The Robert Trent Jones-designed South course at Wilmington Country Club has twice played host to the US Junior Amateur. In 1978, for the first time in history, the USGA scheduled the Junior Amateur over the South course of Wilmington Country Club, while the Girls’ Junior was simultaneously staged on the North course. Sticking with the US Junior Amateur, the longest 18-hole final match in history was played over the South course in 1978. Donald Hurter defeated Keith Banes after 21 holes.
The South course opened in 1960, a year before the 18 holes on the shorter, Dick Wilson-designed North debuted. Characterised by heavily bunkered fairways and large, multi-tiered greens, the South course contains half a dozen holes where water looms large.
The 585-yard par five 3rd heads downhill to a green fronted by water and surrounded by sand to the right, left and behind. On the inward half, the 203-yard par three 17th plays across another water hazard to a tricky “L”-shaped putting surface.
Architect Keith Foster is credited with conducting a renovation of the course in 2008.
The best thing I can say about the Robert Trent Jones, Sr. layout is that the South Course is simply dull. The architecture style Jones used is more of the same he carried out at so many other courses during his long career. Immense greens with big bunkers dotting the landscape. The issue is simple. That style of architecture is quite simply a thing of the past. The new stars in architecture today emulate the classic design era superstars.
It's been said -- that great courses are ones where the details of the today are etched in your memory. The South succeeds in creating an impenetrable mindless fogbank. The hole blend together to the point where it's simply Jones following his predictable formulaic style. How Golf Digest had this layout in its top 100 at one time boggles the mind. If people see the South as being top tier design -- then frankly they need to play much more golf to see what it is they are missing.
by M. James Ward
As you might guess, Howdy is a big Howdy Doody fan, and a few years ago he played a round with Buffalo Bob Smith, who led every show with, “Hey kids! What time is it? It’s Howdy Doody time!” Howdy visited Bob’s house and had his picture taken with the original Howdy Doody puppet. I don’t think he met Clarabell though.
My golf game was still on vacation, and I did my best not to let it get me down. So my round at Wilmington was all about relationships and being the most entertaining guest I could be. Telling my Top 100 stories and listening to Howdy’s Arnie stories was so much fun that I can barely remember the golf course. Larry Berle.