Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass Has Many Admirers

By: Tim McDonald


You say you've never heard of the Valley course at the TPC Sawgrass? You aren't alone. The Valley is the younger sibling to the Stadium course, the much more famous layout at the home of the PGA Tour.

Still, like many lesser known sister courses, this one has its admirers. In fact, many pros and low-handicappers say they prefer the Valley over the Stadium.

That's because the Valley can be a very tough layout. On the day I played it, for example, the rough had been allowed to grow like wildfire, measuring a nasty 2 ½ inches, making it nearly impossible to get off a decent shot if you missed the fairway.

This was just after a Nationwide Tour event. Even without the ungainly rough, the Valley can be a bear. Its fairways are narrower than the Stadium and more undulating.

Like the Stadium, it's a Pete Dye design so it has more than its share of visual tricks, like the mounds that obscure bunkers and the slope and feel of the greens. There is always the constant movement Dye loves so much.

And of course, there are the characteristic touches by Dye, who has never had a conscience about doing things like leaving oak trees in the middle of the fairways. Also, water lurks on every hole, somewhere.

All this might sound like torture to non-golfers, but it is actually a very fun course to play if your game is under control and you want to be tested. Some of the par-5s are reachable and many of the holes are framed beautifully by trees, mounds and water.

The course overall is gracefully contoured, and you'll find yourself forced to hit a variety of shots, shots you don't normally hit on an average golf course.

So next time you head to TPC Sawgrass, consider including the Valley in your plans. If you're man enough.

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