property--Dale Mabry is a very busy road and not pedestrian friendly. A couple others very close to the stadium are the Renaissance Tampa Hotel International Plaza (a Marriott Property, 4 star luxury) and a Mircotel (2 star budget). If you want to benear the airport (Westshore Area), there are a bevy of choices which you can see here. The airport motel area is only about a mile or two from the stadium which means you can avoid a rental car if you are only staying overnight.
Another option to try is the Downtown/Channelside/Ybor area, which is several miles from the stadium. Finally, if you want to stay near the beaches you should try Clearwater or St. Pete areas. Expect you’ll be about 45 minutes from the stadium. The Don Cesar is not to be missed.

Beaches and Other Tourist Stuff

World class beaches await you on your trip to Tampa. USF fan, JimUSFSig says: “Sand Key Beach, just south of Clearwater Beach, is usually less crowded and has some of the best sand around. Clearwater Beach is where the tourists head to catch some rays. St. Pete Beach is where the locals go -- check out the Undertow Beach Bar for one of the best beachside bars around.” BullDoug says, “don't forget Fort DeSoto Park. It was voted the nation's overall best in 2005. It is south of St. Pete Beach just west of the Skyway Bridge. It is about a 50-60 min. trip from (RayJay) and good for a relaxing day to picnic. Treasure Island is a nice beach too. T.I. is south of John's Pass where there are numerous shopping opportunities and dinner cruises leave from there.”

You all know about Disney in Orlando so I won't tell you about it. The Tampa Bay area has some neat attractions, too. Busch Gardens offers a chance to view animals, be entertained by performers, drink a couple brewskis and ride some awesome roller coasters. Hint: Any active duty, activated or drilling reservist, or National Guardsman is entitled to free admission under the "Here's to the Heroes" program. More info here. The Florida Aquarium a few miles south in Channelside is a neat place to take the kids. Into tropical gardens? Drive over to St. Pete's Sunken Gardens. About 60-90 minutes north of Tampa is Homosassa Springs and Weeki Wachee Springs if you want to get away from typical amusement parks.

GOLF

Good and cheap:
East Bay
Located in the heart of Pinellas County, minutes from the Gulf Beaches, Eastbay is an 18 hole, par 72-championship layout. A William Mitchell design, this track features elevated, well-bunkered greens with water in play on 14 of 18 holes. Eastbay has the GPS yardage system on its brand new fleet of carts. All tees, greens and fairways are overseeded with winter ryegrass for the winter months, ensuring lush, green playing areas.

Babe Zaharias
Babe Zaharias Golf Course is a municipal course that winds through a residential area in North Tampa. It's the shortest of the city courses, but tight fairways and small greens keep it challenging.

Rocky Point
Rocky Point, located near Tampa International Airport, is a scenic course with a mix of tree-lined fairways and open holes. Water comes into play on 12 of the 18 holes.


The Claw at USF
Featuring long, tight fairways lined with oaks, cypress and pines, this attractive course is home to a variety of wildlife, including the occasional alligator. Located just off I-75 near the University of South Florida, the club is home to the university's golf teams and is a par-71 layout with driving range, golf clinics, individual lessons by PGA professionals and a golf shop. Summer golf camps are featured here, and players gather at Rocky's Sports Grill to moan over the score sheets.

Good and not so cheap:

Westchase

Since opening in the fall of 1992, Westchase Golf Club has established itself as one of Tampa Bay's upscale golf facilities. The 6,710 yard, Par-72 Westchase course was designed by nationally known architect Lloyd Clifton. Located in northwest Tampa, it is one of the better upscale courses in the Bay area. The natural setting and the well manicured fairways and greens of this course surrounded by natural wetlands, wooden bridges and bulkheads are what set it apart.

The Eagles
This facility features two 18 hole layouts, The Lakes and The Forest:


The Lakes
An abundance of water inspired the moniker for this course. Water comes into play on virtually every hole. This 18-hole course measures over 7,100 yards and is more like the traditional Florida course with huge greens and generous driving areas. Both nines of The Lakes start out with unique par-5's that challenge golfers to use their creativity to make a sub-par score. As you play these outstanding layouts, you soon understand why The Eagles Golf Club of Tampa Bay has a hard-won reputation for well-conditioned tees, greens, and fairways. Four sets of tees offer golfers a wide choice of challenges. When the St. Petersburg Times canvassed several dozen Tampa Bay golf courses to put together a Tampa Bay "Dream 18," two holes from The Eagles were selected.


The Forest

Noted golf course architect, PGA Tour professional and NBC-TV commentator Gary Koch and master architect Rick Robbins are responsible for the front nine of The Forest Course, while noted architect Ron Garl designed the back nine. Accuracy is a premium on this course, with its highly contoured fairways and well placed, meticulous greens. This course measures 6,700 yards and features the signature island-green, par-3 sixth hole, which rivals the famous 17th hole at the TPC at Sawgrass in Jacksonville.

Belleview Biltmore
Designed by world famous golf architect Donald Ross, the Belleview Biltmore Golf Club opened in 1925. It is a challenging course that features lush lined fairways and water hazards and is noted for its beauty.

TPC of Tampa Bay

The TPC of Tampa Bay is part of a network of outstanding stadium golf courses across the country owned and operated by the PGA Tour. Winner of the Golf Digest's four star award for places to play, this course is the home of the Verizon Classic, the area's only Senior PGA Tour event.

I’d like to thank USF fan JimUSFSig and BullDoug for helping me with this guide. I hope this helps.

Finally, a big thanks to all the posters at The Bullspen who helped with making this guide better with all their suggestions.

The opinions expressed in this guide are those of TexanMark. While every effort has been made to ensure all the information presented is accurate and current, it would be wise to verify things when possible. Please note that this guide is not endorsed by Scout.com, Rivals.com or its site publishers, administrators and/or moderators.


Return to TexanMark's Tailgate Guides Main Page






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