Seminole Golf Club – After Nearly A Century & All To Be Revealed.

It’s 91-years since famed Scottish-born golf course designer left his ‘fingerprint’ in designing Seminole Golf Club at Juno Beach in Florida.

The famed Dornock-born Ross must surely have felt right at home is being asked to design a golf course with the Atlantic Ocean right on the doorstep.  The site was chosen for a golf course as it featured a number of sand dune ridges that Ross skillfully brought into play with some fairways directed towards elevated green sites while others drop down from sandy peaks to flatter terrain.

Seminole Golf Club – Members Only (Photo not to be used without permission of @TourMiss)

Each nine sets out from the clubhouse on level ground before veering into the 40-foot dune ridge that runs alongside the western edge of the property.

Seminole is so good, it’s been ranked inside the top-50 in the America for much of its life, and for much of its existence the has long been known as a golf club for the corporate and sporting elite.

The front gates to Seminole are located just a drive and a chip shot north of Jack Nicklaus Blvd on Floriday Highway 1 and you could argue it is easier to get an audience with the 18-time Major winner than get pass the front gates of Seminole Golf Club.

And just north of Seminole is one of the major roads in West Palm Beach Country – Donald Ross Road – and a road that takes you pass some other Florida golfing greats including the Bear’s Club, Trump National, Frenchman’s Creek and Eastpointe.

What a canvas for Scotland’s Donald Ross – The stunning Seminole GC laid out alongside the Atlantic Ocean at Juno Beach.

Seminole is more akin to a flat-bottomed bowl set between a high ridge of dunes to the west and the dunes along the Atlantic Ocean to the east. In the middle lie the necessary ponds to handle the drainage. Ross’ layout managed to have 14 of the 18 holes touch these two lines of dunes (the 1st, 8th, 9th and 10th holes do not).

To reflect and complement the sweep of the sandy property, Ross also used bunkering that was not typical of his other work. Instead of the more standard low-profile bunkering, Ross used flashed-face sand traps that are reminiscent of a George Thomas course rather than a Donald Ross work.

In 1947, the club’s members included Joseph P. Kennedy, Henry Ford II, Jack Chrysler, Paul Mellon, Phillip Armour, John Pillsbury and Robert Vanderbilt. The club has also hosted kings and presidents: President Dwight D. Eisenhower was an honorary member, Presidents Gerald Ford and John F. Kennedy played it often; and the Duke of Windsor was a member.

The stunning Seminole GC laid out alongside the Atlantic Ocean at Juno Beach.

Henry Picard, winner of the 1938 Masters Tournament, was the professional at Seminole for 26 years and Ben Hogan spent a significant amount of time here playing and practicing.

More recent members include Gerry McIlroy, father to current (May 2020) World No. 1 Rory McIlroy and NFL great Tom Brady had joined the club, shortly after he moved from his longtime team of the New England Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Following a period of relative neglect during and after World War II, Dick Wilson was commissioned to restore the course to its former glory. The original Ross greens were re-grassed and new bunkers were installed, which were intended to mimic the crests of waves on the adjacent Atlantic.

In 2016, the design team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw were tasked to carry out a three-year renovation of the course which focused on the rebuilding of over 100 bunkers and exposed sandy expanses in the rough.

The extent of the renovations over the years has remained relatively minor, and Seminole Golf Club, along with Pinehurst #2, are both considered by many to be Donald Ross’ two masterpieces.

And while the golf world will be glued to the TV this coming Sunday (May 17th) to get their first look at the Seminole, the general public will be able to past through the gates in 51 weeks times with the hosting of the 2021 Walker Cup.

  • Thanks to Wikipedia 

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