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2010 TPC: Island Green at 17 Makes Sawgrass' Signature Special

Gary Newkirk/Getty Images
Joseph BurkeyAnalyst IMay 7, 2010

Every golf course has something going for it.

At The Pheonix Open, it's the rowdy and rocky 16th; Augusta National's treacherous 12th comes complete with shady shadows, cobble bridge and golden bell flowers at the Masters; even old St Andrews boast a big old building; and Pebble Beach really has too many too beauties to chose just one.

At Sawgrass, however, it's the Island Green at hole 17.

It's the very definition of a signature hole. A funky green island in the middle of a lake with a small walkway leading out to it from the back of the green.

Originally designed as a par-three peninsula partially surrounded by a lake. The soil surrounding the 17th, however, consisted of sand — necessary to build a good golf course on the otherwise swampy property. By the time the course was near completion all the sand had been dug from the area, leaving a large crater.

Designer's Pate and Alice Dye differed on what to do with the crater. Alice suggested the island, but Pete was not a fan. It happened anyway, and  it now NBC covers the hole in The Players Championship with 11 cameras.

What's so important about a signature hole? In reality, they say, it's just a marketing ploy. In reality, I say, it's much, much more.

A signature hole gives a dash of glory, or a splash of agony to a tournament. It lends a dramatic beauty to a course, making it a work of art to watch and paradise to play on.

But the best signatures are saved for late on a course, and the Island Green at Sawgrass lets players feel something different.

You're out on an island, cut off from the mainland. A seagull might make off with your lie, and though it's yet to happen, a gator could ruin your eagle shot—or maybe your ball just takes a swim to cost you the lead.

Fred Couples shot an ace once, but had no idea where it was going when it left the tee. Tiger snaked in an awesome birdie. And of course, over 50 balls have gotten wet in a single tournament.

The Island Green is a special part of The Players Championship at Sawgrass, and although, there are 17 other holes to make you, it's the one most likely to break you—in a most beautiful and dramatic fashion.



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