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Golf in Florida – in the Footsteps of Greats

In a sense Florida is the golf Mecca of America. The state has more than 1,250 courses, more than in any other State, and most are open to the green fee paying public.

All Square have visited three PGA Tour destinations.

TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course

This iconic Pete Dye course is the home of The Players Championship and has one of the most famous holes in golf. The 17th with its Island green have both drenched hopes of victory and been the scene for the forging of big champions.

This is the par 3 where Tiger Woods made the “Better than most” – put and where Bob Tway once needed 12 strokes to get the ball in the hole.

In fact 93 golf balls sank in the diabolic water during the 2007 Players Championship.

The grounds opened in 1980 with a Stadium Course built with the ambition to separate the best from the great, and this really shines through in the design. The course requires both shot shaping capability and nerves of steel.

Maybe this is also the reason many of the best players in the world today live in this gated community in Ponte Vedra Beach, just outside of Jacksonville. Everything here is set up just like they want it in order to both become as good as they ever can get at golf and to enjoy life to it’s fullest.

It is also a nice experience for hobby golfers, but maybe we shouldn’t play it from the tips where it measures 6574 meters.

The Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa sits just behind the 14th green. In front of the hotel bar patio they have a small replica of the 17th. This is where to go for enjoying a few pints and a bit of revenge.

Innisbrook Copperhead Course

The final stretch (16-18) at TPC Sawgrass is world known. On the Copperhead Course a the Salamander Resort Innisbrook the same number of holes has a name; The Snakepit.

Many of the world’s best golfers have fallen victims for the evil stretch of holes that has made The Valspar Championship one of the most popular stops on the PGA Tour.

Oh! And watch out for alligators!

But where TPC Sawgrass had an endless amount of cash in order to make The Stadium Course the ultimate test, Larry Packard had anything but money when he was handed the task to build the four courses at Innisbrook (Copperhead, Island, North and South).

When the resort opened in 1970 only small masses of land had been moved, and The Copperhead course – which very uncharacteristic for Florida runs through the woods – therefore still today feels truly genuine.

What really stands out with the Copperhead Course is the playability for both professionals and amateurs together with the sublime condition.

During your walk on these well-manicured fairways you will also see flower arrangements that will blow your mind.

The explanation; more than 80 people work daily with preparing the course for guests and members.

Bay Hill Club and Lodge

Arnie`s place is one of the real classics in Florida. Arnold Palmer purchased the grounds in 1974 and owned it until he passed away in 2016. Bay Hill Club and Lodge stretches around a number of manmade lakes, which results in a couple of iconic dogleg-holes on the front nine.

These risk-and-reward holes you will recognize from TV, and it is really quite fun to see how much you dear cutting the corners yourself. 

The atmosphere and values of Arnold Palmer still lives on at Bay Hill. When you check in to the hotel you are given a little piece of paper with house rules – a collared shirt and no hats are both on the dos and don’ts list.

For many years Bay Hill has been the home of the PGA Tour tournament The Arnold Palmer Invitational, and even though the course may not be as scenic as many other famous Florida venues it still has one of the tour’s most difficult finishing holes.

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