top of page

The Goats of TPC Sawgrass

Have you ever wondered why you may see a goat on merchandise sold at THE PLAYERS Championship? There is a charming and somewhat comical history behind it! The well-manicured stadium course used to not look quite the same. This was because the groundkeepers were local goats!

The PGA TOUR’s flagship course was created over four decades ago on 415 acres of swamp in Ponte Vedra Beach. Opening day was approaching quickly and there was still plenty of underbrush to be taken care of with only a dwindling budget. The club was desperate to find fast, free labor to get the course cleared. Pete Dye, the leading architect of the course, had known of a farmer who let goats loose on his farm and they cleared the field. Once the idea was mentioned, they ran with it! 

“Prunes”, “Crew”, and “Thor”, along with dozens of other unnamed livestock were brought in to clean up the Stadium Course. They quickly consumed all of the shrubs, weeds, vines, and grass that were keeping the course from reaching its full glory. Deane Beman, the former PGA TOUR Commissioner, exclaimed, “It was pretty innovative, and in about six or eight months, the goats had cleaned up 80 percent of the problem and we didn’t have to spend a nickel, they ate everything.” 

While the goats were beneficial in cleaning up the course, they were a nuisance and created additional costs in other areas. The goats were known to be wily and didn’t appreciate being penned in. The animals were initially kept to the right of the first fairway, known as “Goat Island”. The kids were known to cause trouble by wandering up to the clubhouse, kicking down fences, sleeping under the entryway, and doing their business anywhere they felt the need to. The groundkeepers would have to clean up after the goats and most employees didn’t appreciate them being in the way of work. One goat even had to be rescued from the top of the clubhouse roof! 

Project manager, Vernon Kelly, says, “They became celebrities.” However, the fame was not enough to override the havoc of keeping goats on the grounds. The goats were given away a year after the Stadium Course opened, but they didn’t stop there. Not even a month later, one goat had slipped through the open clubhouse door and into the grill room. Bob Dickson, the club’s marketing director, said, “A couple of guys had played golf and were at the bar having a beer or three. A waiter shooed the goat back outside pretty quickly, but the two guys saw it. The one said to the other, ‘I’m not telling nobody if you’re not.’ ” 

And just like that, goats became a famous history of THE PLAYERS Championship. Be sure to purchase your tickets for THE PLAYERS Championship 2024, taking place on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass from March 12-17.  Also, don’t forget to check out the Fan Shop and see what goat merchandise you may find!



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

Are you looking to buy or sell a home? Click below to read more about how our team can help.

Let the local updates
come to you.

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page