Posted on May 2, 2013 - 12:10 PM
by Kathleen Floryan
Luxury Real Estate Ponte Vedra - TPC AT SAWGRASS PLAYERS CLUB Prepares for Largest Purse in Golf
THE PLAYERS Championship is preparing for it's 40th year of play celebration and this tournament continues to be the largest purse in GOLF at $9,500,000 with the winning share being $1,710,000. Golf Club Night at THE PLAYERS on May 1st, was an opportunity for me to have a rare behind the scenes look at the biggest annual event in Ponte Vedra Beach just five days before the gates spring open. After receiving an exclusive invite from PGA Tour headquarters to attend along with twenty two Northeast Florida area Golf Club Pros and other invited Golf Member guests for Hors d'Oeuvres, Wine and Beer, I was excited to attempt to shoot golf balls towards the hole on the 1/3 size replica of the 17th Island Green inside Stadium Village.
The concept was simple enough, take a chance to shoot two golf balls to wins a chance for a beautiful Waterford Crystal bowl. Member vs Member winner would go against Golf Pro vs Golf Pro winner. As I sunk my two chipping shots into the water I took solace that others, including the Pros, sunk their shots without hitting the green. Then along came a 10 year old boy who on his first hit sunk a hole in one!! Ah youth!! I was never that good. Was it luck or skill? After that, I didn't wait to find out who won the crystal bowl. It was time for me to find some other activity and I learned that I could hop onto a golf cart for a personal tour of the course. It was my lucky moment when, Jared Rice, Director for Sales & Marketing for THE PLAYERS Championship was available for my tour! And off we went along the golf cart path to check on the progress of all of the preparations for the tournament.
This back door pass was very cool! It was evident that TPC employees were still working hard using every bit of sunlight available to get things done and it was already going on past 6:30pm. One of the new venues we passed includes an area featuring local restaurants "A Taste of Jax" located between No 11 green and No 12 tee with the promise of showcasing our very best culinary treats from area Chefs like David and Matthew from Medure. A food court located behind 16th green will have plenty of choices from Bonos BarBQ, Brucci's, Firehouse subs, Tropical Smoothie, M Shak and there is plenty of shady areas with tables and chairs set up.
Also a great idea are centrally located video boards to watch all the tournament action. There will be something for everyone including the opportunity to try the replica shot like I did inside Stadium Village. Interactive play area for kids, and an indoor cool zone sponsored by the city of Jacksonville. All of the pavilions, such as The Turn, The Benefactor, and so many more with the grandstands and viewing areas are all in place. Wine at Nine is also a favorite of mine and will be enjoyed by many. NOLET Silver Lounge located near the 9th tee box will be an upscale lounge area with a way to watch both the 9th tee and the 18th tee. The excitement is palpable. The last minute landscaping and flower plantings will most likely be completed just before the opening day.
Jared Rice also shared something about the landscaping to watch for on TV if you are following the tournament. All of the flowers that currently planted around 17th Island Tree will all be converted overnight Saturday to Sunday to all PINK flowers honoring women and mothers and a reminder about Breast Cancer Awareness. New this year are two permanent concrete block buildings with Spanish tile roofs matching the architectural style of the clubhouse strategically located on the grounds as public restrooms. The tour ended with me very enthusiastic and enlightened. Thank you for your generous time Jared Rice.
Also on hand for this Golf Club evening event was Bill Hughes, Regional Director of TPC Operations. Bill spoke briefly to the crowd about the impact that the PLAYERS has on the local economy and charities. In 2012, $6.5 Million was raised for local charities by the TPC PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP with over 300 charities benefiting. The overall economic impact for Northeast Florida was estimated at $150 Million. Even if you don't play Golf, if you are here in Ponte Vedra Beach, come out and enjoy the beauty of the course and watch as Matt Kuchar defends his championship title. New this year, FREE PARKING with vehicles having more than four people. Tickets are available on line or you can get daily tickets at any area Publix. Tickets start at $15. Meet me at the 17th Island Green replica.
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