TPC Sawgrass through the years
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PGA TOUR Archive
Champions Walk Circle of Champions and the original clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass. Getty Images/PGA Tour
TPC Sawgrass through the years
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PGA TOUR Archive - Sawgrass 18th hole
The large spectator mound by the 18th green is no more at TPC Sawgrass. Getty Images/PGA Tour
TPC Sawgrass through the years
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Grass bleachers TPC Sawgrass 1980
Stadium-style grass bleachers were installed at TPC Sawgrass, but the maintenance hassles proved too much. (1980) PGA TOUR Archive via Getty Images
TPC Sawgrass through the years
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THE PLAYERS Championship - Round Two
Ryan Moore hits a tee shot on the sixth hole during the second round of THE PLAYERS Championship. The overhanging tree came down in 2014. Getty Images/PGA Tour
TPC Sawgrass through the years
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17th hole Sawgrass flood 1982
Sawgrass has flooded at various times throughout the years, including in 1982. Getty Images/PGA Tour
TPC Sawgrass through the years
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PGA TOUR Archive
Fans overlook the 16th and 17th holes on the original stadium seating in use at the 1982 THE PLAYERS Championship. PGA TOUR Archive via Getty Images
Alice and Pete Dye
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Alice and Pete Dye
Alice and Pete Dye TPC Sawgrass - Stadium Course Construction in 1980. PGA TOUR Archive/US PGA TOUR
TPC Sawgrass through the years
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PGA TOUR Archive - 17th hole construction
A view of the island-green 17th hole nearing completion in 1981. Getty Images/PGA Tour Archives
TPC Sawgrass through the years
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THE PLAYERS Championship - Final Round
Jerry Pate jumps into the water hazard on the 18th hole after winning THE PLAYERS Championship held at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on March 21, 1982 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. PGA Tour Archive/Getty Images
TPC Sawgrass through the years
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PGA TOUR Archive
The original clubhouse compound at TPC Sawgrass. Getty Images/PGA Tour
TPC Sawgrass through the years
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PGA TOUR Archive
TPC Sawgrass Aerial View PGA TOUR PGA TOUR Archive via Getty Images Getty Images/PGA Tour
TPC Sawgrass, scenics, course
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TPC Sawgrass, scenics, course
Aerial views of the practice facility at THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 2, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Prior to 2017 the area was expanded 35%. Chris Condon/US PGA TOUR
THE PLAYERS Championship - Round One
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THE PLAYERS Championship - Round One
A view of the 12th hole in 2017 from THE PLAYERS blimp. The hole was completely redesigned and shortened to become a drivable par 4. Chris Condon/US PGA TOUR
TPC Sawgrass through the years
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2007 - PGA TOUR - TPC Sawgrass - Completed Clubhouse and THE PLAYERS Stadium Course scenics
A course scenic at the 12th hole at the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL on June 18, 2007. Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR Photos (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA) Getty Images/PGA Tour
TPC Sawgrass through the years
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THE PLAYERS Championship - Preview Day 3
The new clubhouse was built inspired by the nearby historic Ponce de Leon Hotel building in St. Augustine. Getty Images/PGA Tour
TPC Sawgrass through the years
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PGA TOUR Archive
View of the previous 6th hole and water feature at the 1998 THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass. Getty Images/PGA Tour
TPC Sawgrass 6th & 7th holes
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TPC Sawgrass 6th & 7th holes
The lake between the 6th and 7th holes was expanded prior to the 2017 Players. Chris Condon/US PGA TOUR
TPC Sawgrass through the years
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PGA TOUR Archive
Hole #9 1998 THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR Archive via Getty Images Getty Images/PGA Tour
TPC Sawgrass through the years
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PGA TOUR Archive
Aerial view of the clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass THE PLAYERS Championship PGA TOUR Archive via Getty Images Getty Images/PGA Tour

TPC Sawgrass through the years

A look back at the first 40 years of the home of the Players in pictures

TPC Sawgrass is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2020. What was once the vision of PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman has become one of the great venues in golf. Only Augusta National is in TPC Sawgrass' league when it comes to constant refinement and updating of the fan and player experience.

The PGA Tour acquired the 415-acre site in Ponte Vedra Beach for just one dollar. It opened in 1981 and hosted its first Players Championship in 1982. Jerry Pate won the event in spectacular fashion and threw Dye and Beman in the water, followed by himself to celebrate. The yardage of the Stadium that year was 6,851 yards. For the 2020 Players, it will play 7,245 yards.

TPC Sawgrass has seen many changes through the years both subtle and large. Dye was a visionary bringing his stadium concept and construction to the swamp, about a mile west of the Atlantic Ocean. His ability to build a course here was a tremendous feat, as was Beman's ability to finance the project. But not everything panned out in the long run: his terraced, grassy stadium seating was scrapped in favor of easier-to-maintain mounding. But the Stadium-style concept has become a tent pole of the TPC network golf courses which seek to provide high drama and ample spectating opportunities.

In 1987, Dye's Valley opened next to the Stadium Course. While it doesn't have a hole as famous as the island-green 17th, it is nevertheless a tournament-tested venue that was a past host to the Korn Ferry Tour Championship.

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Resort
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Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Resort
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The Players Championship has traditionally been held in March, with the exception of a stretch from 2007-2018. The main difference being the May event was staged on warm-weather bermuda turf instead of cool-season Rye grass. 2007 was a big year in that not only did the event transition to May, but the brand new clubhouse was completed in time for the event. Inspired by the former Ponce De Leon Hotel in St. Augustine, the 110,000-square-foot shrine to the Tour is free for anyone to visit and receive a tour.

In 2017, a brand new 12th hole was built in the hopes of bringing more drama and risk-reward to this stretch of the golf course. Formerly a more tactical, 358-yard par 4, it is now 302 yards and tantalizingly drivable off the tee and many players go for the green.

Pete and his wife Alice Dye are to be credited not for their bold vision but ability to create a golf course that doesn't favor any style of player in particular. Combined with the deep fields, it is one of the most unpredicable tournaments each year. 2020, the 40th year of TPC Sawgrass, is the first Players where neither Pete nor Alice are with us any longer. Alice Dye, who is credited for the idea of building the 17th island green, passed away on February 1st, 2019. Pete passed away on Jan 9th, 2020.

TPC Sawgrass, despite the fact it has become a home club for many PGA Tour players, has always been publicly accessible, so any golfer can see how their game stacks up on the Dyes' greatest creation. While it is one of the most expensive rounds of golf you can play in the United States, the fact it is dynamically and seasonally priced means you can at times play it for less.

FROM $487 (USD)
JACKSONVILLE, FL | Enjoy 2 nights' accommodations at Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa and 2 rounds of golf at TPC Sawgrass Stadium & Valley Courses.

Brandon Tucker is the Sr. Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. Prior to the launch 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 BrandonTuckerGA.
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