Golf round at the TPC Sawgrass' Stadium Course doesn't disappoint
We took pictures on the 17th tee, then three of the four in our group found the island green with our tee shots from 135 yards or so. It doesn’t get much better than that.
After nearly 20 years of working in the golf media, I finally played the TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course today. I didn’t exactly have a stellar round, but I did hit the important shots on my way to pars on 17 and 18. That, my friends, will leave a good taste in your mouth.
After years of watching the Players Championship on TV, the golf course, though it’s been updated in the past three years, was pretty much how I expected it.
Conditions were actually better than I had been told (an unusually cold winter has taken its toll on the course’s Bermuda fairways and greens). It was Florida Pete Dye golf at its best, and if you weren’t on your game, you paid for it. But otherwise, I found it pretty straightforward, just as I imagined it after watching it on TV all these years.
For never playing the course before, it seemed so familiar, kind of like we know Augusta National. Our caddies, Ben and Paul, did a great job of recreating the well-known moments of the tournament, like when Hal Sutton eagled the fourth hole twice by holing approach shots in the 2001 tournament. Or when Davis Love stuffed a 6-iron from the pine straw among the trees on 16 to make eagle en route to a final-round 64 and a six-shot victory in 2003.
Our rounds, obviously weren’t as great, but we all had our moments. Michael, a lawyer from Tampa Bay, came within an eyelash of making his own eagle on 16, then George, a financial consultant from New York, poured in a 20-footer for birdie on the same hole. And then there was Doug, who works with Michael. Doug kept us entertained.
My moment nearly came on the short 17th, but I missed the five-footer for birdie. Michael captured my disappointment on video and promised to send it to me.
In the end, we retired to the colossal three-year-old Mediterranean-style clubhouse that truly is a shrine to the players on the PGA Tour. I returned later for an incredible meal at the clubhouse, which I will detail more in an upcoming review. All in all, if you’re a golfer and a golf fan, this is a trip you need to make.
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