TPC Sawgrass finally in perfect condition


There aren't too many PGA Tour courses that play best in the hot summer months, but the Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is one of those venues.

It has been closed since April 21 as Certified Golf Course Superintendent Tom Vlach and his crew readied the course for this week's Players Championship. This comes after one of the coldest winters on record in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Thanks to the difficult winter, the course wasn't exactly in tip-top shape this spring. In years past, a cold winter wasn't a problem since the course used to be overseeded. But since the tournament was moved from March to May in 2007, it hasn't been overseeded in the winter so the Bermudagrass can grow in without competition from winter rye.

In his golf course maintenance blog, Vlach wrote: 'We had a devastating winter. We were completely dormant on the golf course and (mini-Verde) greens for 15 weeks. In the past two years we were dormant maybe two weeks and never lost color in the fairways. We covered the greens 36 times this winter, and we only covered greens an average of two nights a winter in the past. Needless to say, we had very little recovery potential from play. We played more than 200 rounds of golf a day leading up to the close-down period. The greens were worn out, especially in entry and exit points for the greens.'

That made for less than desirable conditions in March and early April, but the course is perfect this week and should remain in top condition through the fall, which means after the tournament and into the summer are ideal times to play the Stadium Course.

By the way, the only changes to the Pete Dye-designed golf course this year include a large spectator mound behind No. 2, open air-conditioned seating behind the 18th green, and a new 17,000-square-foot tent with outdoor seating located between No. 9 and No. 18 called The Turn.