The stadium roof of Tiger Woods’ TGL league collapsed — here’s what it looks like now

SofiCenter golf arena dome damage

The dome arena of the TGL golf league deflated earlier this week, leaving behind a tattered skeleton. Here's what it looks like up close.

GOLF

It was always going to be difficult to get SofiCenter — the new technology-savvy golf arena built specifically for the forthcoming TGL golf league — up and running in such a short period of time. Difficult, but not impossible, considering how much money is being invested in the league

Ninety days before the league was to start — during the week after the Ryder Cup — the construction site of the arena appeared flat. You knew whereabout the domed building would take shape, but its shape was just 2D. You could look from one end of the property to the other. 

But then, suddenly, the canvas roof was off the ground. During the second week after the Ryder Cup, the dome had life, with its ceiling now maybe 60 feet high at its apex, inflated by air. The idea of indoor golf shots started to make more sense. You could no longer see across the property. A big, white blob was in the way. 

Then, this week happened. A temporary power outage took place at the site overnight on Tuesday, causing the air-sealed dome to deflate. Whether it was human error, or mechanical error, some sort of error occurred, drooping the life out of that white blob and leaving it susceptible to the elements. (Photos below were taken on Thursday.)

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The heavy-duty canvas that makes up the roof is built to handle severe weather. With a membrane of cables that encompasses the canvas, wind and rain flow over its sturdy body and down its sides. But in the event of surprise deflation, those cables and gravity weigh down the canvas on everything below. Its defense against wind is rendered less effective, especially on a night like Tuesday where gusts stretched above 30 mph. What sat below the deflated canvas in this case is all the framework for the advanced technology the league is expected to use

More than a dozen poles stand tall from the wreckage now, clearly defining the bones of a hitting area that would be filled with cameras and lights. On one end of the dome stands the structure of the TGL’s massive swing simulator, akin to the Jumbotron screens one might find at a rock concert. Draping from all of it is the canvas, which now appears somewhat in tatters. It remains unclear how much damage was done, or what replacements or repair to the canvas would cost, but when TGL workers reached the site, it called for further deflation of the dome for a full assessment. 

What exists now is a bit of a skeleton of the arena, and less than two months to prepare for the league’s launch date, Jan. 9. According to a statement from the league, none of the technology was damaged. More importantly, no injuries occurred. Though reports circled that the incident would not delay the start of the league, the TGL issued a statement saying, “At this time, while we assess the damage, it is too early to determine the impact on our timelines.”

Until further information becomes available, below is some drone footage captured this week by the Palm Beach Post.

Sean Zak

Golf.com Editor

Zak is a writer at GOLF Magazine and just finished a book about the summer he spent in St. Andrews.

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