Donald Ross originally designed Seminole in the 1920s and it was the first outstanding course to be built in America’s deepest South. Situated on the Atlantic side of Florida’s coastline, Seminole Golf Club is considered by critics to be one of the finest examples of golf course routing. With small greens and serious trouble lurking beyond the flagstick, this is not a course to attack.
The site chosen for the course features a number of sand dune ridges that were carefully brought into play with some fairways directed towards elevated green sites while others drop down from sandy peaks to flatter terrain. Both nines set out from the clubhouse on level ground before veering into the 40-foot dune ridge that runs alongside the western edge of the property.
The greens at Seminole are the main line of defence for the course and many of them are cleverly angled, narrowing towards the back, which makes rear pin positions a very tough proposition. Fairway bunkers are generally shallow but flash-faced sand traps adjacent to putting surfaces are often deep and troublesome.
The par four 6th is a wonderful hole on the outward half, played to an offset putting surface that’s protected by bunkers on both sides of a long, narrow green. Holes 11 and 14 are memorable for the uphill approach shots to be played to the pin and the all-carry second shot to the par four 12th is another highlight on the inward half.
Following a period of relative neglect during and after World War II, Dick Wilson was commissioned to restore the course to its former Donald Ross glory in the 1960s and it has retained its enduring appeal ever since. However, the layout is in the process of being elevated to an entirely new level. In 2016, Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw were appointed to carry out a 3-year renovation of the course at Seminole, which largely focused on the rebuilding of around one hundred bunkers.
May 12, 2010