Course Strategy

Inside the yardage book: TPC Sawgrass



The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is home to arguably the most recognizable—and nerve-wracking—finishing three-hole stretch in golf.

Stats don’t exactly bore out that it’s among the most difficult courses on tour, per se, but numbers don’t take into account the mind games architect Pete Dye plays with the golfer. Dye’s diabolical design is why, since 2003, almost 2,300 balls have ended up in the water between the 16th tee and 18th green alone during the Players Championship.

The par-5 16th is actually the easiest hole on the course, by scoring average, but is also responsible for the third-most balls in the water, behind only the two closing holes. At 523 yards, it’s reachable for just about every player in the field. An eagle could vault a player up the leaderboard, while a waterball could sink their chances at hoisting the trophy.

And then there’s the most iconic par-3 in golf, the island green at the 17th. It’s at most a 9-iron for today’s pro, but was still responsible for 66 balls in the water in 2021. For every “better than most” putt or “Rickie Fowler [owning] the island green,” there are several more “other” scores on players cards.

It doesn’t get much easier for players once they leave the 17th. The 18th is a brute of a par-4 in its own right, as the number of bogeys or worse triples the number of birdies. The best players in the world hit this green less than half the time, meaning they should probably all be celebrating “the right club today,” a la Hal Sutton every time they find the putting surface.

Justin Thomas barely skirted the water on the 72nd hole last year, en route to a win. This go around, he'll try to become the first repeat winner in tournament history.

With the help of yardage books from Strackaline, a company that scans and provides detailed books of thousands of courses (look up your course's yardage book), we can get an in-depth look at each hole players will try to conquer this week in Ponte Vedra.

Here’s a map of each hole: