Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Clubhouse Celebration Becoming a Tradition; Each Year, More People Attend the Event to Get into the Holiday Spirit

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Clubhouse Celebration Becoming a Tradition; Each Year, More People Attend the Event to Get into the Holiday Spirit

Article excerpt

Byline: MAGGIE FITZROY

Snow made of tiny white bubbles drifted from the rooftop.

People of all ages sipped hot chocolate topped with marshmallows and peppermint sticks.

And the Ponte Vedra High School guitar ensemble strummed holiday songs as roughly 200 people gathered on the TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse lawn for a tree-lighting ceremony Friday evening in Ponte Vedra Beach.

Children chased each other around a tall tree trimmed with large colorful balls as General Manager Bill Hughes prepared to lead a group countdown.

"This is a big night for us, and we appreciate the community's support," Hughes said of the third annual event. "It's grown every year to represent the beginning of the holiday season."

As Loli and Ernest Santeiro of Ponte Vedra Beach drank their hot chocolate on that chilly night, Loli said it was the first time they had attended the public event.

"It's a good way to start the holiday," she said. "Getting in the spirit of the time."

Many of the guests had dinner in one of the clubhouse's three restaurants. Others just came to take in the sights and sounds and to visit the Tour of Trees, which also opened that evening inside the clubhouse.

Area designer Liza Chung and a group of assistants spent several days decorating 16 holiday trees at the 77,000-square-foot Mediterranean Revival-style clubhouse, trimming them in different styles and themes. They used 20,000 twinkling lights, 9,000 feet of ribbon, 5,500 holiday bulbs, 4,500 feet of illuminated garlands and 27,000 roof-line lights to decorate the clubhouse where thousands of people congregate every May for The Players Championship.

A pair of 15-foot-tall Scottish pines anchor the Grand Staircase inside the front entrance. Trees in other rooms feature snowmen golfers, a Bavarian alpine theme, ospreys, Blue Herons, live oaks and sunsets. …

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