Course: TPC Sawgrass (Stadium Course)
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Price ($-$$$): $$$
Length: 5019, 6086, 6406, 6670, and 7245 yards
Home of The Players Championship for the PGA Tour, TPC Sawgrass is truly one of the world’s greatest golf courses. Having played the Stadium course in 2010, I still rate this as the best course I have ever played. Its manicured tees, fairways, and greens provide you with the opportunity to play a course worthy of PGA Tour players.
Many of you will no doubt recognize some of the holes out there, either through watching on television or playing golf video games. The opening hole is a fantastic par-4 which doglegs slightly to the right, before straightening up. What you cannot fully appreciate from seeing the course on a screen are the tight fairways and the undulating greens. TPC Sawgrass is not usually renowned for having undulating greens, but they really are! The greens are deep, wide, and often feature a few different levels.
Aside from the undulating greens, the other major challenge at TPC Sawgrass is getting the ball on the fairway. Holes such as the second (image below) feature tree-lined fairways that force you to hit the ball on the target line and hit the correct shot shape. The overhanging trees that line the sides of these tee shots create a tunnel feeling and demand great accuracy.
The real attraction with TPC Sawgrass are, of course, the final three holes. 16, 17, and 18 provide great drama every year in The Players Championship, and they will for you too. The par-5 16th hole is a definite birdie chance. The tee shot requires a draw around the corner and a brave second shot to a water-surrounded green. Those choosing to layup also need to be precise with their yardage and target area; the fairway narrows up to approximately 10 yards wide, before the green.
Moving on to the 17th and quite simply the greatest par-3 in the world. The iconic island green gives you goosebumps and sweaty palms, as you approach the hole. It really should be simple, hit your yardage from 92-137 yards. But, as we all know, it is not that easy.
The final hole sums up TPC Sawgrass; tough tee shot, tough approach shot, tricky green, but enjoyable all the same. On the tee shot, you must be brave and trust your target line over the water. From there, the water looms to the left of the green and green encroaches up the right-hand side. Do your best to hit this green – nobody wants to be chipping back toward the water!
In summary, if you get the chance, you simply have to play this golf course. There is nowhere in the world quite like it. For family members that are not interested in golf, the accompanying hotel has a fantastic pool and bar area close by.
Iconic PGA Tour venue
Manicured golf course, from tee-to-green
Great range of tees to cater for all skill levels
Expensive to play, stay, and eat