It is spring in Jacksonville and that means it is time for THE PLAYERS Championship! During May 8 - 13, 2018, our city will turn into all things golf as the nation looks upon THE PLAYERS Championship at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach and that infamous 17th hole. We grew up going to the THE PLAYERS with our dad, and later on with our high school golf team and started playing golf in 3rd grade so we're excited to share the ins and outs of this fun event with Jacksonville families!
Before You Go and Tickets
#THEPLAYERS is an outside all day event golf tournament...in Florida...going right into the rainy season...so be sure to drink plenty of water, bring strollers with shade (strollers ARE allowed), umbrellas (for rain AND to shade from the sun!) and sunscreen! Pack an extra set of clothes for each child as they are bound to get in dirt or sit in wet grass while they run the paths along the course.
Youth 18 and younger are admitted free of charge when accompanied by a ticketed adult - there is no limit. This means a family of five can attend THE PLAYERS while only paying for ticketed adults.
Do you coach a youth sports team? Bring the whole team to THE PLAYERS for free. What better way to kick off or end a season than a team outing to a world-class sporting event. The entire team (18 and under) can attend THE PLAYERS with their coach and only the coach needs to pay for a Stadium Pass.
The Family Plan package offers additional savings and benefits for families seeking a day at THE PLAYERS. For just $120 (Thursday and Sunday), $130 (Friday), $140 (Saturday) families can get two adult stadium passes, unlimited youth admission at the gate and two $10 concession vouchers. Parking passes are additional, but any car with four or more passengers parks for free under THE PLAYERS "Four for Free" policy. *Parking passes will not be sold at the gate or at Publix.
The Family Plan is offered at participating Daily's Convenience Stores. Kids 18 and under get in FREE with a ticketed adult. THE PLAYERS will allow fans to bring in their own food in a 1 gallon clear, plastic bag where food items are also wrapped in clear wrap. This policy does not allow fans to bring in beverages.
Filtered drinking water is available in the permanent restrooms near The Patio, Taste of JAX and Wine & Dine on the ninth hole, behind the 16th green; 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.
Children 18 and younger are admitted free to THE PLAYERS. The Family Plan does not apply to the tournament's hospitality venues where children ages 6 and older will need an upgraded ticket to gain admittance. Find tickets, here!
THE PLAYERS have worked hard to incorporate families into THE PLAYERS Championship! There are so many options for play, access to the golfers, and even for special nursing and changing stations for babies. Find all the fun, below!
1. The McKenzie Noelle Wilson Foundation Kid Zone Featuring The First Tee Experience:
This enclosed air-conditioned venue, located in the Welcome Experience by the Nicklaus Entry, is an interactive destination for kids and families attending THE PLAYERS. It features Imagination Playground, putt-putt course, arts and crafts, shaded area, kid-friendly food and more. Our kids love trying all the activities in the center and it is a great place to catch some shade and air conditioning!
2. Autograph Zones:
There are two designated, "Autograph Zones," on the course, one at the practice grounds and the other at the scoring area behind the 18th green. Please note that you cannot ask a player for an autograph while he is playing his practice round or tournament round. 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, and the autograph zones are marked with signage for fans and players and are also listed on the course map. There is also a "kid corner" within the autograph zones designated specifically for your kids so they can get to the front and see the players. Bring a sharpie and items to sign like golf balls, pin flags, shirts, or hats!
3. The 17th Hole Challenge presented by Grant Thornton, Optum and Morgan Stanley:
With a replica of the famed 17th hole within Stadium Village, 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.
4. The mound by the 3rd tee box:
The mound to the left of the 3rd tee box is a great place to not only watch players warm up on the practice grounds, but also watch players hit their approach shots into the 2nd hole and tee off on the 3rd hole. It's also easy for your kids to digest what is going on, especially if they are just learning golf.The country flags for each past champion of THE PLAYERS line the mound, so you can even have a fun, educational contest with them to "name that flag."
5. Roll Down the 18th Hole Hill:
Head up to the 18th hole and let your kids roll down the hill and burn off all of the food and energy they've been storing up. It's become a tradition for kids to roll down the hill a few times. Just make sure you don't roll out into the 18th fairway!
6. The 17th Hole Island Green:
Find a spot on the 17th hole lawn and watch some of the afternoon's key groups make their way through the final three holes. Have a contest with your kids and see how many balls will end up in the water. Such an exciting hole for kids!
7.The Family Care Suite:
New in 2018, THE PLAYERS is excited to announce The Family Care Suite Presented by Baptist Health, located near the Couples and Nicklaus entries. As part of Baptist's program being 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 skin screening center for healthy skin and also 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, Amber Fulton, who found it challenging to nurse her children while on the course. In other words, Amber is a rock star. In fact, THE PLAYERS is the second tournament to roll out the Family Care Suite.
8. Family Friendly Food Options:
THE PLAYERS has 20 local food vendors on site to please your kids' pallets (even the picky ones!). Visit Taste of JAX, Trucks on 10, Tacos on 12, Palm Valley Village, The Patio and Food Court and tell us which dish your kids liked the most! #yummyinmytummy #TasteofTHEPLAYERS
Parking can be confusing with such a big event! However, THE PLAYERS have made it easy this yer with free parking options, shuttles from downtown, a brand new Uber option, and even FREE bicycle parking! Here's the scoop:
1. Parking passes must be purchased in advance:On Tuesday and Wednesday, as in previous years, fans can still park for FREE in the general parking lot and no parking pass is required. Thursday-Sunday, however, fans are required to purchase parking in advance ($30 Thursday and Sunday per day for general parking; and $35 Friday and Saturday per day in general parking).Parking passes can be purchased at www.THEPLAYERS.com/parking. Volunteers will not sell parking passes in the lot, and parking will not be sold at Publix or Will Call.
2. "Four for Free" policy:Fans with four or more guests in a vehicle can park for FREE Thursday through Sunday with the "Four for Free" parking voucher. Fans can go online to THEPLAYERS.com/parking (click on the "Tickets" tab) to download the voucher, which allows free parking in the general lot off of CR210. A new voucher must be downloaded and printed for each day (or saved on an electronic device); there is no limit to the number of days guests can park for free but there is a limited number of vouchers per day.
3. Pedal to THE PLAYERS:
Why drive when you can pedal to THE PLAYERS?THE PLAYERS offers complimentary bike parking during the tournament, from 7:30 a.m. until end of play. Spectators can ride their bikes to the Couples Entry off ATP Blvd. or to Gate B located inside the Sawgrass Gates off of PGA TOUR Blvd in the back of lot 5. Tournament volunteers will secure and monitor the bikes – free of charge.
4. Uber to and from THE PLAYERS:
Uber to and from THE PLAYERS! Utilize this ridesharing service so you don't even have to worry about parking! To Uber, simply download or update the Uber app on your phone, Enter Destination: THE PLAYERS Championship, Arrive at the 880 A1A North, Ponte Vedra Beach shopping plaza, Take the designated Uber shuttle from the parking lot near shopping plaza to the Couples Entry located off of ATP Blvd., and Enter the tournament through the Couples Entry. Don't forget to call for a car with car seats!
5. Save time and gas by taking the shuttles from downtown:
Shuttles are available from downtown-area hotels to TPC Sawgrass for THE PLAYERS, Thursday through Sunday of tournament week.Shuttles from the Jacksonville Landing, Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, DoubleTree Riverfront and Lexington Hotel will be available to hotel guests and for residents to "park and ride," providing a convenient and cost-effective way for fans to get to and from the tournament. Fans can access the shuttles by purchasing a shuttle pass at the hotel (Omni Jacksonville, Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, Lexington Hotel and DoubleTree Riverfront) front desks for $10. Find shuttle times, HERE.
There are so many Instagram worthy places to eat at THE PLAYERS! We tried Taco Lu shrimp at Taste of THE PLAYERS Tuesday, May 1, 2018 and the shrimp soft taco was tasty!! See them at Tacos on 12!
At the Palm Valley Village area at the 9th green/18th green Greenside Lounge Area try the 4 Rivers Smoke House 6 shooters sandwich. It has all the flavors! The spicy jalapeno mixed with bar b que sauce and pickles is spicy, the cole slaw and beef tips were so flavorful, and you end with the cheese grits that help you cool down the spicy and you go on a roller coaster of yumminess - a MUST TRY at THE PLAYERS!
On the Patio between 10th tee and 18th green try Southern Soul Bar B Que with pulled pork sandwiches topped with cole slaw and bar b que sauce (these were great at Taste of THE PLAYERS! They were voted Best Bar B Que in the state of Georgia and are based out of St. Simon's Island. They will have funnel fries on hand which sound amazing!
At Taste of Jax behind 11th green and 12th tee, you'll find local restaurants like Brucci's, Mojo Kitchen, Zoe's Kitchen, and Hawkers. It's also fully stocked with sunscreen!
There are so many local restaurants at this event, we can't list them all! Find the yummy options, here.
Learn about the Golfers
Look online before you go to read about the players before you go! Have your child pick their favorite player to follow and visit during their driving range sessions. Or, decide to follow the leader. Golf can be really exciting when you are cheering on your favorite player or seeing if the leader can keep their position!
Be part of the action on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook! This year, #THEPLAYERS will feature two interactive Twitter screens! Tag them with #THEPLAYERS on Twitter you could be retweeted, seeing your photo live on screen!
Know your hashtags:
#BetterThanMost to tag your Better than most moment
#PINKOUT4DONNA on Championship Sunday
While eating, hashtag #yummyinmytummy and #TasteofTHEPLAYERS and the restaurant you are trying.
These will get your photos seen far and wide on instagram!
Tag #Fun4FirstCoastKids on Facebook and Instagram and #Fun4FirstCoastKids on Twitter to be retweeted!
The official tournament social media channels are:
But, whatever you do, be sure to turn your smart phones to SILENT! You wouldn't want to cause a "duff" or a "slice" or a "pop up" because you received a text message or phone call!!!
Know the Schedule
Monday, May 7
Practice Day for professionals
Course closed to the public
Tuesday, May 8: Military Appreciation Day
Entrances open at 7:30 a.m.Practice Day for professionals
Charity of the Day: Jim & Tabitha Furyk Foundation
Military Appreciation Ceremony and Luke Combs Concert on Hole 17 at 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 9
Entrances open at 7:30 a.m.
Practice Day for professionals
Charity of the Day: Junior Achievement of North Florida
Thursday, May 10
Entrances open at 6:30 a.m.
First round of competition begins at approximately 7:30 a.m. (threesomes off of No. 1 and No.10)
Charity of the Day: Wolfson Children's Hospital
Friday, May 11
Entrances open at 6:30 a.m.
Second round of competition begins at approximately 7:30 a.m. (threesomes off of No.1 and No.10)
Charity of the Day: Nemours Children's Health System
Saturday, May 12
Entrances open at 7:30 a.m.
Third round of competition begins at approximately 8:30 a.m., depending on the size of the cut (twosomes off No.1)
Charity of the Day: St. Vincent's HealthCare Foundation
Championship Sunday, May 13 - Mother's Day
Entrances open at 7:30 a.m.Church Service at 7:00 a.m., Clubhouse Lower Lawn
Final round of competition begins at approximately 8:30 a.m., depending on size of the cut (twosomes off No.1)
Closing ceremony on Clubhouse Lawn immediately following play
Charity of the Day: The DONNA Foundation ALL DAY PINK OUT!
Wear Pink to support Breast Cancer Research in celebration of Mother's Day #PINKOUT4DONNA
We hope you get a chance to spend some time at THE PLAYERS Championship! Be prepared for the warm weather and bring provisions, know before you go who to follow and your social media hash tags. Hit the Kids Zone, relax in the sun and Florida nature and learn first hand how exciting golf can be!!!!
Join the family fun: Follow @Fun4FirstCoastKids on Facebook, @Fun4JaxKids on Twitter, and @Fun4FirstCoastKids on Instagram and sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter with our latest giveaways and Jacksonville family fun!