It’s that time of year, and there’s something for everyone at THE PLAYERS Championship! After 11 years in May, the tournament is moving back to March this year. How lucky are we to live so close to an area that welcomes the best professional golfers in the world, as well as a tournament that provides a welcoming, fan-friendly atmosphere just down the road at TPC Sawgrass?
Going to the TPC with my little guy, Lincoln, is pretty much our yearly tradition now. I have been going to the tournament with my husband for many years before our son was born, so when he was only 7 weeks old, we took him to his first TPC outing. Lincoln is also at the age now that he can finally ask the players for autographs on his own! He got really lucky in the past two years getting a selfie with THE PLAYERS 2016 Champion, Jason Day, during the practice rounds. Whether you plan to attend as a family, a day date or even a ladies’ day out, we have all the details you need to experience THE PLAYERS.
Free Admission for Youth: Save with The Family Plan
THE PLAYERS Championship is held Tuesday, March 12 through Sunday, March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day) this year, and it’s all about the kids! Youth 18 and younger are admitted free of charge when accompanied by a ticketed adult. Youth admission makes THE PLAYERS the perfect destination for families, who only need to pay the cost of the tickets for the adults — a family of five can attend while paying for ticketed adults or even a youth sports team, as the entire team can gain admission with just one ticketed adult! The Family Plan package offers two adult Stadium Passes, unlimited youth admission at the gate and two $10 concession vouchers for just $120 for Thursday and $140 for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (taxes not included). The Family Plan is offered at participating Daily’s convenience stores and at THEPLAYERS.com.
Peak traffic times are between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., so if you want to avoid traffic, plan to arrive before or after those times. Remember though, parking passes are additional, but any car with four or more passengers parks for free under THE PLAYERS “Four for Free” policy (download vouchers here). There are also alternative ways to get to THE PLAYERS such as shuttles from select hotels in the downtown area, Uber (the premier ride-sharing partner of THE PLAYERS), or you can pedal to THE PLAYERS with complimentary bike parking. You can even make getting to THE PLAYERS part of the adventure. For more information on The Family Plan, General Stadium Passes or parking, click here.
Fun for the Kids and Things to Know
- The Kids Zone presented by the First Tee: Located in THE PLAYERS Welcome Experience by the Nicklaus Entry, this is an interactive destination for kids and families attending the tournament. 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 enclosed air-conditioned venue while the kids have fun (and there’s also a nearby restroom trailer).
- The 17th Hole Challenge presented by Optum, Morgan Stanley and Grant Thornton: A replica of the famed 17th hole within Stadium Village, 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. If you make a $20 donation (or more) for a “The First Tee Fast Pass,” you can bypass the queue, take five shots and receive a free sleeve of golf balls. All proceeds will benefit The First Tee of North Florida.
- Watch & Learn: Another great place to watch players warm up and get a glimpse of the 2nd and 3rd holes is the “mound box by the 3rd tee.” Set up and let the kids learn a little about the sport with lots to watch! There are also country flags for each past champion lined up in the area, which is a great way to get the kids chatting and learning about this international sport.
- May I have your Autograph, Please Sir: There is nothing cuter than a little fan holding a pen, paper or THE PLAYERS merchandise ready to meet their favorite player! But what do you need to know? Autographs are not allowed on course during practice days and tournament competition days. THE PLAYERS has designated Autograph Zones near the main player practice grounds/driving range and scoring area behind 18 green. These zones allow more interaction between players, and there is a kids’ corner within the autograph zones designated specifically for youth.
- Hill on the 18th Hole: This is the best place to let your kids roll down the hill and watch the best golfers in the world finish their rounds.
- The Family Care Suite Presented by Baptist Health: Is it time to change a diaper or nurse your child? Head over to the Family Care Suite presented by Baptist Health, located near the Couples and Nicklaus entries. As part of Baptist’s program as the on-site provider of medical services, the Family Care Suite will extend their services to attendees of THE PLAYERS with the venue serving as a comfort station for mothers and fathers to care for their babies and have a private, comfortable venue as needed during tournament week. The concept was actually developed and implemented by a PGA TOUR employee who found it challenging to nurse her children while on the course. THE PLAYERS is the second tournament to roll out the Family Care Suite. A small diaper bag and stroller are allowed at THE PLAYERS.
PRO TIP: THE PLAYERS will allow fans to bring in their own food in a one-gallon clear plastic bag where food items are also wrapped in clear wrap. This policy does not allow fans to bring in beverages. Forgot to pack lunch? Kid-friendly options such as fruit and peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches will be available at most concession stands around the course. Learn more about THE PLAYERS experience, the top five things for kids to do there and ways you can plan your family outing to TPC Sawgrass for the big event. Not sure what size bag you can bring into the golf course? Not to worry, check out the bag policy here.
Ladies’ Day Out at THE PLAYERS
While THE PLAYERS is about golf, it’s also a social event and a fun way to get out and enjoy quality time with girlfriends. Walk, talk and enjoy the delicious food and drink options at The Oasis (between 9 and 18 tee boxes), Wine & Dine on 9 (left of 9 fairway), Taste of Jax (behind 11 green and 12 tee), Trucks on 10 (between 10 fairway, 11 fairway and 15 green), Tacos on 12 (between 11 tee, 12 green and 13 tee), and Sawgrass Square (Davis Love III Entry) where The Mini Bar will be serving up their signature mini donuts alongside 4Rivers Smokehouse, a local barbeque favorite. NEW in 2019, The Captain’s Club is a premium club space with views of the iconic 16th and 18th holes and includes a full-service bar. Tickets are available at THEPLAYERS.com/tickets. Don’t forget to stop by for a little shopping at the PGA TOUR fan shop and take in the beautiful scenery. Map it out here. We recommend wearing comfortable shoes also — you can thank us later!
Special Events at THE PLAYERS
- Saturday, March 2 — THE PLAYERS DONNA 5K: Race set to take place just two weeks before the next champion of THE PLAYERS will be crowned. Runners and walkers of all levels will enjoy a 5K route through the back nine of the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. Race begins at 8:30 a.m. and those interested in participating can register here.
- Saturday, March 9–Sunday, March 10 — NEW in 2019: The PGA TOUR FAN SHOP at THE PLAYERS Welcome Experience will open to the community the weekend prior to the tournament for a sneak peek shopping experience and an exclusive first look at THE PLAYERS Welcome Experience. The PGA TOUR FAN SHOP will be open Saturday, March 9 and Sunday, March 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parking is FREE and no ticket is required. Parking located in the general parking lot located off CR 210.
- Tuesday, March 12 — Military Appreciation Day: A PGA TOUR Player will cap off the Military Appreciation Day program, which will include pageantry by military personnel, a flyover by the 125th Fighter Wing, a National Anthem performance by the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus and a special concert by singer Jon Pardi. THE PLAYERS provides all career military (active duty, Reserve, military retirees, and dependents) with complimentary admission to the tournament all week.
- Charity of the Day: To give local organizations a way to raise their profile during tournament week, THE PLAYERS designates a different charity as “Charity of the Day” from Tuesday through Sunday. Some of our favorite organizations are included this year such as the Five Star Veterans Center, The DONNA Foundation, Wolfson Children’s Hospital, Book Trust, St. Vincent’s HealthCare Foundation and Feeding Northeast Florida.
We hope to see you and your family at THE PLAYERS 2019!