October 23, 2009

The Sister Course of TPC Sawgrass's Stadium Course Coming of Age

TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course's sister course, the Pete Dye-designed Valley Course, has been booked for the Nationwide Tour starting next year. Dye's Valleyw as originally designed by Pete Dye and Bobby Weed and is a par-72 layout, with fewer water hazards, wider fairways, larger greens, but more undulations in those fairways. The even will be held in the second or third week of October with a total purse of $600,000, with $108,000 going to the winner. The timing for the new tournament will be key, as it will have a cadre of players make a late-season run at qualifying for the Nationwide Tour Championship.

Jim Furyk, a Nationwide Tour alumnus, said Nationwide Tour players and the TV audience will enjoy what for many will be their first look at the Valley Course. "This will be a great way to showcase the Valley," he said. "It doesn't get enough recognition."

The tournament announcement pleased the local newspaper, the Florida Times-Union, who repeated the Sports Illustrated label of their fair city as "Golf Town USA:"

This past May, Sports Illustrated labeled Jacksonville with this moniker leading up to one of the PGA TOUR's greatest golf events, THE PLAYERS Championship. Often-called the "fifth major," the event brings together the world's greatest golfers for the crystal trophy on a world-class course, TPC Sawgrass, THE PLAYERS Stadium Course.

Jacksonville was granted this well-said accolade given this high-profile event, but also for the sheer fact that we are home to over 1,220 holes of golf, several TOUR players and caddies, PGA TOUR Headquarters and World Golf Hall of Fame.

Home-town boosterism, aside, the Jacksonville area is indeed a golf haven, boasting a veritable plethora of championship caliber courses, so many that some seem to fly under the radar of the American golfing conscious, such as the Valley Course. Previously viewed as a poor sister to the much more well-known Stadium Course, the Valley will finally start getting its due when the new event begins next year. Add to that the facilities at the World Golf Hall of Fame, as well as other tracks, and it's easy to see that Jacksonville is a fine golf vacation destination, albeit one that still lingers to a degree in the shadow of places like Myrtle Beach and Pinehurst.


  1. I enjoyed playing the Valley Course MORE than the Stadium Course. It's a great golf course. If I had to play either one or the other exclusively for the rest of my life, I would choose the Valley Course.

  2. I agree completely with you, Vince.

    The Stadium Course is a great one, no doubt, but I view it as a course where Dye was left to design to excess and that is the exact result of his work. Just one man's opinion there, and your mileage may vary.

    I will say that I think that the Stadium Course has the most over-hyped hole in all of golf -- the 17th. Yes, it is a difficult hole. At the same time, it is not the Postage Stamp, nor is it the 16th at Cypress Point. It is not the 18th at Atlanta Athletic Club. All three are far difficult par 3's, and in the case of Cypress's 16th, the SC's 17 cannot even touch the beauty of the hole.

    Also, the 17th is hardly unique. It is a design that Dye oft-repeated in whole or in part, and you do not have to look long for something that is its equivilent. Here in Raleigh, the Champions Tour plays a near clone of it at Preston. For example.

    17 is not even an island. It has a causeway, making it a peninsula. Basic geography there, mates. If you want a true "island" par 3, go to Couer D'Alene. It is the only one I know of off the top of my head.


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