Course Rater Confidential: What about Medalist has made so many pros join?
GOLF’s Top 100 course panelists are among the most respected and well-traveled course evaluators in the game. They’re also keen to share their opinions. In this GOLF.com series, we’ll unlock their unvarnished views on all questions course-related. The goal is not only to entertain you but also to give you a better understanding of how to understand and appreciate golf course architecture. You can see GOLF’s latest Top 100 Courses in the World ranking here, and meet all of our Top 100 panelists here.
A number of PGA Tour players (like Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and many more) are members at the Medalist. Aside from its privacy, is there anything about the Medalist that explains its draw to Tour pros? Anything about the course that makes it especially useful practice grounds for the world’s best?
Jeff Lewis (Panelist since 2003; has played 97 of the World Top 100): The Medalist is one of the first modern clubs to have the big bar and hangout area inside the locker room. Most people who have been there would say that it’s one of the most fun places to play golf, as most people can play, they play fast and they don’t stand on ceremony. It’s a challenging course but the pros are also beyond good. A few years ago on a windy day on a very difficult and firm golf course, Fowler made 10 birdies and shot 62. Ho-hum. Conditions are usually outstanding and the greens don’t have huge slopes. So when a good player gets rolling, the birdies will come in bunches. But there is a phrase — “Medalist moment” — for when the course has its way and one poor shot leads to a huge number. I’ve certainly had my share. There was a story during one of his rehabs of Woods playing a worst-ball scramble with himself and shooting 65. If true, that is some really crazy stuff.
Christian Faergemann (Panelist since 2013; has played 65 of the World Top 100): The location is good and easy to access from the Jupiter area, where quite a few Tour pros have settled. In addition, I would say the practice facilities where you are able to practice at both ends — depending on wind and separate from members/guests — is a plus. The short game area is good with the option of hitting longer pitch shots into greens in the same condition as on the course. The course plays firm with fast greens and from the tips (my group just glances at them before moving forward) plays really long, and some tees farther back are not even listed on the scorecard. The hole variation is good and requires many different shot types. Most likely it may appeal to the Tour pros that it does not feel like a typical Florida course.
Adam Messix (Panelist since 2015; has played 100 of the World Top 100): Even though the fairways are reasonably generous, the punishment for missing off the tee is severe. The original greens were unique as they were mostly a continuation of the fairway and were creatively contoured, not only within the greens but also the surrounds. Tour players like it because the greens require quality iron play. Bobby Weed has done a good job of bringing back much of the original flavor. Medalist will be a great place to practice prior to the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2. For the pros, the practice facility at Medalist is not as wide as some but gives you enough area to work on all facets of your game.
Paul Rudovsky (Panelist since 2015; has played 100 of the World Top 100): No doubt they appreciate the privacy, and they have no problem with the long carries required off the tee.