Sorry you have not heard from me this last week but I was busy recovering from my Birthday Vacation to TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Florida. What a great birthday present it was! Whether you go there for your birthday, anniversary, or just because you love to play golf, you have to add it to your bucket list! The Tournament Player’s Course (TPC) and the Pete Dye course are not to be missed!
The History of TPC Sawgrass
The club was born from the dream of then PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman to create a special and unique host site for The Players Championship. In addition, the event was the only one owned by players of the PGA TOUR. Plus, Beman’s vision was that this permanent host club would be, too.
There are wonderful pictures in one of the gracious hallways of the clubhouse showcasing this history. Beman first approached the owners of Sawgrass Country Club (which is across the street from where TPC Sawgrass is now) and offered to buy their facility. Not only did they not want to sell, but they didn’t believe that Beman would ever get financing or approval to buy a facility. Arvida Chairman Charles Cobb even proposed a $100 “business sportsmanship” bet to Beman that he could never achieve his dream.
… should not have placed that bet! Determined, Beman sought other options to stay in Ponte Vedra Beach. He soon found allies in Jerome and Paul Fletcher, major landowners in the area. They believed in the dream so much that they eventually sold 415 acres of wooded wetlands and swamps to the PGA Tour for $1. That $1 check is also on the walls of the amazing clubhouse in a framed picture.
The Creation of TPC Sawgrass
... as host of The Player’s Championship was based on several unique concepts:
- It would be the permanent home of THE PLAYERS, and it would be owned by the PGA Tour players.
- Furthermore, build the course and surrounding areas with spectators in mind. In addition, designed it as a true “Stadium Course” and built it to improve the overall on-site fan experience.
- Before the construction of the TPC, nearly all of the great tournaments were played at private clubs where the average fan rarely had a chance to play. The TPC would be a course of great design and character that would be accessible to all golf fans. It opened in 1980.
… were designated around the 1st and 10th tees and at the 9th, 16th, 17th and 18th greens, where strategic viewing areas were built. Besides, these would be large, gently sloping mounds up to 30 feet high. From these vantage points, for the first time in golf, thousands of spectators would have unobstructed views of tournament play. Consequently similar to being in a baseball or football stadium.
That Is Why It Is Called the Stadium Course!
An unexpected by-product of the lake construction was the island green at the 17th hole. What was originally designed as a small pond near the green continued to be dug for the valuable sand base found in that area. After the excavation work, nearly all of the area around the green was surrounded by water. Now it is perhaps the most famous par-3 in the world. Today up to 36,000 fans can watch from this hole!
Dye Credits His Wife
… Alice, with the concept of building an island green after she saw the construction site one day. I have some exciting news. I birdied the 17th hole! (Except the real hole was under renovation so they had an alternate hole!) But I can still say I birdied 17 at TPC Sawgrass! Here is a great picture of #17 during a TPC event.
The Clubhouse and the Community of TPC Sawgrass
Driving through the gates into the community of TPC Sawgrass you are greeted with lovely homes in private neighborhoods. TPC Sawgrass was developed from 1976 to 2007. Homes range from about 1,025 to 8,417 square feet with prices ranging from about $230K up to more than $2 million.
Real Estate Options
… throughout the community including condos, single-family homes, townhomes, and million-dollar estates. Many of the most expensive homes are found on the Stadium Golf Course and include incredible views of the course. But what I loved about the area is that you can still purchase a very affordable home at either TPC Sawgrass or at the sister Pete Dye Course. We played golf on the second day with members Bill and Martin, who live on the Pete Dye Course. Martin pointed out his lovely home to us on hole # 13. I think the Pete Dye Course is as tough or not tougher than Sawgrass! The Pete Dye Course is hosting an event on the Korn Ferry Tour next week.
Once you pass through the gates and head towards the TPC course within seconds you see the amazing clubhouse in the distance. The Mediterranean-style, 77,000-square-foot clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass is a majestic centerpiece for the club, providing the best of hospitality to members and guests alike. Blending elegant, old-world charm with modern, upscale amenities, the clubhouse features a variety of dining options, an expansive gallery, a beautifully appointed banquet and meeting space, and a world-class golf shop. We ate breakfast outside on the veranda and I did some serious damage in the pros shop! It has a “Tour Player’s Only” section and locker room that we mistakenly walked into until we saw the signs and Jeff Maggert walking into it! Oops!
What is so amazing to me is that the clubhouse is open for the public to enjoy and discover, with storyteller docents on hand to help every guest explore the club’s wide array of PGA TOUR memorabilia.