Overseed process underway at TPC Sawgrass

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Preparations are well underway at TPC Sawgrass to ensure ideal tournament conditions for The Players 2019
Posted on
November 20, 2018
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Overseed process underway at TPC Sawgrass

November 20, 2018

Preparations are well underway at TPC Sawgrass to ensure ideal tournament conditions for THE PLAYERS 2019, which is set for its return to March (March 12-17, 2019). The entire TPC Sawgrass property was overseeded with rye grass on October 31, and the course will remain closed to the public until November 21. In addition, the build out has already begun for all hospitality areas, fan bleachers and infrastructure on tournament grounds.

“Our priority is to continuously elevate all areas of the event in order to ensure THE PLAYERS stands as one of the premier sporting events in the world,” said Executive Director Jared Rice. “The most recent advancements at TPC Sawgrass speak to this tournament's commitment to providing the very best experience for players, fans, sponsors and community partners.”

The 2019 tournament marks the return of THE PLAYERS Championship to March for the first time since 2006. The recent wall-to-wall rye overseed of the greens, tees, fairway and rough will ensure ideal tournament conditions and allow the course to recover much more quickly from inclement weather, if necessary.

“Our Bermuda grass base will not be fully growing by the time of the tournament, so overseeding the golf course gives us the best advantage to have actively growing turf to help produce the best championship playing surfaces possible,” said Jeff Plotts, Director of Golf Course Operations at TPC Sawgrass. “Divots and ball marks will recover quicker, and the rye grass will handle foot traffic better than Bermuda grass on its own. When you look at the changes and improvements that have been made to the course since 2006, the last time the tournament was hosted in March, the entire facility has been enhanced literally from the ground up. TPC Sawgrass will be challenging, modernized and fully-prepared to host the best players in the world with its new March date.”

Fast facts about the overseed process:

• The overseeding of all 18 holes on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course took five days, October 31-November 4.

• Four kinds of seed were spread through the entire Stadium Course, including the practice grounds: Rye/Fine Fescue on the fairways and rough; Velvet Bent/Poa Trivialis on the greens.

• Signs of germination occurred five days after the initial seeding.

• The agronomy team will transition the grass back to Bermuda at the end of May.

For many players in THE PLAYERS 2019 field, the experience at TPC Sawgrass in March will be a new one. Of the 144 players in the 2018 field, 26 (18 percent) played the tournament when it was held in March.

“Obviously I enjoyed it, being in that March date, having won it there,” said THE PLAYERS 2004 champion Adam Scott. “I think we're going to see it test us just a little bit more, require that precision off the tee to get it in the fairway, so that we can hit to some of those small targets.”

“You look at the players, and it's the best field we've played all year, and obviously you're on a golf course that tests every player,” said THE PLAYERS 2015 champion Rickie Fowler. “It doesn't necessarily favor a long-hitter over a short-hitter. You've got to hit all kinds of golf shots, so it will be interesting to see how the course will play differently. I'm assuming it'll probably play a little longer. It won't be as dried out. But it will be fun. I think it'll be definitely a different test.”

These changes will complement a number of improvements that have taken place through the years. Prior to THE PLAYERS 2007, the course underwent a significant renovation that included sand-capping all fairways and installing sub-air irrigation control systems under all green surfaces. Significant enhancements took place immediately after THE PLAYERS 2016, when the entire infrastructure was revamped to ensure the entire experience—from arrival to departure—was the best on TOUR. Key improvements during this period included:

• Re-built and re-grassed greens with Tiff-Eagle Bermuda grass to provide the best possible putting surface for players.

• Installation of a Precision-Air system under every green to give the maintenance staff better control of the course and allow the course to recover quicker from changes in weather.

• Redesign of holes 6 and 7 to provide a front-nine destination for fans that is more connected to the action surrounding the clubhouse.

• Redesign of holes 11, 12 and 13 to enhance the excitement early on the back nine and anchor a new spectator and sponsor experience on-course.

• New practice grounds area that included expansion by 30 percent, adding targets that mimic course conditions.

• New clubhouse entryway to provide a better view of the clubhouse and create a true, compelling sense of arrival.

In addition to the course improvements, the 77,000 square foot clubhouse that was completed in just 13 months prior to the start of the 2007 tournament continues to showcase THE PLAYERS' premier stature on the golf calendar. The Mediterranean revival-style clubhouse and centerpiece of TPC Sawgrass is twice as large as the previous clubhouse and is a virtual museum for the history of THE PLAYERS while serving as the perfect host for fans, partners and players alike.

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