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Playing At The Players

Andy D and his TPC playing partner, Erik, at the iconic 17th at TPC Sawgrass.
Andy D and his TPC playing partner, Erik, at the iconic 17th at TPC Sawgrass.

About a year and a half ago I had a wonderful opportunity. My then-roommate had a birthday, and he was an avid golfer. His father was even more of a golf nut. So on his birthday, his father – who lives back in Wisconsin, where we were both born and raised – called us up, and wanted to treat us to a round of golf at whatever course we wanted.


Our thoughts raced: Should we play Bay Hill? No, we should drive down to Doral in Miami, or better yet, drive over to Innisbrook and play the Copperhead Course. Then it dawned on us, how stupid could we be to leave out perhaps the best course in Florida – the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.

So we asked, and he happily obliged. About $750 later, Erik and I were strolling down the first fairway at one of the coolest golf courses in the state. We played some pretty decent golf too, making pars, some bogeys and a handful of birdies.

Then came that talked about moment when you stride down the 16th fairway and look to your right, and catch a glimpse of that little island floating in a pond. It’s true what they say, it’s the first thing you notice while playing the par-5 16th – which is an awesome hole in itself.

We finished up the hole and stepped onto the 17th tee. Erik went first, hitting a solid shot to within 15 feet. I was next, choosing a 9-iron to ferry my ball across the water. I hit it a little heavy, and thought my ball was rinsed. When I opened my eyes, I saw it, five feet from the hole. I rolled in the birdie putt, and can proudly boast that for my career on the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass … I’m 1 under par.


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