Food and entertainment upgrades at TPC Sawgrass
Plenty to taste and experience at The Players
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – For several years, fans at The Players have enjoyed the addition of several new social venues, giving them a chance to cool off in the shade, grab a drink, relax with friends or watch the tournament on large LED video boards. In 2014, The Players introduced three exciting new venues for fan and family entertainment – Tacos on 12, Trucks on 10 and the Blue Room VIP Lounge presented by Michelob ULTRA – and made major enhancements to the Taste of JAX. Here's a refresher on some of the most recent additions from previous years, in case you missed them, as well as new additions.
NEW IN 2015: Fan Bleachers presented by MD Anderson Cancer Center
With two locations, the new Fan Bleachers presented by MD Anderson Cancer Center provide excellent shaded viewing for fans. Located on 16 tee, with views of 10 tee, the Fan Bleacher presented by MD Anderson Cancer Center offers a covered public bleacher and deck. Fan Bleacher presented by MD Anderson Cancer Center is located on 17 green and has public bleacher seating with a covered rear deck. Concessions are available at each location.
PHOTOS & RENDERINGS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST
UPGRADED FOR 2015: Tacos on 12
TacoLu, Jacksonville's most popular Baja Mexicana, debuted in 2014 and was one of the most popular additions to the tournament. It will once again be featured on course at The Players, but with increased capacity to handle the popularity of the venue. With double the seating capacity in the shaded areas located between 12 green and 13 tee, fans can rest, relax and enjoy some of "The Lu's" delicious menu items, which are always made with the freshest ingredients.
UPGRADED FOR 2015: Blue Room VIP Lounge presented by Michelob ULTRA
Located between Stadium Village and 10 tee, this ticketed venue includes all-inclusive beverages (beer, wine, soda and water) and signature dishes from top local restaurants, air-conditioned space and entertainment. Preferred price tickets are $75 for Wednesday, $100 for Thursday, $125 for Friday, $125 for Saturday and $100 for Sunday. Tickets are available exclusively at THEPLAYERSBlueRoom.com. Blue Room VIP Lounge presented by Michelob ULTRA includes:
• All-inclusive beer, wine, soda and water
• Michelob ULTRA two-story mobile bar
• Cocktails available for purchase
• Custom-designed t-shirts available for purchase
• Live music presented by DJ Japancakes
• Stainless steel souvenir cup for all ticket holders
• Access to THE PLAYERS Championship 2015 grounds
• Signature dishes from top local restaurants:
o Mellow Mushroom - The menu offers delicious pizza, hoagies, calzones and salads.
o Burrito Gallery - Burrito Gallery is a delicious and unique restaurant located in the heart of downtown Jacksonville. The menu includes burritos, tacos, quesadillas and fresh salads.
o Uptown Market - Uptown Market is a creative, modern twists on diner fare served in a stylish, light-filled space with an open kitchen located in Springfield.
REFRESHER ON OTHER POPULAR VENUES
Taste of JAX - Located between 11 green and 12 tee, this public venue offers flavors from local, favorite restaurants, a Bacardi® open-air bar, permanent restrooms and video boards to keep up with the tournament. In 2015, Taste of JAX will expand the patio, offer more seating and add two new local restaurants. Taste of JAX restaurants include:
• Metro Diner – Classic American fare with low-calorie and gluten-free options;
• 4 Rivers Smokehouse - a sophisticated Texas-style smokehouse that is re-defining the art of smoking, one brisket at a time;
• Brucci's Pizza: You'll find authentic Italian here; owned by the son of Italian immigrants, Brucci's dishes were born from traditional recipes;
Sea Best 17 Deck - It's hard to beat the views and atmosphere around No. 17, the most iconic hole in golf; but thanks to the Sea Best 17 Deck, fans have a better-than-ever, bird's-eye view of the Island Green, No. 16 fairway and green, as well as the No. 18 tee box.
The Sea Best 17 Deck is a public bleacher behind No. 17 green and features a covered deck, misters to help fans stay cool and concessions.
Sea Best products will be featured throughout the Stadium Course, including on the Sea Best 17 Deck located behind the No. 17 green. Zesty Lime Shrimp Tacos are the signature menu item of The Players 2015.
Trucks on 10
Located between 10 fairway, 11 fairway and 15 green, this public venue offers flavors from local, favorite food trucks, an upgraded restroom and an open-air, centrally located Michelob ULTRA Mobile bar. Trucks on 10 will offer seating for fans and include great-tasting food from local trucks:
• Mama's Food
• Corner Taco
• Up In Smoke BBQ
• Pounders Burgers
• Cely's Filipino Food
IMPROVED! The Welcome Experience - You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so with that in mind, The Players has upgraded the main entryway experience for fans as they arrive through the Nicklaus Gate from general parking.
The Welcome Experience features activities for the whole family, including:
• The McKenzie Noelle Wilson Foundation Kid Zone - Starring the "GameTruck," a mobile, video-game theater provides spectators with HDTVs and a wide selection of games for Xbox360, Wii, PlayStation3, as well as a GameCoach who manages the activities so parents can relax. There will also be a putt-putt course, arts and crafts, face-painting and an obstacle course for the kids to blow off some steam. The Kid Zone features a restroom trailer, videoboards, shaded area, kid-friendly food like snow cones from KONDA ICE (for purchase) and more. This is not a daycare area, as parents are required to stay with their children, but it allows parents the ability to take a break and relax in the shade while the kids have some fun. There won't be any "quiet please" signs in this area!
• New! Imagination Plaground - The Imagination Playground is an innovative playground equipment system that transforms any space into a play space, encouraging learning, social development and movement, and is fun for kids of all ages. Access to the Imagination Playground is free for all ticketholders.
• Daily's – For grab-and-go food and drink options.
• The Shop – The Shop is a great place to gear up for The Players, featuring 2015-specific items that won't last long once the crowds arrive. New in 2015, this 13,000 square foot tent located near the Nicklaus Gate entrance features 15 of the top brands in golf. The Shop features a limited-edition PLAYERS section, extensive headwear section and a pink section for Championship Sunday's Pink Out. Fans can save 10 percent at The Shop by using a MasterCard.
Autographs are not allowed on course during practice days and tournament competition days. The Players has designated "Autograph Zones" on course to allow fans the opportunity to meet their favorite players and get autographs. PGA TOUR players have been asked to spend time in the two designated autograph zones before and/or after play to sign autographs for fans. These zones allow more interaction between players and fans.
There are two autograph zones located on the course:
• Main player practice area/driving range
• Scoring area behind 18 green
The autograph zones are marked with signage for fans and players and are also listed on the course map. There is a "kid corner" within the autograph zones designated specifically for youth. These areas allow youth the opportunity to get close to their favorite players for a signature.
The Turn – The Turn is the perfect place for the golf-centric crowd to watch the action. The interior features a GREY GOOSE® 19th Hole Lounge with GREY GOOSE® signature drinks, including the Sawgrass Splash, and soft seating. Flat-screen televisions surround the interior lounge providing coverage of six-plus broadcasts at a time. The back wall provides a great view of No. 9 green and the front provides outdoor seating and spectator views of 18 fairway and green.
IMPROVED! Wine & Dine on 9 – Fans can enjoy gourmet small plates prepared by Matthew Medure, one of Northeast Florida's most renowned chefs, in a beautiful garden setting, taking in THE PLAYERS surroundings in style. And what's a gourmet meal without a glass of wine? Wine & Dine on 9 also features the BERINGER® Wine Bar offering high-end varietals. New in 2015, we have doubled the seating area in Wine & Dine on 9. Located left of 9 fairway, there are also permanent restrooms next to Wine & Dine on 9.
The Oasis – Open to the public (must be 21+), The Oasis features signature cocktails made with GREY GOOSE® Vodka, the official vodka of the PGA TOUR. Located between 9 and 18 tee boxes, The Oasis debuted in 2012 to expand on what had been a basic – but popular – concession area in the past. The area features an air-conditioned venue, where signature cocktails food and drink are available for purchase. The Oasis boasts a rear deck for prime views of No. 9 tee.
The Patio – A fan favorite since it debuted in 2011, The Patio offers a shaded fan zone that includes open-air seating, a videoboard to keep up with the tournament and food and beverage available for purchase. The Patio also features permanent restroom facilities, includes the Michelob ULTRA Bar and a social media board covering THE PLAYERS Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds. The Patio is located between 10 tee and 18 green/16 tee.
Stadium Village and PwC's First Tee Challenge – Located behind No. 18 green close to the Clubhouse, the Stadium Village is an air-conditioned public fan zone that features a centrally located bar, open table seating, luxury restrooms and the PwC's First Tee Challenge – a replica of the famed 17th hole where fans can take two free shots at the Island Green or purchase an additional chance for a $5 donation to The First Tee of North Florida.
Fans can make a $20 donation (or more) for a "First Tee Fast Pass" to bypass the queue, take five shots and receive a free sleeve of golf balls. All proceeds will benefit The First Tee of North Florida.
Stadium Village also features the following interactive fan experiences:
• Bridgestone Performance Center – The Bridgestone Performance Center focuses on helping golf fans have more performance moments on the road and on the course. Tournament guests can participate in free golf ball fittings, watch Performance Moments from the PGA TOUR season, learn more about the Bridgestone Tire lineup and take part in the Feherty Putting Challenge;
• Verizon Wireless Lounge – Enjoy interactive demonstrations and giveaway contests;
• Nature Valley – Grab a complimentary granola bar, courtesy of the official granola bar of the PGA TOUR;
• Lexus – check out the 2015 Lexus display. Lexus is the tournament vehicle for the third year in a row (a Lexus is available to each professional in the field during tournament week; models for the 2015 tournament include: ES, GS, LS, RX, LX and GX);
• MD Anderson – As the official cancer center of the PGA TOUR, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is spreading sun safety and cancer prevention messages at select TOUR stops throughout the season. MD Anderson is providing fans with shaded bleacher seating at the 16 tee and 17 green and free sunscreen pumps located throughout the course. In addition, MD Anderson invites golf fans to support the mission to end cancer by signing the Strike Through Cancer Wall, located in Stadium Village. There, they can also play an educational cancer prevention game to win prizes including sunglasses and lip balm. To learn more, visit www.makingcancerhistory.com/PGATOUR.
• Putt for Charity Challenge sponsored by Myrbetriq – Hone in on your putting skills at the Putt for Charity Challenge;
• Baptist Health – stop by for health tips and more;
• Microsoft – Play the recently released The Golf Club Collector's Edition game for Xbox One, get a demo of how Microsoft Band and check out Windows Phones and Surface 3;
• Stryker Mobility Zone – Enjoy an educational experience that provides information about arthritis, joint health and treatment options for hip and knee arthritis. Fans will be able to:
o Talk to local orthopaedic surgeons about joint pain and treatment options;
o See the Mako Robot and learn how robotic-arm assisted surgery is transforming orthopaedics;
o Learn about Fred Funk's and Hal Sutton's personal stories of joint replacement and returns to golf;
o Pick up a free pedometer and walking map; and
o Capture a Players memory in their Photo Booth
• Florida Lottery – Purchase your favorite Florida Lottery products, Friday – Sunday;
The Grove – Located in the area behind 17 tee and 16 green, The Grove is an outdoor, shaded area that is open to the public. The area includes pavers, table seating and an upgraded walkway from the Nicklaus Gate that will lead fans directly to the location. The Grove will include a large video board showcasing the Golf Channel and NBC broadcast so fans won't miss any tournament action while they're taking a break. The Grove will also feature a social media board covering THE PLAYERS Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds. The area is also in close proximity to the new, large permanent restrooms located behind the 16th green and 17th tee.
Food Court –Located to the left of the Nicklaus Gate entrance, there are plenty of great, local restaurants to choose from in the Food Court. There's shaded seating around the Food Court, so everyone can grab a bite to eat and meet up for a family picnic at THE PLAYERS. Restaurants featured in the Food Court include:
• Dietz & Watson Fresh Café presented by Winn-Dixie: This healthy alternative will offer fresh made sandwiches, gluten-free and healthy food options for fans to enjoy;
• Bono's Pit Bar-B-Q: From St. Louis style ribs to Louisiana po-boys, Bono's will satisfy any BBQ craving;
• Firehouse Subs: Founded and based in Jacksonville, this sandwich shop serves the best meats, cheeses and toppings around;
• MShack: Located in Atlantic Beach and St. Johns Town Center, this Jacksonville burger joint uses all-natural, hormone-free beef, ground fresh daily; don't forget about the all-beef hotdogs, hand-cut fries and delicious milkshakes; and
• Tropical Smoothie Café: Bold, flavorful smoothies, wraps, sandwiches, flatbreads and salads with high-quality ingredients and fresh produce fill the menu.
Also of note: many of the specialty restaurants featured on site have low-fat, low-calorie, low-carb, vegetarian and gluten-free options for fans who have specific dietary needs (see next story idea for more information).
• Schedule guided media tours of the venues and give your audience a preview of the construction progress, special events, features and options of each.
• Do a time lapse (photo or video) of some of the new venues as they're built out.
• Talk to the local restaurant owners featured in the Food Court, Taste of JAX, Tacos on 12, Trucks on 10, Blue Room VIP Lounge presented by Michelob ULTRA and/or Wine & Dine on 9. What attracted them to be a part of THE PLAYERS this year? How are they tailoring their menu to accommodate a tournament set up? How do they expect to benefit from partnering with the event?
IMPROVED! Refreshments at The Players are better, and faster, than ever
The Players Championship has more to offer than your average sporting event, and there's no better illustration of that fact than in the food selection. The Players 2015 will continue to include gluten-free, vegetarian and low-calorie options like the Naked Mburger from M Shack. Like 2014, the menus will even include a gluten-free beer!
See the separate "Food Map" and spreadsheet for a complete listing of gluten-free, vegetarian, low-calorie and specialty offerings at this year's PLAYERS.
In addition, guests can enjoy the Zesty Lime Shrimp Tacos– which is The Players Signature Item – in the clubhouse, at concessions near No. 2 green, The Grove, Four Points (as one of the rotating specials), The Patio, Benefactor, The Turn and the Greenside Lounge. The Zesty Lime Shrimp Tacos feature Sea Best tequila-lime shrimp, pineapple cabbage and avocado sour cream.
The Oasis boasts a rear deck for prime views of No. 9 tee and serves up the can't-miss signature cocktail – the Sawgrass Splash – in addition to other food and drinks. The Sawgrass Splash is made with GREY GOOSE® L'Orange Vodka. In addition, custom cocktails prepared with spirits from the Bacardi® family will be available for purchase. Fans can purchase spirits in The Oasis, Stadium Village, Taste of JAX, Wine & Dine on 9 and The Patio.
The Players is featuring menus from some of Jacksonville's favorite restaurants. Taste of JAX showcases Metro Diner, Brucci's and 4 Rivers Smokehouse, while the popular Wine & Dine on 9 is once again hosted by Restaurant Medure and features the Beringer® Wine Bar for a fine selection of reds, whites and rosés. Fans can also indulge in Bono's BBQ, MShack, Tropical Smoothie Café and Firehouse Subs, and Dietz & Watson Fresh Café presented by Winn-Dixie for healthy options in the Food Court. The Players will feature "Trucks on 10," an outdoor dining area where spectators can purchase food from local food truck vendors, including Mama's Food, Corner Taco, Up In Smoke BBQ, Pounders Burgers and Cely's Filipino Food.
Sea Best products will be featured throughout the Stadium course including on the Sea Best 17 Deck located behind the No. 17 green. Sea Best Zesty Shrimp Tacos will be a signature item of The Players 2015.
Bubba burgers will be served throughout the course as an added fan enhancement. Bubba Foods has partnered with events and venues across the country and is proud to be a part of THE PLAYERS 2015.
Peterbrooke Chocolatier will offer fans signature chocolates along with mini-Players Championship trophy replicas. This delicious trophy will be sold in the merchandise tent, in the clubhouse and in all of Peterbrooke's retail locations.
For smaller fans, kid-friendly options such as fruit and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches will be available at most concession stands around the course. Families can also visit The McKenzie Noelle Wilson Foundation Kid Zone at the Nicklaus Gate for the largest selection of kid-friendly favorites. Items such as KONE ICE, grilled cheese, cheese pizza, junior hot dogs and fruit cups can be purchased in the Kid Zone. Families can bring in a gallon-sized clear plastic bag to tote snacks, sandwiches and more for the family (no outside beverages are allowed).
To help keep fans hydrated, The Players have "Mobile Refreshment Centers." Eight carts will roam the golf course in strategic (high-traffic) locations, selling water, soda and beer to fans as they follow along watching their favorite players. From gate opening to 11:30 a.m., spectators can purchase GREY GOOSE® Bloody Marys inside the Couples and Nicklaus gate entrances. This convenience allows fans to grab a drink or a quick snack and not miss a minute of the action.
Fans are reminded that chilled, filtered drinking water is available in the permanent restrooms near The Patio, behind the 16th green and 17th tee, Taste of JAX and Wine & Dine on 9; so keep that bottle and refill it as many times as you'd like as a way to stay hydrated and save money at The Players.
Fans are encouraged to use their MasterCard and to save 10 percent at on-course concessions.
• Sample one item from each diet (gluten free, vegetarian and low-calorie) and rank your favorite.
• Poll fans for their favorite food offerings at The Players.
• Talk to guests who are purchasing specialty items and ask how the new offerings improved their Players experience.
• How about a blind taste test of gluten-free beer versus the more traditional options? Can you (or a lucky fan who wants to be your assistant) tell the difference?
• Give your readers/viewers a "taste of The Players." We can provide photos and recipes of some of the signature items offered at The Players this year.
Best views in golf keep getting better
With great venues, amazing food and drink options and fun, interactive exhibits, there's no shortage of things to do, see and experience at The Players. But the real action, of course, takes place inside the ropes as the best field in golf takes on its truest test. Here's a hole-by-hole guide of the best – and sometimes hidden – spots to experience all this world-class event has to offer.
• Hole 1 – The large grandstands at No. 1 tee are popular to watch players tee off with mounds to the left and right of the green for optimal viewing. Limited foliage lets you see a player's approach and putt. This less-crowded location provides a great opportunity to get close to players as they walk from No. 1 green to No. 2 tee.
• Hole 2 – Elevated mounding behind the green provides a great place to watch players decide whether or not to go for the par 5 in two or lay-up, and then you can keep an eye on them as they head to No. 3 tee to take a shot at the par-3 green. Here's another tip: the refreshment stand at No. 2 green/No. 3 tee has shade umbrellas in the seating area.
• Hole 3 – Left of the tee box is a great place to view golf, as you are just on the other side of the practice tee, which means you can move back and forth to watch the 3rd hole as well as see players warm-up. Extended mounding to the left of the green allows for great views of balls approaching the green and players putting.
• Hole 4 – Take a break! Sit on the bulkhead around the water surrounding the green and dangle your feet (hold on to those flip-flops!).
• Hole 5 – Find great views of this tough par 4 from the elevated left side of the fairway, where you can also catch a glimpse of players practicing on the back tee of the driving range. Elevated mounding behind the green provides superior viewing angles, and you'll be just a few steps from a permanent restroom and the Wine & Dine on 9 concession area.
• Hole 6 – It might be a little remote, but that just means this green isn't very crowded and offers you a great place to catch the action up close. It's the perfect spot to be near players as they walk from the green to the No. 7 tee.
• Hole 7 – The elevated mounding behind the green allows you to see all the way back to the tee box. Also, this new viewing area is just a few steps from a permanent restroom and the Wine & Dine on 9 concession area.
• Hole 8 – Always a fan favorite, you can get close to the action when players hit their tee shots thanks to elevated mounding behind the green (and in the shade of nearby trees). This area also allows fans to see shots land and players putt on this undulating green.
• Hole 9 – A great par 5 to watch players hit their tee shots and decide whether or not to go for it in two. Significant amounts of foliage to the left of the green have been removed, and bleachers were added. New mounding on 9 green was added so you now have a better view of players' approach shots and putts.
• Hole 10 – The elevated mounding behind the tee provides great views of players' tee shots, and you're just steps away from a permanent restroom. Enjoy views of 10 tee and 16 tee from the new MD Anderson covered bleacher and deck. As you walk the hole, be sure to stop at Trucks on 10 – our food truck food court – where you can grab a snack from some great local vendors on wheels!
• Hole 11 – A fan favorite par 5 where players often go for it in two, the green is surrounded by sand and water, which provides non-stop drama and excitement. The newly enhanced bowl-shaped mounding around the green provides better views with great shade, and you're a stone's throw from a permanent restroom and great dining options at the Taste of Jax.
• Hole 12 – Elevated mounds around the tee provide excellent views of players hitting their tee shots. These mounds are conveniently located near a permanent restroom and great local restaurants at the Taste of Jax. The mound near the green allows you to look back at the tee and approach shots, as well as over the green for up-close views. Just behind the green is Tacos on 12 with TacoLu serving up sangria, signature margaritas and the best tacos in town.
• Hole 13 – This par-3 green offers a more intimate setting than the 17th hole, but there's still plenty of drama and excitement. Fans directly behind the green may even see a ball or two roll through the green and end up in collection area just on the other side of the ropes from where they're sitting. The top of the mounding behind the green also provides a nice view of players teeing off on No. 14. Additionally, you are still close enough to Tacos on 12 to take care of any and all must-have-tacos-now episodes in a timely manner.
• Hole 14 – A tough par 4 with great, elevated views behind the tee and the right side of the fairway, which takes you right past Taste of Jax and a permanent restroom.
• Hole 15 – This par 4 has elevated mounding on the left side of the green, providing good views of approach shots and putting, and you are close enough to make a quick stop for lunch at Trucks on 10, which is just behind the 12th green.
• Hole 16 – The new MD Anderson Cancer Center Shaded Bleacher, located behind the tee, provides a great view as players launch their tee shots, with covered seating and concession. A permanent restroom is located to the right of the tee. The elevated mounding on the left side of the green also provides an ideal vantage point for approach shots and putts, as well as a view of the 17th hole.
• Hole 17 – The ultimate golf spectator experience, the iconic 17th island green has plenty of food and beverages located around the hole. Cool off in the shade at the Sea Best 17 Deck and MD Anderson Cancer Center Shaded Bleacher– public access shade zones – located behind the green. This is a perfect spot to watch golf and then see players walk off the green and through the tunnel as they head to the 18th tee.
• Hole 18 – You'll find great views behind the tee and down the right side of the hole. The elevated area around the green is known as The Bluff, where courtesy folding chairs are provided at no charge, and if you're in your chair when the last putt drops at the end of the day, you can take it home for free!
• Practice Areas – The roping of the practice green allows you to get even closer to players as they do their final prep work before teeing off. There is also an open area on the range with umbrella tables and basic concessions, so feel free to stay seated in the shade while you watch players practice. In addition to the main practice range area, the back practice range (to the left of No. 9) is also open up for fans.
Upgraded, permanent restroom facilities
Even after decades of staging a world-class golf tournament, there is always room to improve the fan experience at The Players. After each event, the tournament undergoes an extensive critique process, and a key aspect is fan feedback through surveys and social media comments. One of the most resounding items of feedback in recent years centered on the quality of bathrooms for fans.
With that in mind, The Players has added another large-scale, permanent public which was constructed in advance of this year's event. The new facility features 20 toilets per side and will also have air conditioning, attendants and changing stations in both the men's and women's restrooms. As in prior years, there will be additional temporary restrooms throughout the tournament as well. This fourth facility complements the three that were constructed– to great fanfare – at The Patio, Wine & Dine on 9 (near No. 16 tee/No. 9 fairway) and Taste of Jax in time for the 2013 and 2014 events.
The restrooms include water fountains and a place for fans to fill up water bottles/cups with chilled, filtered drinking water – a great, inexpensive way to stay hydrated while enjoying a day at The Players.
Permanent restrooms are not typically found at courses that host large-scale tournaments, but the investment in the facilities is viewed as an important way to enhance the fan experience.
Copyright 2015 by News4Jax.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.