THE PLAYERS Stadium Course to reopen Nov. 15

Multimillion-dollar upgrade transforms popular course


THE PLAYERS Stadium Course will reopen for play Nov. 15, capping a multimillion-dollar renovation that officials say will benefit both players and spectators alike.

So dramatic are the changes, officials say, that longtime fans may not recognize the venerable course.

“To say that it’s a transformation is an understatement,” said Matt Rapp, executive director of THE PLAYERS Championship. “It’s really hard to describe how different it is from what it was at the last (PLAYERS) tournament in May to what it is now. There have been changes to many aspects of the course and it’s all for the benefit of the players and the fans.”

In addition to rebuilding and resurfacing the course’s greens with TifEagle bermudagrass, crews rebuilt all the bunkers and regrassed the bunker surrounds with Celebration bermudagrass. The practice facility has also been upgraded significantly, said Steve Wenzloff, vice president of design services for the PGA Tour.

“The goal was to create a world-class practice facility for our members and guests,” Wenzloff said, “and offer a more realistic experience similar to what they’ll find out on the golf course.”

Significant changes have been made to several holes and tees, he added.

“The biggest change is the redesign of the 12th hole, which has been transformed into a drivable par-four,” Wenzloff said. “Our goal was to add some additional drama and excitement to the back nine holes.”

Players and spectators will also find a much more open course, Rapp said, thanks to the removal of mounds that obscured some of the vantage points. Mounds that were initially created to enable spectators to see were “a little too severe,” he said.

“We’ve been able to reshape these mounds and make them much easier for people to walk on,” Rapp said.

In addition, a large land mass between the 6th and 7th holes has been removed and a lake added.

“Pete Dye called the 6th hole the most beautiful hole, but we didn’t have much traffic out there the way it was situated,” Rapp said. “Now it’s so wide open and the hole itself hasn’t changed one centimeter. I think we’re going to see people wanting to go out there.”

All of the changes to the course, Wenzloff said, will serve the goal of improving the overall PLAYERS Championship experience.

“From a player’s standpoint, a spectator standpoint and a member/guest standpoint, the PGA Tour is always striving to improve THE PLAYERS Championship,” Wenzloff said, “and this was a big step in that direction.”

In addition to the modifications to the course, renovations are still underway to the entrance to TPC Sawgrass.

“It’s going to be a complete transformation,” Rapp said. “I liken the change on the entry experience…as similar to the difference between the old clubhouse and the new clubhouse. It’s that big of a difference.

“The changes are really true to the ethos that this course was created upon: to create an incredible experience for golf fans and make this a bigger and better experience than you can have at any other attended golf event,” Rapp continued. “It is a testament to golf fans, a shrine to golf fans, and it’s going to be that much better moving forward.”