Ann Arbor Golf and Outing Club changes tailgating rules again to accommodate groups
Ann Arbor Golf and Outing Club will change the policy of its football game-day parking for the second time in three years in an attempt to appease some longtime tailgaters.
Groups with six vehicles or more will be able to purchase season passes and reserve large blocks of spaces at spots of their choice.
Photo Courtesy of Ann Arbor Golf and Outing Club
Prior to the 2009 football season, parking at the private nine-hole course -- located on the southeast corner of Stadium and Main streets, across from Michigan Stadium -- operated on a first-come, first-serve basis. The result was what the board of directors deemed to be a safety hazard as tailgaters set up without order.
The board was concerned emergency vehicles couldn’t access all areas of the 38-acre course.
“People were allowed to go park wherever,” said Larry Eiler, parking chairman for the board of directors . “There was a real concern about if an ambulance could get through the crowd.” The board then limited the size of canopies and had parking supervisors direct tailgaters to sections at a time, causing an uproar among longtime tailgaters who no longer could stake out their favorite spots. Some thought the changes were an attempt for the course to make more money.
Now groups with six vehicles or more may reserve spots. The season passes will cost $375 per vehicle, based on a rate of $45 per vehicle for five regular-season games and $50 per vehicle for games against Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State. Single-vehicle rates will remain at $40 for five regular-season games, and $50 for the Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State.
Season-pass holders will be allowed access to the course at 7 a.m. on game days, a half hour prior to it opening to the general public. One vehicle may secure an area during the early entry period. Season-pass holders arriving after 7:30 a.m. will be directed to spots along with everybody else.
“We had the group setting unofficially before, but it wasn’t a widely marketed idea,” said Eiler. “Now, if you want to have 10 spots and go to the same spot every game, you can pay early.”
Eiler said the system was tested last year for a couple of groups that totaled roughly 50 vehicles. Rex Stanczak -- who has been tailgating at the same spot with a group of close to 20 vehicles at Ann Arbor Golf and Outing for more than 20 years -- was one of the more vocal opponents to the change and part of the test group.
"It works out great, people don’t pay money every week. The only little bit of a pain is getting there early," Stanczak said. "I think this will work out fine. I think the people that the change upset should be happy with this."
Eiler said he anticipates that 600 to 800 vehicles -- or roughly half the traffic the course sees on game day -- will take advantage of the new offering.
Reservations and payments must be made by Aug. 15. For information, visit www.AAGOC.org.