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The Birthplace of Stadium Style Courses

What is it about TPC Sawgrass and THE PLAYERS Championship that draws us in each year? Well, for starters there really is nothing else quite like the 17th hole island green, a par-3 hole that can make or break a round for pros and the common man alike.

There’s the luscious grass, the picturesque reflections of the Spanish moss-laden trees in the perfectly still ponds and the easterly winds coming off the nearby Atlantic ocean. It’s such a peaceful setting for such a challenging course that attracts top-ranked PGA Tour players each spring.

So great is this tournament and its importance – it’s often called the “fifth major” by fans, media and players – that we tend to forget stadium golf was born right here in North Florida.

TPC Sawgrass is the first true stadium style golf course that was designed to improve the overall on-site fan experience. Photo by Getty Images

Home to two immaculately-maintained PGA Tour courses designed by the legendary Pete Dye, TPC Sawgrass is, “the world headquarters of professional golf,… [and] offers an unparalleled experience.”

The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass was built in 1982 to host THE PLAYERS Championship. As the first true “stadium course,” the golf course was designed to improve the overall on-site fan experience, and this championship-caliber golf course is now accessible to even more golf fans.

Former PGA Commissioner Deane Beman worked with Dye in the planning process to create a course design that favored no particular player or style of play. The result is a truly balanced golf course.

Because there is no true advantage for anyone, TPC Sawgrass players find a selection of short, medium and long holes within the categories of par-3s, par-4s and par-5s; both right and left doglegs; and a course routing laid out so no two consecutive holes ever play in the same direction.

The 17th hole “Island Green,” is one of the most recognized holes on the PGA Tour. Photo by Golf Digest

The benefit of stadium golf is to allow fans better vantage points for tee-to-green views. A stadium course incorporates mounding and hillsides – around greens in particular – where spectators can sit and get a great view.

Many greens at stadium courses have somewhat of an amphitheater effect, such as those at TPC Scottsdale, which is home of the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the famous “Coliseum” par-3 16th, and PGA West in California, which has been named in the “Top 100 Courses in the World” by GOLF Magazine and is considered by Golf Digest as the 4th toughest course in America.

These stadium style courses are great for spectators and players, but are not exclusively reserved for the PGA Tour pros.

After watching all the action at TPC Sawgrass and THE PLAYERS Championship this week, check out to book a tee time.

What’s your favorite stadium style course?


Featured image courtesy of Getty Images

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