5 things you should know about Seminole Golf Club
Courtesy Seminole/Jeff Bertch
This weekend all eyes in the golf world will be on Seminole Golf Club as Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff compete in the TaylorMade Driving Relief skins match. The two-on-two match will be the first time these golfers have been in action since the abrupt cancellation of the Players Championship in mid-March and they’ll be playing on behalf of two charities dedicated to COVID relief.
With all professional sports shelved for the last two months, sports fans are craving some live action, and Seminole is a great stage for the (momentary) return to normalcy. The coastal retreat is ranked No. 34 in GOLF’s Top 100 Courses and for most fans, this will be the first glimpse they get of the property.
Here are five things to know about the Donald Ross gem.
1. Ben Hogan frequently practiced there in prep for the Masters
Although Seminole has a bit of a different feel than the loblolly pine tree-lined fairways of Augusta National, Ben Hogan still took refuge in Florida each year in preparation for the Masters. The course may not be particularly lengthy (it tips out at just over 6,800 yards), but the firm lies and tricky contours of the greens made it excellent prep for the annual pilgrimage to eastern Georgia.
“(It’s) the only course I could be perfectly happy playing every single day,” Hogan is quoted as saying. “If you can play well at Seminole, you can play well anywhere.”
Hogan certainly wasn’t wrong. His Masters prep at Seminole paid off as the Texan earned two green jackets, in 1951 and 1953.
2. Coore & Crenshaw led a three-year renovation to the course
Seminole was largely untouched for much of its storied history other than some substantial bunker additions following World War II at the hands of Dick Wilson. That changed in the last decade as the illustrious Coore & Crenshaw design firm undertook the restoration of Seminole’s bunkers and sandy areas between holes. Much like they were tasked with at Ross’ other masterpiece, Pinehurst No. 2, Coore & Crenshaw was enlisted to revert the look and feel of the course back to its original roots. The move has been met with critical acclaim as Seminole looks and feels like Ross’ original vision.
3. Seminole has never been shown on TV before
While the course is well known to many golf fans, the grounds of Seminole have only been seen through the occasional photograph or story for a vast majority. As its largest event is the annual star-studded member-pro, Seminole has never been shown on TV before. But the mystery only adds to the intrigue.
4. The membership is a who’s who of celebrities
As Michael Bamberger dived into in a column earlier this week, Seminole boasts one of the most star-packed memberships in the game. From Michael Bloomberg to Rees Jones to recently initiated Tom Brady, there is no shortage of A-list celebs who keep a membership at Seminole.
5. Seminole is considered Donald Ross’ masterpiece
Although Pinehurst No. 2 is more well-known because of the various championships it has hosted over the years, Seminole is also in the top tier of Donald Ross designs. Seminole’s defense doesn’t come from gnarly rough or outrageous length or wacky weather conditions. Instead, much like No. 2, the course shows its teeth through the contours of the greens that will repel any indifferent shots. Ross was a master at that, and it will be on full display during the skins match.