Rickie Fowler: Why Michael Jordan is so hard to beat at MJ’s new course

If you were to design your own golf course at your own private golf club, of course you’d tailor it to your golf game, right? Apparently Michael Jordan has done just that.

Speaking to co-hosts Drew Stoltz and Colt Knost on this week’s Subpar Podcast, Rickie Fowler explained why it’s so hard to beat Jordan at his exclusive new spot, The Grove XXIII. The Hobe Sound, Fla., club, which opened in the fall of 2019, is invite only and reportedly has less than 100 members. Fowler said he’s gotten the better of Jordan in their golf matches over the years, but that’s “only because I haven’t played him much at The Grove.”

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Why? Apparently Jordan plays well at his home course. “The nickname for it is Slaughterhouse 23,” Fowler said. Fowler said he has no chance if he doesn’t play well.

“The shorter you hit it, the wider it is,” Fowler said. “So the tees and pins are done every day, so the golf course can play as long as you want, but they set the back tees at roughly 7,000 or 7,100 yards, and MJ just plays the back tees.

A design sample of the clubhouse at The Grove XXIII, from the architectural firm NBWW.
5 things to know about Michael Jordan’s exclusive Florida golf course
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“It’s a golf course where he can basically hit driver on all of the par-4s and par-5s, and if I wanna hit driver, I have to kind of put it into a little bit tighter of a spot,” Fowler continued. “I can obviously play back if I want, but that obviously becomes a little bit of a disadvantage, especially if it’s a hole where he’s getting a stroke on. He’s great with wedges in his hands, around the greens, he’ll putt anyone straight up. If I’m giving him a shot, I can’t then play him from the same spot he is when he’s laying zero.”

Fowler said he has to give Jordan 10 shots a round.

“I’ve seen him plenty of times shoot 71 to 74,” he said. “On the high end he’s going to shot maybe low 80s, and a lot of the times he’s shooting in that 75 to 80 window. But with 10 shots, some of those are a lost-ball double or whatever it may be. If he’s shooting 77 and he’s got a double in there, I got to shoot 65 to get to 18 — and I think he strokes on 18, too.”

Even getting a stroke on the 18th hole? His Airness thought of everything. You can check out the full Subpar episode with Fowler below.

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Golf.com Editor

Josh Berhow is the managing editor at GOLF.com. The Minnesota native attended Minnesota State in Mankato. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.