Tom Doak claims that Dick Wilson did extensive work on the Seminole green complexes and Pine Tree sure felt like it had a Seminole vibe to me, i.e. requiring great precision in one’s approach shots. Merely landing on the green is insufficient to ensure one’s next shot is a putt, as there are plenty of opportunities to hit the green and find oneself in one of the hundreds of bunkers that Wilson surrounded the greens with. There are 5 holes with a realistic chance of running the ball onto the green, but the rest require aerial approaches. I'm hardly the only one feeling bedeviled here. I played with 2 members, both 11 handicaps. One made a 6 on #1 after a what we both thought was a good approach shortsided him in a bunker with about 15 feet of green between him and another bunker. "Typical Pine Tree," he sniffed. "Hit 2 good shots and make double." The other member calls the place Pine Trap. A third member told me he arrived in Florida with a 13 handicap and 6 weeks later is now a 17. The course was in wonderful condition—playing firm and fast—in February of 2016 and Ron Force’s recent restoration showed itself nicely. Force left the aircraft carrier tees (the longest is 150 yards) but returned the bunkers to Wilson’s original look. If you like challenging golf you’ll love Pine Tree. And you’ll be in good company, too. Ben Hogan called it the “best flat course in America.
Date: February 22, 2016