Ginella, experts rate the Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- It's the home of the PGA Tour, but what's the Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass like for amateurs?

All of us here at GolfAdvisor have had the chance to take aim at the infamous Stadium, which is sure to capture a lot of eyeballs during the Players Championship.

The flagship of the TPC Network, TPC Sawgrass opened in 1982, but has stood the test of time for its exacting, penal design by Pete Dye. It's an experience I've taken on twice, and by the back nine each time, my golf swing is in shambles.

Golf Channel's Matt Ginella is quick to point out in his four-star review of the Stadium that playing the right set of tees can play a big part into whether or not your day is grueling or fun.

"It's especially fair," Ginella wrote in his review. "And can be fun, if you play to the tees and yardages that match your ability."

"The only true forced carries are on the par 3s. As Alice Dye told me, you could almost putt your way from tee to green at the Stadium Course."

Morning Drive: Ginella's Journeys visits TPC Sawgrass

Easier said than done, there are still plenty of deep traps and fast greens. Like myself, GolfAdvisor's Jason Scott Deegan has taken on the Players Stadium Course twice, but has yet to draw much blood, describing the second time around as being "manhandled."

That said, Deegan does think he can offer some advice to those up for the challenge:

"I think the Stadium only rewards those who play within themselves. Don't let Dye trick you into pulling driver when only 3-wood is necessary. Don't even look at the pin on any hole, especially the par-3s."

GolfAdvisor's Mike Bailey had the most glowing things to say about the course in his 5-star review. In fact, he doesn't even thing Sawgrass is Dye's toughest test.

"It's difficult, yes," Bailey wrote. "But not nearly as unforgiving as some of Dye's more recent works like Pound Ridge or French Lick. For the complete experience, take a caddie and walk."

The rest of us, however, didn't award the Stadium a perfect overall rating. For myself, it wasn't because of the course difficulty, but because of a few issues with the daily operations (click here for the full review). While the course conditions (greens included) were perfect during my most recent round in January, the fact carts must always stay on the path year round and the only way to walk is with a caddie (a policy that can cripple pace of play), the facility left me feeling a little like a second-rate considering the $400-plus to tee it up.

Have you played the Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass? Rate it on GolfAdvisor.

Brandon Tucker is the Sr. Managing Editor for GolfPass and was the founding editor of Golf Advisor in 2014, he was the managing editor for Golf Channel Digital's Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and nearly 600 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at @btuck34.
Default User Avatar
Commented on

Do the PGA Tour Players consider The PGA Tournament with more esteem than The Players?  My guess is that The Players tournament is a tougher test with a tougher field of players than The PGA Tournament.  I predict that one day, The Players will replace the PGA Tournament in Golf's Grand Slam.

Commented on

Hollis, Tour players greatly respect the PGA Championship. Fans may often find the US Open more significant, due to the name and how tough the course usually is, but if you talk to tour pros they often say the PGA is run and setup as fair and smooth as any tournament out there. Fields between the PGA and PLAYERS are pretty equal in strength, but my guess is the PLAYERS remains a "near-major" for quite some time. 

Related Links

There are 33 golf facilities in the TPC Network, but only 13 are open to the public as daily fees or available to resort guests. Here are some looks at each of the clubs that are open to public.
13 Images
Few destinations couple American history with world-class golf quite like St. Augustine, Florida. Just south of Ponte Vedra Beach, golfers can walk in the footsteps of legends Ponce de Leon, not to mention Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.
4 Min Read
If you're a golfer, you can't go wrong with a trip to the Jacksonville, Florida area, home of TPC Sawgrass and the World Golf Village. If you're limited to just a couple of days, which one should you choose? Here's a comparison between the two to help you decide.
5 Min Read
The motto at Blue Sky Golf Club is "everyone is welcome," and that includes golfers wearing T-shirts. And that's not all that's different about Blue Sky.
4 Min Read
More from the author
5 Min Read
December 7, 2021
It may be the private club capital of Florida, but golfers endorse these public-access courses.
4 Min Read
December 3, 2021
It's never been easier to design custom hats, golf balls, clubs, headcovers and more.
2 Min Read
November 30, 2021
It's possible this little ditty finds you scooping up the last bit of cranberry pie crumbs out of the tray. Thanksgiving may have passed but the effects of celebratory eating around the table, and also possibly social imbibing during all the various football games throughout the weekend, are sticking with us. To our bellies and elsewhere.
4 Min Read
November 23, 2021
We scoured the web of golf and found holiday savings up to 50% off.
12 Min Read
November 18, 2021
Golfers can choose from a wide variety of portable launch monitor price points and user experiences. Here is what's new and the best ones to consider to improve your golf.
7 Min Read
November 9, 2021
Our community loves the value and experience at these popular and affordable military facilities and even book online.
1 Min Read
January 17, 2023
Our community of reviewers select the local favorites and hidden gems on the Emerald Isle.
5 Min Read
January 17, 2023
Some golfers prioritize playing fast almost as much as playing well. These golf clubs kept things moving in 2022.
1 Min Read
January 17, 2023
Our community of reviewers showcase the best public golf courses in Pennsylvania.
By Golfers' Choice
1 Min Read
January 17, 2023
Our community of reviewers determine the Bluegrass State's top 20 golf courses.
By Golfers' Choice
Now Reading
Ginella, experts rate the Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass