Inside the Clubhouse: TPC SawgrassMay 05, 2011
PGA TOUR staff
TPC Sawgrass Location: Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. - approximately 25 miles southeast of Jacksonville, Fla. Built: 2007 (replaced original clubhouse, which was constructed in 1980) Dimensions: 77,000 square feet Architecture type: Mediterranean Revival Private or Public: Public Can Best Be Described As: The home of the PGA TOUR and THE PLAYERS Championship
By Ward Clayton, Special to PGATOUR.COM The PGA TOUR's top players head to TPC Sawgrass each year for THE PLAYERS Championship. Learn more about the [19th hole] in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
What to See: The new clubhouse, which is visible from more than half of the holes on the course, was completed just before the 2007 PLAYERS Championship. The 77,000 square-foot facility more than doubled the size of the original clubhouse, which was razed on the same site before construction began. The entire teardown and construction took approximately 13 months.
The facility is a virtual museum for the history of THE PLAYERS Championship. The main entrance features a foyer dedicated to the history of the tournament and a grand staircase highlighting the accomplishments of past PLAYERS winners. Highlights include the West Gallery, where displays focus on architect Pete Dye's original drawing on the back of an area restaurant's placemat for THE PLAYERS Stadium Course; the $1 bill that was used to purchase the original swampy property; and Tiger Woods' 1994 U.S. Amateur trophy which he won on the Stadium Course. The Presidents Cup Library, honoring the bi-annual competition between the United States and International teams, is located at the center of this ground level.
The East wing offers PGA TOUR members private entrances and space year-round. The right-hand side -- viewing from the course -- is reserved for just PGA TOUR members or PLAYERS participants and their families during that week, offering a relaxing spot before going out to tackle one of golf's most difficult courses. This area also includes The Champions Locker Room and a Players' Lounge, which contains pool tables, televisions, EA Sports games and other amenities.
The upstairs facilities consist of 13,000 square feet of banquet and meeting space complemented by more than 3,250 square feet of upper level terraces with three meeting rooms located adjacent to the main room.
The 11,000 square-foot event lawn overlooking the ninth and 18th holes is large enough to hold four tennis courts. The best view of all in the clubhouse could be from the two "Bagpipe Towers" that are situated on top of the clubhouse, some 65 feet and three stories above the lawn area.
Hidden Gem: In the basement of the clubhouse is the route that participants in THE PLAYERS Championship can take from their private locker room to the practice facility. They walk the "Tunnel of Champions," a 110-yard long passageway that is adorned with black-and-white photographs of past PLAYERS champions and includes a flanking workout room and caddie locker room. At the end of this corridor, just before double doors leading out to the practice facility, is a large plaque that heralds the entry into golf's biggest stadium. It evokes memories of the sign at Notre Dame Stadium where the Fighting Irish football team touches the sign, "Play Like A Champion Today." The TPC Sawgrass plaque reads:
"Through this tunnel pass the greatest golfers in the world competing for the right to be called THE PLAYERS Champion."
Where to Dine: There are three distinct dining rooms, all located on the first floor with views of the back lawn and the ninth and 18th holes. "Nineteen" serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a more casual, 2,550 square-foot main dining area. "Traditions" offers a more formal setting for lunch and dinner. The smaller and more private "Champions" is set aside for members and their guests. Many of the signature dishes are named after former PLAYERS champions or local residents, such at Phil Mickelson's Lobster Ravioli ($28), Jim Furyk's Filet Mignon ($37) or Sergio's BLT ($12).
Golf Shop: At 3,300 square feet, the shop is one of the largest in the country and twice the size of the previous shop. The specialty items here include all types of goods with TPC Sawgrass and THE PLAYERS Championship branding.
Contact Information: 110 Championship Way Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082 (904) 834-4595 tpc.com
In the Vicinity: The Stadium Course's sister course, Dye's Valley, is also a well-respected course, as it serves as the host of the Nationwide Tour's Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open in October. The Atlantic Ocean is located less than two miles from TPC Sawgrass. Also adjacent to the ocean here is the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club, which includes two 18-hole courses, with an original island green on the Ocean Course that in part inspired the famous 17th hole on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course. Sawgrass Country Club, the previous site of THE PLAYERS from 1977-1981, is located across Highway A1A. St. Augustine, the nation's oldest city, is located just 30 minutes south of Ponte Vedra Beach and features many tourist sites, including the World Golf Hall of Fame at the World Golf Village near I-95.