The Junior PLAYERS Championship
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The Junior PLAYERS Championship

An inside look at The PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass

Bobby Weed brings personal insight into one of the most beloved courses Dye ever created.

Bobby Weed was the PGA TOUR's first in-house architect and an apprentice to the great course architect Pete Dye. These credentials make Weed arguably the closest living architect to Dye and give him a unique insight into this beloved course.

Which of Dye's design attributes are most exemplified on TPC Sawgrass' Stadium Course?

Pete had a vision like no other modern-day architect. His routing of the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass was exceptional; his directional compass created the balance, variety and interest that remains present today. A true feat which was ahead of its time.

He took a piece of property - one with minimal elevation (merely five feet above sea level), wet, murky, sub-standard soil conditions and dense vegetation - and successfully built the permanent home of The PLAYERS Championship.

Pete's tireless work ethic, enthusiasm and relentless pursuit were contagious with the crews that assisted him. I know that it took tremendous resolve by him to single-handedly bring Commissioner Deane Beman's dream into reality.

You were involved in the all-important and influential course modifications after Jerry Pate won in 1982. Which of these course enhancements has sparked new drama into THE PLAYERS and Junior PLAYERS?

I specifically recall a phone call by the Commissioner to Pete in Hilton Head. Following the inaugural event, there was an immediate need to make course modifications to appease many TOUR players.

From my perspective, these changes were significant and difficult to make, as TPC Sawgrass was ahead of its time. Some of the teeth and greatness was softened and altered, which was somewhat unsettling to me. However, Pete was a class act. He took this all in stride when meeting with a contingent of TOUR players for recommendations.

Ultimately, over a number of years and modifications throughout the 1980's, the course was transformed into the championship venue it is today.

How were the Stadium Course renovations conscious of the environment?

From the very beginning, the Stadium Course has been environmentally-friendly:

  • No housing development
  • Core routing that includes a moat surrounding the course, using reclaimed water for irrigation
  • Native, indigenous landscaping
  • Copious amounts of pine straw and minimal turf areas, creating an exceptional sanctuary and habitat for wildlife that continues to grow each decade

Your family founded the HEAL Foundation. The Junior PLAYERS has traditionally partnered with the HEAL and HUG Foundations to give campers with disabilities the chance to enjoy a golf clinic, skills challenge and dinner with AJGA players. How has this become a favorite tradition of the Junior PLAYERS?

The TPC Sawgrass staff does an awesome job with special needs kids and camps. It is wonderful to see the participant's smiles and enthusiasm. They enjoy time outdoors, experience golf and its challenges, ride around the course to observe lagoons, vegetation, wildlife and identify birds and critters across the expansive, groomed grounds and native areas. Most participants would otherwise not have this opportunity. Everyone receives great gratification.

Giving back is a cornerstone of the PGA TOUR. Its charitable contributions are wide-spread. Therefore, it is only appropriate for the JUNIOR Players to also engage in such a wonderful experience.

The Junior PLAYERS Championship will be conducted September 3-6, 2020 on The PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.