Touring TPC Sawgrass

Greetings from St. Augustine, Florida! 

My wife and I are in town checking out possible retirement properties, and yesterday I took a sojourn to TPC Sawgrass, the home of The Players Championship (up the coast in Ponte Vedra Beach.)  I have written about this course, watched every tournament contested at this course, but never visited until yesterday.  What a treat! 

As I walked in from the parking lot, I noticed the venue was buzzing with practice round activity for the upcoming PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship.  This is a 54-hole stroke play event contested on The Stadium and Valley courses over the next three days.  I figured this was perfect to see this fabulous operation in action.

The expansiveness and grandeur of the clubhouse can be overwhelming, and I wasn’t sure where to start, so I filmed the following short video and headed to the driving range.

There were dozens of players, coaches, and a few parents working and watching at this extensive facility and I observed for about 10 minutes until I felt the urge to offer swing advice.  Then it was time to move along. 😊

The driving range

Next, I completely encircled the 77,000 square foot clubhouse after first stopping on a practice green and watching some of the women contestants rolling putts.  I noticed how shaved down and beautifully manicured the surface was and how quickly the balls were rolling.  I started to get the yips just watching.

The Clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass

On my self-guided tour, I was looking for the 18th green but couldn’t orient myself among the maze of cart paths and signs and figured I needed help.  Inside the pro-shop, after picking up some souvenirs, I asked if I could tour the course and they said that course Story Tellers were starting clubhouse and course tours at the top of every hour – perfect!  That’s when I met Julia Galac.  Julia is a volunteer Story Teller and gave me a history of the clubhouse, The Players Championship, and talked about the artwork adorning the main lobby.  Next, we jumped in a cart and headed out to the back nine.  Julia was full of amazing facts about the course, and as we stood on a hill overlooking the par-5 16th, noted that many tons of earth had been trucked in during construction and that a large piece of equipment had gotten stuck that the crew couldn’t move, so they built it into the hillside.  Amazing!

On #17 tee with Julia Galac – TPC Story Teller

We toured the 16th, 17th, and 18th holes, and I became fully oriented from having watched over the years on television.  The iconic 17th green seemed smaller in person than on TV.  What do you think?

On the way in, I asked if Julia had visited the World Golf Hall of Fame, and she replied that she had and that it was, “okay.”  I was planning to add that to the day’s itinerary, but it didn’t feel like a “must see” and I was getting hungry.  So, I returned to the clubhouse and sat down for a delicious lunch of Crab Benedict and afterwards called it a day.  The only thing that would have completed my journey would have been a round on the Stadium Course, but I didn’t have my clubs.  You’re probably wondering what a tee time costs here.  Well, open your checkbook, it’s a cool $600. 

A big “Thank You” goes out to the staff at Sawgrass and to Julia for an awesome day.  You do a great job!

Play well!    

6 thoughts on “Touring TPC Sawgrass”

  1. Brian !!! I live 10 min from TPC and I was in St Augustine last Monday. If you’re still around we may be able to get in a round. And if you do move to St Augustine – we will have to play for sure.
    I’ve played TPC Sawgrass many times. The sister course -Dye Valley course is also an excellent track on the same property.

    Let me know !

    Linley

    1. Linley, are you a member at TPC? How do you get on so often? I am in the St. Augustine Beach area until Thursday, but I didn’t bring my clubs. Am scouting out the area for potential retirement sites and I like what I see so far. Do you live in Ponte Vedra Beach?

      Brian

      1. Technically I live in Jacksonville Beach, which is right beside Ponte Vedra Beach. We were visiting friends last Monday who have a condo on St Augustine Beach. It’s a very nice area. The historic area downtown is cool – very touristy though. I have friends in the area who have contacts. If you become a member of the Dye Valley course you get 6 passes to The Stadium course. And in other cases some calls were made and I got on.
        Well I hope you find a nice place. When you come back please let me know and we will connect and play a round and chill out afterwards with some food and drink.

        Good luck house hunting.

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