On my birthday this year, I had the opportunity to attend a fascinating event that is a major part of Jacksonville’s culture and the worldwide golfing community. The Players Championship took place on May 13th in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
Prior to this event, my only golfing exposure consisted of mini-golf adventures and hitting some balls on a snowy, shut down golf course in Kansas. I don’t watch golf on TV and I still have the inclination to ask others, who is going to win the game? I’m learning to replace game with match, but, again this is very outside my realm.
Ponte Vedra Golf Fashion Flash Mob
My company provided free tickets to the event as well as entrance into their tent, complete with a catered meal and refreshing beverages. One of my friends agreed to join me, so we headed out that Saturday to brave the traffic. We spent a little over an hour inching toward the parking lot. Not too shabby considering that locals say this tournament totally takes over the Ponte Vedra area, and if they’re not going they stay far far away. I suppose Orlando locals could compare this to avoiding I-drive basically at all times ever.
We finally arrived and I had my snappy new hat ready to provide some shade for the bright Florida afternoon. Though the sun was doing a little of it’s Florida hide and seek dance with light showers and bright sunbeams back and forth. One of the things about golf that has always intrigued me is the attire of both the players and onlookers. I totally die for those old school looks with argyle socks, curious hats, slacks of all sorts of lengths, khakis covered with tiny boats or searsucker pants. It’s also a fabulous juxtaposition of glamorous and practical clothing choices. It’s going to be hot. You’re walking for miles. But people still dress all the way up with wide brimmed hats, floor length dresses, or men dripping sweat in polos. It’s like a prep school got out of class and headed straight to Disney.
TPC Sawgrass Providing a Regal Vantage Point
It was such a beautiful course. The tents were set up high with some stadium seating so you could take a large view in. The little hills rippled over the landscapes. Pretty trees stretched over the sidewalks and provided cool shade. For all I knew, I was a queen of Cair Paravel.
I only spent part of the day interloping on this occasion. I got to stay hushed and watch a few players make very studied decisions, while people held their breath. Even the facial composure of the players was so different than so many other athletes. Take all the jumping in celebrating after every basketball hoop and replace it with a simple tightening of the jawline. I also had no earthly idea where the balls landed with every swing, so it reminded me of how soccer games inch forth and back in the middle of the field and can go hours with no score change. Of course each athlete is on their own here, but would watching one play straight through be a constant game of chasing them across the course?
I wonder. Perhaps I’ll learn more about watching golf when I attend next year.