Ponte Vedra Beach is home to the PGA Tour and to Sawgrass Players Club, the renowned residential and recreational community. Sawgrass Players Club is a collection of neighborhoods, each distinctive in its own right, linked together by a lifestyle that is in harmony with nature.
Located in Northeast St. Johns County, Ponte Vedra Beach is home to the PGA Tour and to Sawgrass Players Club, the renowned residential and recreational community. Sawgrass Players Club encompasses nearly 1,900 residences, including single-family homes, patio homes, condominiums and a variety of living units at Vicar’s Landing, a retirement community.
The development of Sawgrass Players Club, and its sister community to the east, Sawgrass Country Club, took seed in 1972, when developer James Stockton Jr. broke ground for the 1,100-acre Sawgrass community east of State Road AIA. The name Sawgrass was said to be chosen by Stockton one restless night, after he tossed around names such as Sea Spray and Dune Village.
Home of The Players championship and backdrop to the PGA Tour headquarters, TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida is perhaps the world’s most famous golf course. The legendary TPC Stadium course was built to challenge the pros like no other track had done before, while providing an unprecedented experience for spectators at the same time.
Today, golfers will find not one, but two championship courses at the club, both designed by world-renowned architect Pete Dye. The TPC Stadium course and Dye’s Valley Course offer two, perfectly balanced game experiences – winding through Northeast Florida’s naturally compelling landscape and of course boasting the internationally famous 17th Hole Island Green – arguably the signature hole of the entire sport.
TPC Sawgrass was born from the dream of then PGA tour commissioner Deane Beman to create a special and unique host site for The Players championship. The event was the only one owned by players of the PGA Tour, and Beman’s vision was that this permanent host club would be as well.
Beman first approached the owners of Sawgrass Country Club, the Arvida Corporation, and offered to buy their facility. Not only did they not want to sell, they didn’t believe that Beman would ever get financing or approval to buy a facility. Arvida Chairman Charles Cobb even proposed a $100 “business sportsmanship” bet to Beman that he could never achieve his dream.
Determined, Beman sought other options to stay in Ponte Vedra Beach. He soon found allies in the Fletcher brothers, major landowners in the area. They believed in the dream so much that they eventually sold 415 acres of wooded wetlands and swamp to the PGA Tour for $1.
With the land in hand, approval to build this dream came from the PGA Tour Policy Board quickly. A formal ceremony to begin construction was held on the heavily wooded site. To mark the occasion, Beman hit a ceremonial “first shot.” Not so happy with the result, Behman decided to take a mulligan and promptly hit another – the Tournament Players Club’s first mulligan.
With the club finally built and about to officially open, Beman received a special plaque marking the occasion in March, 1980. It showcased a $100 bill, which is on display in the clubhouse with this inscription, “To Deane Beman, the man who did what we said couldn’t be done. From Chuck Cobb and his associates at Arvida, who bet on the difficulty of the task, not on the capability of the man doing the task.”
The creation of TPC Sawgrass as host to The Players was based on several unique concepts:
1. First, it would be the permanent home of The Players, and it would be owned by the PGA Tour players.
2. Second, the course and surrounding areas would be built with spectators in mind. It would be the first true “Stadium Course,” designed and built to improve the overall on-site fan experience.
3. Third, prior to the construction of the TPC, nearly all of the great tournaments were played at private clubs where the average fan rarely had a chance to play. The TPC would be a course of great design and character that would be accessible to all golf fans.
Working with golf course architect Pete Dye, Dean Beman wanted a course design that would favor no particular player or style of play. To meet this goal, an extensive effort was made to design a balanced golf course. There had to be a selection of short, medium and long holes within the categories of par-3s, par-4s and par-5s. There had to be both right and left doglegs. The course routing was laid out so no two consecutive holes ever played in the same direction. With this concept, wind direction would have a more balanced influence on the field of players.
For the first time, spectator viewing was given full consideration in the design and layout of a golf course. The site was a Northeast Florida wetland, flat and heavily wooded. Dye had noted that there were no more than 18 inches of elevation above the waterline anywhere on the property. Lakes were created not only for strategic play of a hole, but also for fill that was needed to create the contours of play and the first “stadium” mounding.
Key locations were designated around the 1st and 10th tees and at the 9th, 16th, 17th and 18th greens, where strategic viewing areas were built. These would be large, gently sloping mounds up to 30 feet high. From these vantage points, for the first time in golf, thousands of spectators would have unobstructed views of tournament play, similar to being in a baseball or football stadium.
An unexpected by-product of the lake construction was the island green at the 17th hole. What was originally designed as a small pond near the green continued to be dug for the valuable sand base found in that area. After the excavation work, nearly all of the area around the green was surrounded by water. Now it is perhaps the most famous par-3 in the world. Dye credits his wife, Alice, with the concept of building an island green after she saw the construction site one day.
The inaugural Players championship was held at TPC Sawgrass in 1982 – leaving most of the tour players wide-eyed with wonder. The original design was met with mixed reactions, many of them highly critical. Adding to the controversy was the fact that many of the day’s top players didn’t make the cut – including Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. The event’s first champion was Jerry Pate – who followed his win by tossing both Pete Dye and Dean Beman into the lake at #18 – then jumping in as well.
Now over 30 years after Deane Beman first set out to bring his dream to life, The Players stands as not only one of the strongest fields in tournament golf, but also as one of the select, must-play courses for fans across the world.
In 1987, Pete Dye and Jerry Pate contributed to the legacy of TPC Sawgrass once again when the Stadium’s sister course – Dye’s Valley Course – opened for play. Dye and Pate designed the course with Bobby Weed, resulting in another track that’s been recognized among the country’s best. The Valley Course now hosts the Nationwide Tour’s Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open.
The Mediterranean-Style, 77,000 square foot clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass is a majestic centerpiece for the club, providing Tour-standard hospitality to members and guests alike. Blending elegant, old world charm with modern, upscale amenities, the clubhouse features a variety of dining options, an expansive gallery, beautifully appointed banquet and meeting space and a world-class golf shop. The clubhouse is open for the public daily from 7am -9pm to enjoy and discover, with storyteller docents on hand to help every guest explore the club’s wide array of PGA Tour memorabilia.
This incredible facility was built in just fourteen months. Following The Players championship conducted in March of 2006, the existing clubhouse was demolished and construction began on the new clubhouse. The building was completed and fully utilized when play got underway the following year as The Players championship had been moved to its new timeslot in May.
In order to better serve our clients, our quarterly eNewsletter for the Sawgrass Players Club community is available and distributed electronically by way of e-mail. Also provided is a weekly update of the real estate activity within the community. Of course there is no cost or obligation associated with this service and e-mail addresses are held in strictest confidence. We only hope that over time you will appreciate our efforts and will consider allowing us to assist you with your real estate needs.
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Newsletter . . .
Affords insight into current property values by providing a quarterly analysis of the real estate activity within the Ponte Vedra Beach community:
Distributed via e-mail early each quarter reflecting the market activity of the previous quarter.
Weekly Activity Update . . .
Keeps owners abreast of the market by providing a weekly summary of the real estate activity within their community:
Forwarded via e-mail early each week reflecting the market activity of the previous week.
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