Play The Players
The inside track on the Stadium Course, TPC Sawgrass.
Premier Golf Business Development Manager and Golf Travel Expert, Bill Hogan has been fortunate enough to stay at Marriott Sawgrass and play the Stadium Course on numerous occasions. He discusses his highlights and tips for making the most of Premier Golf’s Players Championship packages, and playing at TPC Sawgrass.
What are the highlights of staying at the Marriott Sawgrass Resort?
Marriott Sawgrass Resort is much more luxurious and has so many more amenities than first meets the eye. I’ve always been impressed with how great the facilities and rooms are, and literally on your doorstep are the two TPC Sawgrass golf courses. Including the world-famous Stadium Course, home of The Players Championship.
What are the golf facilities like for guests?
The new clubhouse is available to Marriott Sawgrass Resort guests and golfers, and it really is one of the finest golf facilities in North America. Evidenced by the fact that so many PGA Tour players live near and practice at TPC Sawgrass on a daily basis.
I remember many times, going out onto the range and Vijay Singh and other tour stars would be there pounding balls all day long. I always thought, ‘If it’s good enough for these top PGA Tour players, it’s certainly good enough for me.’
And how about the golf courses?
Dye’s Valley Course was the biggest surprise to me, often the second and lesser-known course at a facility can be downplayed. But it is a really good golf course. Like the Stadium Course, there are so many risk-reward shots and challenging holes. The one thing I take from my experience is the Dye’s Valley course is a top course. Anywhere else it would be the showcase piece, but because of the fame of the Stadium Course, it does not get its due credit.
The Stadium Course is very unique; there are no holes you can relax on. It’s a golf course where every tee box you get to, you have to take a deep breath and think ‘ok, what do I do here?’
There’s trouble left, there’s trouble right, there are bunkers and water everywhere. It’s fair if you’re hitting the ball straight, but if you’ve got any sideways going on that particular day, it’s going to be a challenge for you. You better have your sand game in good order too! After all, it was designed to test the top players in the world.
When you watch The Players, you see the drama on holes 16, 17, and 18. I must admit, as you’re playing 14 and 15 your mind starts looking ahead. ‘How am I going to play 16, am I going to go for it in 2?’ On 16 you’re thinking about 17, ‘I just want to hit it on the green, I just want to stay dry!’ Then on 17, your mind starts thinking about the tee shot on 18, with all that water down the left-hand side – Remember Justin Thomas’ shot on the 72nd hole in 2021?!
Even though those are the most famous holes on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, every hole on the course presents a challenge. It’s somewhere everybody should play at least once.
To be able to do so right after The Players Championship, with all the grandstands and scoreboards still up, it’ll be a unique and memorable experience.
Any tips on the 17th?
It depends on the tees, it could be less than 100 yards, and it can play up to 140 yards. So make sure that when you play the Stadium Course you pick the correct tees and length for your game.
Going to the championship tee’s will make things very difficult for the average player, particularly on 17. Instead of a pitching wedge, it might be an 8 iron, which makes the small island green even more difficult to hit.
17 is a pretty good-sized green, it’s not that small, but you have to hit the green… there’s no room right, there’s no room left, there’s no room long and there’s no room short.
You can guarantee that somebody in your group will be in the water and have to go over to the drop area.
But it’s fun, it’s thrilling, and a lot of interesting things can happen on that hole!
Do you have any favorite memories of 17?
On the Wednesday practice round before the tournament, there’s a long-standing tradition that the Pro’s let their caddies hit a shot onto the 17th green. My nephew Bill Harke has been a caddie for many years on the PGA Tour. He’s notorious for having a really strong arm. So when it was his turn to hit a shot, he took a ball from his player and threw it onto the green, and was closest to the pin! I believe it was somewhere in the range of 130 yards that day. Nobody could believe he could throw it that far, and guys like Rory McIlroy were freaking out that somebody could do that. And here’s the evidence!
Premier Golf’s Players Championship packages for 2023 are now available. With hospitality on the 17th hole on Sunday and the opportunity to play the Stadium Course in the same environment as the Pros, it’s an opportunity not to be missed. Click here to view the packages, or to book Call 866 260 4409 or Email [email protected]