As the home of the so-called fifth Major, The Players Championship, the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass has become one of the world’s most recognisable golf courses over the last few decades. The final two holes in particular regularly make it onto lists of golf’s dream holes, with the par-3 17th over water to the famous island green being one of the world’s most talked about. Now, according to the president of the USPGA Tour’s Golf Course Committee, the challenge for the pros and the many resort guests that play there every year will be even more memorable.
The Stadium Course (pictured) closed for renovations shortly after the 2006 Players Championship in April and the last six months have seen widespread – but not always obvious – alterations. While subtle design revisions were made to several holes, including the lengthening of the 18th and the softening of the 17th green, the major changes occurred underground.
“The golf course renovation was as dramatic below the surface as it was above, if not more so,” David Pillsbury told PGATOUR.com.
“We’ve removed 68,000 tonnes of soil and replaced it, installed 22 miles of additional drainage and put a vacuum system under the greens to ensure they stay fast and firm even after it rains. On top of this the course is now 140 yards longer and the landing areas have been extended so that the downslopes in the fairways could be moved out. They are no longer an advantage for the longer hitters – the course is now more balanced and more of a shotmaker’s course.”
“The practice facilities have also been greatly enhanced, while the three new bunkers on the 7th will be obvious to everyone. We have also changed several mounds all over the course to make it more friendly for the spectator. On top of this, Marriott are spending the equivalent of $33,000 per room on updating and decorating all the bedrooms at the resort. This makes it even more appealing for the resort golfer.”