PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. ' The New York Mets were just one-and-a-half years removed from their last World Series title when they moved their Spring Training headquarters north to Port St. Lucie, Fla., in 1988. At that time, Port St. Lucie was as much a golf vacation hot spot as Flushing, Queens, the real home of the Mets. It was essentially a rest stop on the way to Miami.
The PGA Golf Club was ranked the 30th best public golf facility by Golf World magazine in 2008, and as one of The 75 Best Golf Resorts in North America by Golf Digest (2006).
Q&A with the New York Mets
I was the designated hitter for Johann and Oliver one night for about five holes, said PGA General Manager Bob Baldassari, a PGA Professional. They couldnt keep the ball in the fairway. I think they were trying to hit home runs instead of going up the middle [of the fairway]. But theyve got tremendous hand-eye coordination, and theyre very good around the greens. And very, very, very competitive.
General Info on Mets Spring Training
The Dye course cuts through 100 acres of wetlands and is named for its architect, Pete Dye, who was inducted into the 2008 World Golf Hall of Fame. Dye says it is his most environmentally-friendly design, yet golfers will find it very similar to other Dye link-style layouts because of the roller-coaster like greens, shaved embankments, pine straw rough and heavy bunkering. Youll find all different types and sizes of bunkers on the Dye, often on the same hole, including large coquina waste bunkers, grass bunkers and pot bunkers. Just to the left of the green on the par-5 7th hole is the smallest pot bunker I have ever seen'about four feet long and barely wide enough to fit any stance. And if youre prone to getting seasick, you may want to stay away from the par-4 8th hole. The last 75 yards on this short hole is as bumpy a ride as youll ever find on a golf course, a series of moguls that leave you wanting to reach for a pair of skis, or Dramamine.
The most heavily bunkered hole, and the most spectacular, is the par-4 18th. From the tee, you can see more than a dozen fairway bunkers, all carved into the faces of large, grassy dunes which give the hole a distinct European flavor.
Each course has five sets of tees to choose from, with the Dye Course playing the longest from the tips at 7,279 yards. If you want to play something much shorter, there is the complimentary six-hole PGA Short Course, which youll see on your left-hand side while driving into the club. Distances of the holes range from 35 to 60 yards.
The real gem of the PGA Village is the state-of-the-art practice facility, which is open till 10 p.m. every night. A $24 daily fee gives you all-day access to the facility, so you can practice before and after any Mets home games. It includes a horseshoe-shaped teeing area (so the wind is coming at you from every direction), 7,000 square feet of flat and rolling practice greens, pitching and chipping areas, and a three-hole teaching course. The bunker area features seven different types of sands from around the world so you can simulate what its like to hit a bunker shot in Scotland.
There is no truth to the rumor, however, that some of the infield dirt from the recently demolished Shea Stadium resides in these bunkers.