This is not my sort of course!
And this is not my sort of place...
The TPC at Sawgrass - Stadium course is the site of the Tournament Players Championship each year, and as such is seen on TV by golfers all over the world who instantly recognise the island 17th green.
As a direct result of the exposure gained from the tournament each year, the TPC course is in high demand from the golfing public. Everyone wants to try their hand at that island green!
So the stadium course is a money making machine which churns out golfers every 9 minutes like clockwork. There is a real cookie cutter mentality to the process which is designed to get the golfer moving on time around the course. You can hear the cash registers turning over!
This commercial side of golf is a necessary evil, and not necessarily what brings each of us to the game. Nevertheless The Travelling Golfer had to be thorough and made the effort to play the Stadium Course....
Pete Dye designed the course back in 1980 specifically for the PGA Tour, and designed a course that demands precision shotmaking, with lots of spectacular water and bunker carries to very tightly bunkered greens.
It is not a course for the faint hearted.
I thought the greens were terrific with enough movement to make them interesting, and lots of pin positions including some able to be tucked behind water and bunkers and mounds.
I don't remember another course where I had to deliberately aim away from the pin and go for the centre of the green as much as I did at the Stadium course- the pin positions were that tight..
But the green surrounds did not impress me at all.
The small deep pot bunkers were fine, but the majority of the green surrounds were 'chocolate drop' moun
ds covered in long fescue.
Miss a green and your shot was a flop shot out of the long rough, often off a side slope to tight pin positions.
Just play the flop shot each time you miss a green
The course itself is extremely penal, but I think that is what the PGA wanted. They want to showcase the skills and precision strokeplay of the PGA members. Hit fairways and greens and you can score well. Miss and rack up the score!
Personally I really did enjoy the constant challenge of all the water carries and played well with a number of birdies - but I am generally a straight hitter.
And I really enjoyed tacking my way around the course hitting to specific positions - chess with a golf ball...
But I am picking that the player who sprays the ball will go through more than a few balls, and not want to count his score...
So play the TPC at your peril!
Prepare to thrill at the challenges, and celebrate the occasional success - but accept that there will be disappointments as well