A piece of Fla. golf course in northwest suburbs

September 17, 2008 4:27:41 PM PDT
Most golf fans are familiar with the famous 17th hole at Sawgrass Golf Club near Jacksonville, Florida. It's called the island hole, and golfers either hit the green or the water.A northwest suburban man loves the hole so much he built one for himself.

Don Snelton has loved golf since childhood. He was even a PGA pro for awhile back in his younger years. Now, he plays the game for fun and owns a company called Turf Systems, Inc, which builds synthetic putting greens.

There's nothing artificial, though, about this front yard classic green.

"It's a natural grass green replication of the 17th at Sawgrass. It's perhaps arguably the most famous hole in golf," said Snelton.

If you've seen the real 17th hole at Sawgrass, you know and it's enough to scare even a Tiger. It's one of those do-or-die holes - you're either wet or on the green. And that's also the way it is at Smelton's home in Ingleside, near Fox Lake. The ball is either dancing or splashing, and it's not an easy shot.

"It never is," said Snelton. "It's a tough shot. It's a long way to hit a ball to a very tight tolerance."

It took Snelton about five years to complete the project, moving about 4,000 cubic yards of dirt to create the pond and the green.

Now I know what you're thinking. You want to try this. Well, unfortunately you can't.

The green is about 60 percent the size of the famous 17th, so if this green was bigger it might be easier to hit. For Snelton, it's not so tough, his creation of golf and nature.

"Well, we have muskrats, deer, turtles. I don't have dolphins but I do have lots of indigenous water life," said Snelton.

And yes the green is true and fast. Snelton estimates the cost to build it now would be about $50,000.


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