The most famous 137 yards in golf — a test of one’s pitching wedge, of one’s mental mettle.
And it’s not just reserved for the world’s best, the pristine THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass allows you to test the course’s famous No. 17 — an island green that has gobbled up thousands of golf balls over the years.
But it has also created legends.
And not just on the PGA Tour, but also among buddies who can claim to have actually held the green at one of the world’s most famous par-3s — with No. 12 at Augusta National and No. 16 at TPC Scottsdale in the conversation as well.
TPC Sawgrass: By the players, for the players
THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is best known for hosting The Players Championship, considered by many players to be the year’s fifth major.
And it’s also one owned by the PGA Tour players — with the club established with that vision from former PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman, who was determined to keep The Players in one location for evermore.
Beman would work rigorously to find land in Ponte Vedra Beach, eventually buying 415 acres from Jerome and Paul Fletcher for just $1. Situated between St. Augustine and Jacksonville, staying in Ponte Vedra Beach provided the PGA Tour to offer a getaway to players and visitors, while also still within driving distance of big-city amenities.
The course would open in March 1980, and has been a cornerstone of the PGA Tour since — but also a worldwide destination for thousands of golfers looking to take in the Florida sunshine while challenging themselves with a course that can even bring the best to their collective knees.
Architect Pete Dye worked alongside Beman to create a fair course, featuring risk-reward holes, right and left doglegs, and keeping golfers engaged, with no two holes extending in the same direction.
Breaking down the Stadium Course
In addition to the par-3 17th, players are tested from beginning to end, with the par-4 18th providing plenty of danger off the tee, with water extending from tee to green.
The course was built with marquee spots in mind, including the greens at Nos. 9, 16, 17 and 18 that give spectators a chance to see all the action, as well as the tee shots at Nos. 1 and 10.
There are opportunities to score on the Stadium Course, with three par-4s sitting under 400 yards, while the longest par-5 from the blue tees sitting a shade under 550 yards.
As you close out your round at the 18th, a massive, 77,000-square-foot clubhouse greets you, which features multiple restaurants, as well as merchandise to help give you a bit of street cred as you head home.
Dye’s Valley Course
While the Stadium Course gets the bulk of the Sawgrass attention, the property’s other course has hosted a number of professional events, including the Web.com Tour Championship and Senior Players Championship.
The Dye’s Valley Course can play as long as 6,847 yards, although it hosts six differing tee options — with architects Pete Dye, Bobby Weed and Jerry Pate assuring that the course is approachable for the scratch golfer, as well as those just looking for a challenging, but fair round in northern Florida.
The par-4 7th hole provides even a novice a chance to think about going for the green off the tee, sitting at 291 yards from the white tees, commonly the most used. For slightly bigger bombers, the par-4 3rd hole also presents the chance to go after the green.
Unique to the Valley Course is the final stretch, with two of the final three holes as par-5s, giving you a chance to pick up a birdie or two to move you into the clubhouse with a bit of bragging rights.
TPC Sawgrass has a partnership with the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa, conveniently located adjacent to the property, allowing golfers to wind down just minutes away from the first tee at either the Stadium Course and Dye’s Valley Course.
Make sure to give yourself a couple of days onsite, as you’ll want to play both courses — and maybe take a second stab at the Stadium Course as you prepare to leave town.
If you got a bit more time and you are making a week out of it, take a short jaunt down the road to the World Golf Hall of Fame, a perfect spot to talk about the day’s round while paying homage to the best that have ever done it.