Ponte Vedra Beach: Tournament Players Championship, Post-Apocalyptic Parking Lot

by Tim Gilmore, 6/17/2012

Every May, thousands of golf fans come to the Tournament Players Championship at Ponte Vedra Beach. They’ll pay hundreds of dollars to stand near the 17th hole on a 415-acre site purchased for one dollar in 1972.

In the woods by the TPC parking lot, orienteering psychogeographic archaeologists of the present day cross a ditch that contains stagnant golf course runoff and find Port-o-lets lying on their sides between trees.

The parking lot that’s filled during TPC week sits abandoned the rest of the year, with event signs dirty and lonely. An old radio tower stands off in the distance. The woods harbor trails and junked machinery that weeds have covered to bring into the earth.

Late at night, high school kids meet beneath the parking lot’s trees and make bonfires and drink beer. The lot is wide open and empty and post-apocalyptic and almost always welcoming. The kids are glad the parking lot is theirs for all but one week of the year.