Terror On The Tee – TPC Sawgrass

17th Tee, TPC Sawgrass (Photo courtesy of Grant Fraser, golftheworld.ca)
17th Tee, TPC Sawgrass (Photo courtesy of Grant Fraser, golftheworld.ca)
17th Tee, TPC Sawgrass (Photo courtesy of Grant Fraser, golftheworld.ca)

Standing on the 16th tee at TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course with club in hand I’m not sure the world can be any quieter. One thing is certain, I can hear my heart beating and boy, I’m not sure I can feel my hands.

It’s January 2004 and I’ve got a few reason to be nervous. I’m about to start playing one of the most famous stretches in golf, the 16th through 18th holes. It’s the home of the one of the biggest events on the PGA TOUR – The Players. For extra measure I happen to be playing with a member of the PGA Tour, Dan Olsen.

I was a lot less worried about the presence of a tour pro and plenty more distracted about what my golf ball would have to avoid if I wanted to get to the clubhouse safely. The trio of holes all bring water into play.

Despite the many nefarious thoughts running through my mind, I did survive the incident. Despite a soggy shot or two it actually left me exhilarated. How must a pro feel with the Players Championship title and millions of dollars on the line?

Fortunately you can find that out, albeit with a few less spectators, for yourself.

Can you be absolutely horrified about the result of your next golf shot and still have fun? If you’ve ever had the chance to play the Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass you’ll know what I mean.

And if you haven’t, it comes highly recommended. No matter what you shoot, you always be left with a story to tell. It’s just that kind of place.

The nice part is that unlike the many private enclaves that often host PGA TOUR events, TPC Sawgrass is accessible through a variety of golf packages. 

Located on the First Coast of Florida, every year the TPC Sawgrass Stadium course is welcomed into golfer’s living rooms. Like other iconic course avid golf fans know the holes by rote – they see them year after year and watch their favourite pros have their skills pushed to the limits by them.

Playing more forward tees will help the average player, but there is no disguising that this will be a golf course where just a par or two will be considered a highlight.

Bill Luckett, a lawyer, one-time gubernatorial candidate in the state of Mississippi, and business partner with actor Morgan Freeman, recently mentioned to me on a visit to his great state that he and his more famous buddy once played a memorable game at the Florida course. “Morgan birdied 17 and 18 and he still talks about it. That was huge for him.”

It’s just that kind of place. It even makes an impression on an Oscar-winning Hollywood actor.

As the world headquarters for the PGA TOUR, TPC Sawgrass is iconic. The impact it makes on those who visit to play golf is just as monumental.

TPC Sawgrass’ partnership with the Sawgrass Marriott Resort and Spa allows guests to stay at the home of THE PLAYERS Championship. Hailed as one of the Top 10 Best Golf Resorts in the World by Travel + Leisure Golf Magazine, the Sawgrass Golf Resort and Spa offers a full-service luxury experience just steps from one of the most noted golf courses in the world.

But make that two golf courses, not just one.

A Sweet 36

TPC Sawgrass is home to 36 holes of great golf, The Stadium course, and the Valley Course. While one may be slightly more famous, they both offer a golfing treat at a world-class level.  Both were designed by renowned architect Pete Dye.

Built in 1982, The Stadium Course may put heavy pressure on your game but when played from the appropriate tees (the forward tees are just over 5100 yards) it proves to be a well balanced layout. True, wayward shots are punished heavily buy you won’t seem to mind – it gives you stories to tell for years.

Opening five years later, Dye’s Valley Course is the lesser known beauty. As the host of the Web.com Tour Championship since 2013 it’s fame is growing and rightly so. It’s a worthy opponent and gives this First Coast golf enclave one of the best 1-2 kicks you will find in golf.

No matter how much terror you feel on the tee…especially as you face the island green 17th at the Stadium Course…one of the most famous par threes in the world, you’ll enjoy yourself.

Soggy shot or otherwise, it provides a golf bucket list moment that is hard to put a price on.

Fast Facts

Sawgrass Marriott Resort & Spa

www.marriott.com

904-285-7777

TPC Sawgrass

www.tpc.com/tpc-sawgrass

904-273-3235

/ Scott MacLeod @Flagstick