TPC Sawgrass- hole 18
This is not my type of golf course
And this is not my sort of place...
The TPC at Sawgrass - Stadium course is the site of the Tournament Players Championship each year, and as such is seen on TV by golfers all over the world who instantly recognise the island 17th green.
As a direct result of the exposure gained from the tournament each year, the TPC course is in high demand from the golfing public.
Everyone wants to try their hand at that island green!
There is a real cookie cutter mentality to the process which is designed to get the golfer moving on time around the course.
You can hear the cash registers turning over!
This commercial side of golf is a necessary evil, and not necessarily what brings each of us to the game.
Nevertheless The Travelling Golfer had to be thorough and made the effort to play the Stadium Course....
Pete Dye designed the course back in 1980 specifically for the PGA Tour, and designed a course that demands precision shotmaking, with lots of spectacular water and bunker carries to very tightly bunkered greens.
It is not a course for the faint hearted.
TPC Sawgrass- hole 11
I thought the greens were terrific with enough movement to make them interesting, and lots of pin positions including some that were pretty hard to get at behind water, bunkers and/or mounds.
I don't remember another course where I had to deliberately aim away from the pin and go for the centre of the green as much as I did at the Stadium course- the pin positions were that tight..
But the green surrounds did not impress me at all.
The small deep pot bunkers were fine, but the majority of the green surrounds were 'chocolate drop' mounds covered in long fescue.
Miss a green and your shot was a flop shot out of the long rough, often off a side slope to tight pin positions.
No other options!
Just play the flop shot each time you miss a green..
Which is a pity because for me the possibility of playing different types of shots around the green is one of the great things in golf.
TPC Sawgrass- hole 1
The course itself is extremely penal, but that is obviously what the PGA wanted.
They want to showcase the skills and precision strokeplay of the PGA members.
After playing Sawgrass you will certainly have an enhanced appreciation for just how good the professional golfers are!
For the less gifted, you just need to hit fairways and greens and if you are good enough to do that you can score well.
This is target golf personified
Miss anywhere and you will rack up the score!
Personally I really did enjoy the constant challenge of all the water carries and played well with a number of birdies - but I am generally a straight hitter.
And I really enjoyed tacking my way around the course hitting to specific positions - chess with a golf ball...
But I am picking that the player who sprays the ball will go through more than a few balls, and not want to count his score...
I thought the most interesting holes were:
- hole 4, a shorter par four with double water carry
TPC Sawgrass- hole 4 tee
TPC Sawgrass- hole 4 green
- hole 10, a tight dog leg par 4 where position off the tee is everything
TPC Sawgrass- hole 10 tee
- hole 13, an attractive and challenging par 3 with water to carry off the tee
- hole 16, a nice par 5 which really comes to life at the end with the green hanging on the edge of the water and the 17th threatening in the background
TPC Sawgrass- hole 16 approach
- hole 17, a thrilling all or nothing moment in the round
TPC Sawgrass- hole 17
TPC Sawgrass- H & P at hole 17
- hole 18, an epic closing hole for the tournament
TPC Sawgrass- hole 18
So play the TPC at your peril!
Prepare to thrill at the challenges, and celebrate the occasional success - but accept that there will be more than a few disappointments as well
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