THE PLAYERS Championship, also known as the unofficial “fifth major,” is in full swing in Ponte Vedra next week (May 10 - 15). Golf enthusiasts and amateur spectators alike will turn out to see the world's top golfers like 2015 PLAYERS winner Rickie Fowler compete with other hot shots including Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth.
The action takes place on the breathtaking TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course, located practically in Nocatee's backyard. As a matter of fact, golf enthusiasts consider Ponte Vedra, to be a golfer’s paradise with many world-class courses.
No matter who you’re rooting for or your level of golf knowledge, THE PLAYERS offers a fan experience like no other. Here are some 8 tips for getting the most out of your own PLAYERS experience:
1. Get There Hassle – Free
- Drive Yourself: Parking at THE PLAYERS is free for spectators on practice round days (Tuesday and Wednesday). For Thursday – Sunday, parking passes are required and must be purchased in advance. Attendees with four or more guests (#FourForFree) in a vehicle can park for free Thursday – Sunday with a free downloadable voucher, which allows for general parking off CR-210. Be sure to download and print parking passes in advance.
- Cab Service: Streamline your travel time and opt to take a cab to THE PLAYERS. Coastal Cab will have designated taxi stands outside the entrance at the Davis Love Gate and outside the Fred Couples Gate near ATP Blvd.
- Take the Shuttle: Shuttles will be available for attendees from downtown–area hotels to TPC Sawgrass. Omni Jacksonville, Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, Lexington Hotel, and DoubleTree Riverfront will offer shuttle passes for $10 at the front desk for an easy and cost-efficient way to get to and from the tournament. You can view the shuttle schedule here.
- Avoid Traffic: If you’re transporting yourself, evade traffic and elect to take the recommended CR-210/Nocatee Parkway route rather than A1A. Spectators should also plan to arrive before noon or after 2p.m. to avoid peak traffic times.
2. Save Your Appetite
No matter who you’re rooting for, everyone can agree that THE PLAYERS provides some of the finest and most unique food vendors for a sporting event. This year, popular local restaurants such as Trasca & Co. Eatery and The Candy Apple Café will be serving up delicious fare to hungry spectators. Come hungry and explore all the dining options THE PLAYERS has to offer.
- Taste of Jax offers a melting pot of Jacksonville restaurants, such as Mojo's Kitchen BBQ, Pele's Wood Fire, and more.
- Wine and Dine on 9 is where you enjoy a refreshing glass of high-end varietals from William Hill Estate Winery and small plates from Vernon’s, Sawgrass Marriott’s signature restaurant.
- Trucks on 10 is the place to enjoy unique eat from some of Jacksonville’s top food truck vendors such as Mystery Melt, Catullo’s Italian, Mama’s Food, and more.
- Tacos on 12 is where you'll find tacos and more from Jacksonville's favorite baja mexicana, TacoLu.
You can also bring your own food in a clear, one-gallon plastic bag, with all food items wrapped in clear plastic. But with options like these, who would want to bring their own food?
3. Go for More Than Golf
Every year, THE PLAYERS continues the tradition of honoring military men and women. THE PLAYERS puts on a full slate of military appreciation activities and events, and this year’s ceremony includes speakers General Mark Welsh, Chief of Staff, United States Air Force and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem; and a PGA TOUR player, as well as pageantry by military personnel and a flyover by the 125th Fighter Wing, Florida Air National Guard.
The Military Appreciation Ceremony concludes with a special performance by country legend Toby Keith. This year’s concert will be held at 6:30pm on the 17th Hole – as opposed to the clubhouse lawn in years past. The Military Appreciation Ceremony and Concert is free to any Tuesday ticket holder!
4. Travel Light
Leave your big purse or backpack at home! If your opaque bag is larger than 6x6x6 inches, it is not permissible into THE PLAYERS. You can bring clear bags measuring 12x6x12 inches or smaller, or purchase one at 25 participating Daily’s stores for $5(which is donated to The First Tee of Northeast Florida).
5. Dress to Impress
Sunny weather and preppy attire go hand-in-hand, and THE PLAYERS is no exception. This year, be sure to "think pink!" on Sunday (May 15) as the tournament will celebrate Pink Out at THE PLAYERS, where players, caddies, and attendees are all encouraged to wear their best pink ensembles. Pink Out at THE PLAYERS supports the annual breast-cancer charity run, the 26.2 with Donna.
6. Make it a Family Affair
Good news for families: youth 18 and under are admitted to the grounds free of charge, as long as they’re accompanied by one ticketed adult. There isn’t a limit to the number of children you can bring, but remember that parking is an additional charge (see “Four for Free” instructions above). Please note that the tournament’s specialty hospitality venues require children over six to have a ticket for entrance into those areas.
For families, THE PLAYERS offers Family Plan tickets, which include two adult stadium passes, unlimited youth admission, and two $10 food vouchers.
THE PLAYERS is a perfect way for a family to kick off the summer months and spend time together.
7. Get the VIP Treatment
- Entry to THE PLAYERS
- Access to the air-conditioned Blue Room VIP Lounge
- All-inclusive beverages
- Complimentary snacks and food by Forking Amazing Restaurants, Bistro Aix, Il Desco, and Ovinte.
- Exclusive entertainment and games, and more.
Tickets are limited and will sell-out, so make sure to get your pass today!
Upgraded hospitality passes, such as The Turn, The PLAYERS Club and The Greenside Lounge, can also be purchased. These upgraded tickets provide spectators with premium views, air-conditioning, and complimentary soft-drinks and water.
8. If You're Military, Attend for Free
In order to honor the more than 250,000 service men and women in the Jacksonville area, active duty, reserve, retirees and dependents receive complimentary admission all week (to obtain a voucher, use this link then click on “Military” and fill out the form) and have access to Birdies for the Brave® Patriots’ Outpost, a hospitality tent for military only with complimentary food, beverages and activities. Non-retired U.S. military veterans can use the same link to obtain discounted tickets.