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Florida's TPC Sawgrass Stadium course is back with a vengeance

By S. Adam Cardais,
Staff Writer

The public got its first look at the new Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass in mid-November following the Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. course's eight-month, multi-million-dollar makeover.

The course, host of The Players Championship (which will be played next year in May instead of March), has a new drainage and irrigation system, renovated fairways, rebuilt greens, an elevated walkway along the last three holes and 140 extra yards. A new 77,000-square-foot clubhouse, scheduled for completion in April, will complement the revamped Pete Dye design.

"We are very pleased with the progress of the renovation and extend our gratitude to everyone involved in the project for their dedication, diligence and commitment in helping us achieve our ambitious goals," David Pillsbury, president of PGA Tour Golf Course Properties, said in a statement.

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"With our golf-course enhancements and massive infrastructure improvements, we will deliver Pete Dye's masterpiece at its very best to Tour players and resort guests for years to come."

Dye collaborated with Jacksonville-based MacCurrach Golf Construction on the renovation, which comes nearly 30 years after he created the original design. In that time, the Stadium course has gained reputation as one of Florida's most punishing target-golf tracks.

The Stadium course made's list of the state's top 10 courses. Golf Digest ranked it fourth among Florida tracks and listed it among the 100 best U.S. courses.

In terms of exposure, the Stadium course's only serious competitor in Florida is the famed Blue Monster at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami, which also reopened last fall after a lengthy renovation.

Like the Blue Monster, a PGA Tour venue for more than 40 years, the Stadium course has gotten more than its share of the TV time. Its No. 17 is said to be the most televised hole in professional golf.

The shallow green on this short par 3 is in the middle of a pond, a tiny target even the pros can have trouble hitting. Many a well-struck ball still winds up in the drink.

This isn't the first polishing the Stadium course has received. Dye has returned to Ponte Vedra several times, famously reinforcing the course's defenses after Greg Norman went 24-under in 1994.

TPC Sawgrass' other track, the Valley course, was also renovated earlier this year.

January 12, 2007

The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication.

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