Homes that sit on a golf course are relatively easy to find. Homes with their own private golf facilities are rare. Rarer still is a residence with a replica of the 17th hole at Florida’s TPC Sawgrass. But we’ve found one.
“I’ve had a love affair with golf my whole life. I was a golf professional way back in the day and have never strayed that far from the game,” says homeowner Don Snelten. “It’s a very beautiful and ornate yard fixture and is a functional thing that I can use. It’s the most visually recognizable golf hole in America, and this piece of property [gave me] an opportunity to replicate it.”
For those unfamiliar with the sneaky par-3 at the course in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, we recommend watching this video of professionals navigating the treacherous hole.
Back in Illinois, the legendary look-alike and the 3,913-square-foot home sitting alongside it are on the market for $560,000.
Built in 2001, the home has six bedrooms and three bathrooms.
“Upstairs, there are four bedrooms with two full baths and then on the lower level where you walk out to the green, there are two more bedrooms with a full kitchen and a full bath,” says listing agent Connie Olker, of @properties Libertyville.
While the house is nice, the Sawgrass facsimile is the star of the property. Construction of the hole surrounded by water was no simple feat.
“I excavated 4,000 cubic yards of dirt out of my front yard and built a railroad tie wall that was similar to the shape of the green in Florida. I built a dam to retain the water to create the pond that goes around the green,” Snelten explains.
Originally, Snelten opted for natural grass for his replica green. But he didn’t have to look far for a more permanent solution. Snelten also happens to be the founder of Turf Systems, a firm that provides high-quality synthetic turf for golf courses and other uses.
“The natural-grass green eventually went bad because it needed chemicals and things that I didn’t have access to. So three years ago, I excavated the green and built an artificial green. It was a lot of hours and a lot of work, but it’s fun to wake up every day and look out the front door and see it.”
Olker says the green is maintenance-free but the pond requires a bit of TLC every so often.
There are five sets of tees from where Snelten and fellow golf aficionados can play the hole.
“I go in the yard every couple of days and hit 40 to 50 shots and practice my wedges from various lengths. It was designed to be a visually opulent landscape feature and be something functional for an avid golfer.”
Snelten says he built the hole for his own enjoyment, but it’s led to a bit of notoriety.
“About 15 years ago, the people down at TPC Sawgrass flew me down there to play the real golf course,” he says. “I had not played the hole before I built it. I built the green off of artist renditions, pictures, and things I had seen.”
In addition to a nice home and a nice yard, the new owner will also get plenty of opportunities to practice their game.
“The most important and overlooked area of the game of golf is from 100 yards out, so this is a way to get better fast—and it’s also a way to lose a lot of golf balls,” he says, estimating there are at least 300 currently in the pond.
Snelten says he’s selling the house so he can spend time on other things, like golfing more than just one hole. He’s ready for someone else to appreciate what he created.
The perfect buyer “is someone who thinks this is the coolest thing they have ever seen and who thinks it is beautiful and something they want to look at every day,” he says.