Ponte Vedra, Fla – Unveiled in 1982, the TPC Sawgrass course in Ponte Vedra Beach hasn't see many drastic changes since Pete Dye's master design more than three decades ago. The PLAYERS kicks off Tuesday May 9, 2017 and players and fans alike can expect to do a double take this time around. Steve Wenzloff, VP of Design Services for the PGA TOUR gave FCN a guided tour of the golf course and its renovations.
"To see the grading and the topography and just to see it come to life in a very short period of time is pretty unique," said Wenzloff.
Construction started immediately after THE PLAYERS Championship in 2016 and wrapped up just in time for 2017 play.
"During the Week of THE PLAYERS Championship it will only be the players that will see what you're seeing right now and this view," said Wenzloff standing on the neatly manicured entryway. The stunning space is now opened up connecting the clubhouse to the putting green, to the first tee and the entry drive.
"Everything is just linked now with a nice, clean, crisp lawn experience," explained Wenzloff.
A bulk head has been added to the practice area mixing in some color, shadowing and three dimensional aspects.
"We used the bunkers, we used them a little bit more deliberately and more expansive than we hv in the past," said Wenzloff. "We've got multiple fairways set up and mowed out that can be hit from differing angles."
The grounds weren't more than a swamp when course designer Pete Dye got his hands on it three decades ago. Changes were also made to a hole Dye describes as the most beautiful of them all, hole 6.
"Before we do anything to the golf course here at TPC Sawgrass we always work to get his thoughts into it," said Wenzloff who has turned to Dye over the years for counsel on course design.
True fans will no doubt notice the renovations at holes 6 and 7. What was once just two canals and a landform is now one big lake drawing onlookers to the area.
"You can start looking ahead and see what's happening,” said Wenzloff. “It's neat especially in competition. You're always sort of taking a sneak peek and this area gives you that opportunity."
Hole 12s design concept was revamped and unlike most, it’s not a subtle enhancement.
“We decided to make this golf hole a drivable, reachable par 4,” said Wenzloff. “The decision making and strategy of a reachable par 4 is about enticing a player to take one more risk for a greater reward.”
Wenzloff says the renovation started with a decision to resurface the turf grass on the greens. And since the course was going to be closed Wenzloff and his team took things to another level.
Starting Tuesday May 9, all week on Good Morning Jacksonville on Back in the Day with GMJ you can learn about the history of the TPC Sawgrass course.