BOLTON, Mass. — With thousands expected to visit Bolton and The International Golf complex Labor Day weekend for the Saudi Arabia-based LIV Golf tournament, the Bolton Select Board gave its approval at the June 16 board meeting.
Acting under a statute that would allow the event unless the board deemed it detrimental to the city, LIV Golf obtained board approval, pending any other approval it needed.
Par 5 Group, which is organizing the event, and a representative from International detailed efforts being made to prevent operations from disrupting residents.
From safety and meeting water, wastewater and other regulatory requirements, to ensuring traffic control, project managers detailed the plans.
Kelly Durfee Cardoza, Regulatory Consultant for The International, and Mike Goggin, Par 5 Group and Tournament Director, went through all the pieces.
Parking would include limited spaces around the golf club, as well as parking and transportation from the Lancaster Fairgrounds.
Security would include scanning and chipping of tickets to control access.
Neighborhood residents will have special passes to ensure they can go home, as the roads would be closed to regular traffic.
The special events district was created in 1997 when a new golf course was built, Cardoza said. That governed the hearing and approval process.
The event is part of an international series of eight events, Cardoza said. It started in London recently.
Held over three days over Labrador’s Day weekend, the Bolton LIV tournament will be preceded by a pro-am event on September 1 before the LIV tournament kicks off on September 2.
There will be substantial preparation for the 48 golfers playing off to a fast start, with everyone starting the game at the same time, limiting the length of tournament play.
The nightly events will include a musical stage and activities that Cardoza says should mean that not all the people and traffic leave at once.
There will be a daily attendance limit of 6,500 people, including staff, volunteers, vendors, spectators, players, and public safety personnel.
There will also be an “area for those who wish to exercise their first amendment rights during the event,” Cardoza said. The location and details of those areas will be coordinated with state and local law enforcement.
The event has drawn criticism as it is sponsored by Saudi Arabia and human rights protesters could be expected. Additionally, participants in LIV events are excluded from the PGA Tour.
Locally, Cardoza said an estimated $30 million in spending is expected.
Additionally, $1 million in charitable donations are planned. Donations are planned for groups or organizations that help with on-site support such as parking. Other groups can also reach out by emailing [email protected]
Cardoza added that “until the permits are granted, none of this advances. Once we get to that point, we’ll work on these pieces.”
Numerous police detachments are planned, using local and state police to supplement private security.
Parking will not be permitted on roadways and all entrances will be secure.
The event could continue until September 5, if necessary, due to weather delays.
After hearing from residents during the hearing, the board proceeded with contingent approval.
“We’re here to deal with the approval of the event and not the minutiae surrounding the event,” said President Stan Wysocki. “It appears that The International and Escalante (the parent company of The International) are following the laws and have met with all boards and committees. I don’t see any reason why we can’t approve the request to have the event they’re requesting on Labor Day weekend.”
He said the board would reserve the right to revisit the event if there were issues at other planned LIV events, including one planned for Oregon (which runs through July 2).
“If something goes wrong with that event, then we will ask Escalante and The International to come back to our meeting on July 14 to discuss any potential issues that have come up,” Wysocki said. “Barring any issues with that, I don’t see any reason not to pass.”
Before soliciting public input, Wysocki said: “The elephant in the room here is who is the sponsor of this tournament.” He said that the sponsor was not part of the discussion.
“I think there is a lot of concern among some residents as to what has been done and the fact that The International and Escalante have decided to participate in this event. What you’ve done as far as the event itself, I don’t see any reason why we can’t approve it.”
He noted that there were more than 50 people at the remote meeting, which is “unprecedented for a Select Board meeting.”