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Simply put, the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass is one of the most iconic golf holes on the planet.

One could easily argue that the Stadium Course’s signature hole is one of the two most famous penultimate holes in the world, the other being the Road Hole on the Old Course at St. Andrews. But we won’t get into that discussion here today.

No, today we’re here to talk about how the famous island green at the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass, which consistently gives the PGA Tour‘s best golfers fits during the annual playing of The Players Championship, actually came about by accident.

How long is the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass?

For those perhaps unfamiliar with the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass, there really isn’t that much to it.

Listed at 137 yards on the official Stadium Course scorecard, it’s consistently one of the shortest par-3s played during the PGA Tour season. Most pros need only a wedge to get there, perhaps a chippy 9-iron if the wind is gusting back toward the tee box.

The difficulty, of course, is that there’s little to no room for error as just about any shot that’s short, long, left, or right will find the water that surrounds the green. Now, the island green is technically a peninsula, but it’s close enough. And there is a lone bunker that can save some of the short shots.

The putting surface itself is much smaller than most on the PGA Tour. It measures just 78 feet from front to back and 81 feet from right to left. So, again, there isn’t much to it. But it certainly demands precision.

What’s funny is that this iconic hole actually came about by accident.

The 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass was an accident

The 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass
The 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass | Chris Condon/PGA Tour via Getty Images

When Pete Dye was designing the Stadium Course, the plan was always for the 17th to play as a par-3. However, there was only supposed to be a small pond guarding the green. The issue became the amount of sand on that part of the land. Sand is essential to building a golf course. And as this one was built on Florida swampland, there was a bit of a shortage.

As other parts of the course needed said sand, the planned pond around the 17th was excavated more than expected. Once the excavation work was completed, nearly the entire area around the 17th green was surrounded by water.

Seeing what had happened, Alice Dye suggested to her husband that he construct an island green as she’d remembered something similar from another course. Funnily enough, Pete Dye initially wasn’t interested in doing it but went ahead with it anyway.

And now, as mentioned at the start, the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass is one of the most iconic golf holes on the planet. The lesson here? Always listen to your wife.


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