I kind of agree with most of your comments. I have not gone the last 2 years mostly due to Covid and not wanting to risk it. I am signed up this year but am really going as much to do some house hunting as well as play golf. In years past I looked at the WA as my guys week and didn’t care as much about the cost, but WOW everything costs so much more now. I used to fly in and rent a car, but no way am I gonna do that. Also, I always get a VRBO condo off the beach, but this year there are far fewer for rent. I got lucky this year as I am renting from a woman who I rented from previously and I got a place for half what I could find online.
As for tournament cost. I agree. I don’t want most of the stuff in the gift bag. I’d be happy with just a shirt and gift certificate. I am not going to complain about course conditions in general, as I guess I’ve been lucky to get decent draws.
I was extremely happy we are returning to shotgun starts. No way I would want to get a later tee time and have to play in the afternoon heat.