It’s not uncommon for wealthy sports stars to be obsessed with golf. And it’s not uncommon for wealthy sports stars who are obsessed with golf to build practice areas at their homes to work on their games. That’s what being wealthy allows one to do (or so I hear).
What is uncommon, however, is for wealthy sports stars who are obsessed with golf to build a practice area that is a replica of a signature golf hole. And that the replica they build might rival the actual golf hole their copying.
This is all a long way of saying Gareth Bale, we salute you. The Welsh football star who plays for Real Madrid has built a version of the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass that had us at first wondering if he had bought up the Stadium Course from the PGA Tour. Nope, this is at Bale's "backyard" at his home in Wales.
Check out the detailed railroad tracks around the green, and the tiny bunker front right, just like Pete Dye designed.
OK, so Dye’s original doesn’t have a fountain to help keep stagnant water aerated. But think about it … Bale has a fountain to keep stagnant water aerated. Talk about a unique sign of Bale’s golf obsession.
Of course, look at the way the guy spends his down time during soccer practice.
Bale warned us all that this was coming. In 2015, he told reporters that he had plans to build tributes to three of the world’s most famous golf holes. He didn't say how much money he was going to spend, but we're guessing it will make our eyes itch when it becomes public.
After Sawgrass’ 17th, Bale said he was going to have the par-3 eighth hole at Royal Troon (the Postage Stamp) followed by the par-4 11th hole at Augusta National.
Yes, a par 4 … in his backyard. The folks at Augusta National might be so impressed they're let him do it.