Spring Vacation Destination Part One: Golf

Famed 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. (J Jacobs photo)
Famed 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. (J Jacobs photo)

If watching The Players Championship, a major golf tournamentheld at TPC Sawgrass this weekend, you will constantly see shots of its famous island hole. Ponte Vedra, FL,

A place to try a copycat hole is a short distance west at the World Golf Village near St. Augustine. WGV is akin to Hollywood for movie buffs.

The island hole replicated at the World Golf Village. (J Jacobs photo)
The island hole replicated at the World Golf Village. (J Jacobs photo)

 

If playing golf, picking up anecdotes about golf and walking where legendary golfers have walked gets the adrenalin going, put the Sawgrass Marriott Resort Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. or Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village, St. Augustine, Fla. on your vacation list.

Sawgrass Clubhouse may not look as you expected. It's worth a visit. ( J Jacobs photo)
Sawgrass Clubhouse may not look as you expected. It’s worth a visit. ( J Jacobs photo)

TPC Sawgrass

Imagine teeing off on TCP Sawgrass’ famed 17th “Island Hole in Ponte Vedra, FL. It has already swallowed more than one pro’s golf ball during the Players tournament going on now, March 11-14, 2021. A major tournament, the Players was moved from May to March this year.

When the tournament is over you can play the course and see if you can land a ball on the green.

Arguably, the best way to snag the tee time you want is to stay at the Sawgrass Marriott Resort. If not staying there, call and ask about a Resort Day Pass

While visiting TCP Sawgrass, soak up the legendary atmosphere with a Storyteller’s Tour of  the Clubhouse and bring your camera. The Clubhouse is TCP headquarters. It and the course were built for the tour’s players.

Plan to lunch or do dinner at the Clubhouse. When weather permits, get a table on the veranda of the casual “19” restaurant for its view of The Players’ presentation area.

If time allows, book a lesson at the Tour Academy TPC Sawgrass. You can take your lesson on a course walked by the world’s greatest players.

Visiting the Golf Hall of Fame at the World Golf Village ( J Jacobs photo)
Visiting the Golf Hall of Fame at the World Golf Village ( J Jacobs photo)

World Golf Village

Or stay at the Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village about half an hour south of Ponte Vedra on the western outskirts of St. Augustine. You can call over to TPC Sawgrass 14 days ahead to see if you can get a tee time.

At World Golf Village, you can try to reach its version of the 17th hole. Actor Bill Murray had landed a ball on that island green when in town for the Caddyshack Tournament he has sponsored at a World Golf Village course before The Players.

Then, chow down on great hamburgers and other pub food at Murray Bros. Caddyshack Restaurant.

Be on the alert for celebrities  Golfing greats occasionally drop by because it is home to the World Golf Hall of Fame and the King and Bear course Palmer designed with Jack Nicklaus (the only course they worked on together). The resort’s other course is the Slammer and Squire. Sammy Snead and Gene Sarazen were consultants to course designer Bobby Weed.

Stroll the Walk of Champions to read Hall of Famers signatures engraved on the path to the World Golf Hall of Fame.

No matter whether bedding down at the Sawgrass Marriott or the Renaissance Resort, be sure to visit the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Exploring the Golf Hall of Fame (J Jacobs photo)
Exploring the Golf Hall of Fame (J Jacobs photo)

Head upstairs to see Hall of Famers’ lockers, learn the origins of golf and attempt to swing like the pros in a bay. Take a photograph as each of you cross St. Andrews’ famed bridge. Another flight up is the trophy room.

Tip: You might think the visit can be a quick in and out but you will find yourselves spending two hours in World Golf Hall of Fame.

World Golf Village is also the place to shop or sharpen your game. On the grounds is the PGA Tour Stop, a two-level, 30,000 square-foot golf pro shop, and the PGA Tour Golf Academy.

Visit St. Augustine, FL (J Jacobs photo)
Visit St. Augustine, FL (J Jacobs photo)

Both resorts are a good base for visiting the old city of St. Augustine,  founded 42 years before Jamestown and 55 years before pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.

Walk the historic area, boat the harbor and drive over to the Alligator Farm, where hundreds of birds nest in the trees knowing that animals can’t get to their nests because of the alligators below.

Birds flock to the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine ( J Jacobs photo)
Birds flock to the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine ( J Jacobs photo)

 

If you go

Sawgrass Marriott Ponte Vedra, 1000 PGA Boulevard, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.  800-577-6009 and 800-457-4653  800-457-4653

Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village, 500 S. Legacy Trail, St. Augustine, Fla. 888-740-7020

 

Author: Jodie

Longtime Chicago Tribune contributor for news and features. Travel writer for What's Happening, Lakeland Boating and A&E for CBS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *