Hungry spectators at this year’s PLAYERS Tournament in Ponte Vedra, Florida will have more than enough championship golf to satisfy their lust for play on the stadium course at TPC Sawgrass. And the foodies among them will have some titans of local cuisine to fall back on if anyone’s game falls short.
Forget the hot dog cart, the PLAYERS Championship hosts world-class golf and food. — Photo courtesy of Stan Badz/PGA TOUR
With one of the most impressive purses in professional golf, the PLAYERS lures the game’s best. Not surprisingly, a tony mobile dining scene has risen up around the event. This year’s is bigger than ever, boasting dishes many might find surprising at a sporting event. Even golf. Some of Jacksonville’s favorite restaurants and food trucks will be showcasing their wares in different settings around the course, from patio cafes and open-air lounges to truck locations and more.
Expansive seating areas (and great views) make tournament dining an al fresco pleasure. — Photo courtesy of Jennifer Perez/PGA TOUR
Taste of JAX
With an al fresco bar, video boards to keep diners up on the fairway action and (bonus) permanent bathrooms, this venue would prove popular without high-end noshes. This year’s seating area will be larger than in previous tourneys, as will its menu. Restaurants featured include 4 Rivers Smokehouse, a high-end Florida-based venture that’s been wooing BBQ lovers from their longtime favorites for several years now; Indochine, offering Thai and southeast Asian fare from one of downtown Jacksonville’s most popular eateries and Pele’s Wood Fire, which serves modern Italian-American cuisine. Pizza is their signature plate.
Wine & Dine on 9 will feature small plates by Matthew Medure, one of Jacksonville's top chefs. — Photo courtesy of Stan Badz/PGA TOUR
Wine and Dine on 9
Here, gourmet small plates abound. Prepared by Matthew Medure (chef of his popular eponymous restaurant in downtown Jacksonville), diners will sample his creations in a garden setting where the Beringer Wine Bar will happily pair your selections accordingly.
Trucks on 10
Rolling up between 10 and 11 fairway and 15 green, these local, four-wheeled favorites will park alongside a Michelob ULTRA bar and run the gamut of truck-borne goodies. There will be plenty of seating on hand as fans partake of Mama’s Food, Baby’s Badass Burgers, Corner Taco, Gourmet Aviator, Up in Smoke BBQ and Super Food.
New this year: Tacos on 12
Jacksonvillians love their TacoLu and this year they’re sharing it with the PLAYERS’ visitors from around the world. Seating amid shaded areas between 12 green and 13 tee will allow for rest, relaxation and sampling of “the Lu’s” fresh Baja Mexicana offerings.
Spectators chill with cocktails in one of the tournament's shaded pavilions. — Photo courtesy of Jennifer Perez/PGA TOUR
Elsewhere around the course
Specialty dishes – such as Sea Best shrimp and grits with a fried green tomato (the event’s signature item) will tempt palates around the course and at the Oasis, a rear deck will offer prime viewing of the No. 9 tee and the chance to sample 2014’s official cocktail: the Grey Goose Vodka-infused Sawgrass Splash.
Specialty chocolates by Peterbrooke Chocolatier will be sold around the course (check out the miniature PLAYERS trophy replicas before you eat them!). A range of kids’ menu items and plenty of low-calorie and gluten-free options (including a gluten-free beer) will be available, as well. For those more enthused by the golf than the gourmet offerings, eight “Mobile Refreshment Centers” will be roaming the course with water, soda, beer and snacks so they can get right back to the action.