THE PLAYERS Championship is known unofficially as the fifth major, and it earns that tag for a reason…that is the daunting test posed by TPC Sawgrass, one of the most difficult courses anywhere on the planet.
When professional golfers tee it up in Ponte Vedra Beach this week at the famous Stadium Course at Sawgrass, all the talk will be of the iconic par-3 17th. It might measure just 137 yards, but the “Island Green” has played witness to so many heartbreaking moments.
However, there is more to the prestigious Stadium Course than just the penultimate hole. We’ve picked out five of the key holes at TPC Sawgrass, and ones which will decide who adds their name to an illustrious honours board of former winners.
Key holes at TPC Sawgrass
Hole 5—Par 4, 471 yards
A daunting driving hole with water on both sides of the fairway and sand in play, too, down the right-hand side. It’s the longest par-4 on the course at 471 yards, making a safe iron from the tee an unlikely option. And if that isn’t enough, there’s sand traps surrounding the green too.
Hole 8—Par 3, 237 yards
A long par-3 at 237 yards and one where everything seems thin. From the tee box to the green there isn’t much width to the hole at all. Bunkers dot themselves all the way around the green and this is definitely a hole to play for the heart of the putting surface. Birdies are a bonus, pars are what golfers aim for here.
Hole 12—Par 4, 358 yards
The 12th has been redesigned in recent times to become a driveable par-4 and offer the chance to get a shot or two back on the course. It measures 358 yards off the back tees, which is reachable comfortably for the majority of professional golfers. It’s a birdie chance and one that will be targeted ahead of the tougher closing stretch.
Hole 16—Par 5, 523 yards
The Stadium concept of the Sawgrass course really comes into force half way down the 16th, a par-5 test totalling 523 yards. What starts as a tree-lined hole suddenly has the lake firmly in play approaching the green. A solid approach shot is needed to avoid getting wet and the big decision is whether to take on the green in two or lay up and opt for a cautious approach—all this while thousands of spectators watch on from the galleries.
Hole 17—Par 3, 137 yards
This is one of the key holes at TPC Sawgrass and arguably the most famous hole in world golf—or certainly one of the top five at the very least. It is short, but the “Island Green” has teeth that can seriously bite. The island green is known across the globe and so many of the world’s best have failed to find the putting surface and instead watched their ball take a splash. A par at the penultimate hole is no bad thing—this hole can be the ultimate card wrecker even for the best in the world.