Best ways to get to The Players

Published On: May 07 2013 06:29:32 PM EDT
Updated On: May 07 2013 06:10:00 PM EDT

If you're making plans to attend The Players this week, as always, you can expect a lot of fun, but a lot of traffic. Channel 4's Ashley Mitchem has what you need to know about driving to the tournament and parking.

The Players expect about 45,000 people will show up to the tournament on Saturday and Sunday, so fans heading out to Sawgrass will need to be prepared for the crowded roadways.

To help deal with the crowds, there is a new and preferred route to the tournament through Nocatee this year, which approaches the parking area from the south and avoids traffic on J. Turner Butler Boulevard and/or State Road A1A.

St. Johns County Deputies along with Jacksonville police and the Florida Highway Patrol will help direct traffic.

"The TPC does occur in a neighborhood-type environment, so we do a great job getting people in and out, but we need their cooperation as well to think ahead and get there as efficiently as possible," said SJCSO Cmdr. Chuck Mulligan.

One mistake that creates congestion at the entrance is not buying a parking pass in advance.

"If you show up at the gate without a parking pass, it will be $40. The best way to avoid that -- and traffic -- is to carpool.

"Four for Free" is a parking pass allowing fans who carpool to park for free Thursday through Sunday. Fans can download the parking pass at the players website, but a new pass must be downloaded and printed for each day.

If carpooling isn't an option, it's best to buy cheaper passes at any Publix or online for $25.

Also new this year is an app that provides traffic information. The free Florida 511 app is good for all state roads, but this week it will be focused on information on traffic to and from Ponte Vedra Beach.

"This will be great if you're heading out to The Players so you can see what's going on out on I-95," said Christie Hyde, Florida 511 spokeswoman. "Maybe I want to take a different route from what I originally planned."

And if you'd prefer to get to the tournament by bicycle, the National MS Society will once again offer bike valet services during Thursday through Sunday, from 7:30 a.m. until end of play. Spectators can ride their bikes to the Couples Gate off of ATP Boulevard or to the Love III Gate located inside the Sawgrass Gates and MS Society volunteers will secure and monitor the bikes.

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