The Famous 17th at TPC at Sawgrass
What Makes A TPC?
By Kickntrue on 5/10/07
Question: What makes a 'TPC' course?

Since today, Thursday, May 10, 2007, marks the beginning of this years "The Players Championship" held at the TPC at Sawgrass, I guess I'll answer my own questions to get us started!

In the late 1970's, the PGA Tour had a grand idea to design and build a series of courses that they would own and use specifically for tournaments. Aside from being a challenging and demanding course on its tour players, these TPC courses, or Tournament Players Clubs, also were designed to improve the viewing of a tournament by the fans. They did this by adding large earthen mounds to the edges of all the holes that in essence created a stadium-like feel for the fans, providing a much better vantage point than at most other courses. And since the first course to make use of this stadium-seating feature was the TPC at Sawgrass, it was only appropriate that this first of two TPC's at Sawgrass be known simply as The Stadium Course.

Located just outside of Jacksonville, Florida in Ponte Vedra Beach, the TPC at Sawgrass Stadium Course was designed by Pete Dye and opened in 1980. This marshland turned golf haven all but symbolizes the modern PGA tour. It's filled with water hazards, sand traps, and incredibly difficult greens. Yet it's the 17th hole that has become most notable. The 132-yard par 3 features an island green with very little rough to catch an errant tee shot. And while it was never originally designed as an island green, during initial course construction, workers found that the best dirt to fill in many of the marshy fairways on other holes came from the ground around the 17th green. So, they simply decided to create an island green instead of a green bordered by a large amount of water on one side yet still some ground to save you on the other side. Many, including Tiger Woods, have argued that having such a challenging hole so late in a tournament does not do the game justice because players who make costly mistakes on the TPC's 17th have virtually no time to recover. But then, I guess that's just part of what makes the TPC at Sawgrass the TPC at Sawgrass! Something tells me that they won't be taking away the famous 17th anytime soon. It's way too exciting for that!

By the way, eight of the TPC's around the nation (including Sawgrass) are open to the public. So if you want to play, all you have to do is set a tee-time or stay at one of their resorts. The latest greens fees I found listed the Stadium Course at $355 including a cart. But when you're playing a course as beautiful as the Stadium Course, why on earth would you be in a rush to play. Take the walk, imagine all the incredible golf moments, and enjoy what should be one of the nicest rounds you'll ever play.

For more information about TPC courses, check out

Email Korry your questions at

Korry Franke is a Boeing 757 and 767 pilot for Continental Airlines where he flies out of Newark, NJ to destinations across the US and around the globe. He lives in Bethlehem, PA where he spends most of his time on days off at the driving range or out on the golf course giving his game the practice it so desperately needs.

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