JUNO BEACH, Fla. — As soon as the final putt was conceded and hats were taken off for the last time after two glorious days of golf at revered Seminole Golf Club, the question became obvious Sunday.
When is the Walker Cup coming back to Seminole Golf Club?
Not as quick as you think. Or prefer.
“That’s a question for another (USGA) board and (Seminole) president,” U.S. captain Nathaniel Crosby, a longtime Seminole member, said after leading the Americans to a 14-12 victory over Great Britain-Ireland.
“It’s a perfect event for Seminole. But you have to remember this: Cypress Point hosted its first Walker Cup in 1979, and it’s not getting its second chance until 2025. It’s not like this is a U.S. Open rotation, where it can come back every six or eight years.”
No, the Walker Cup is held on U.S. soil only once every four years and there are other classic courses – Pine Valley, which recently announced it will allow female members, for instance – that will be ahead of Seminole.
It took 99 years of the Walker Cup for Seminole to finally play host. Safe to say it won’t take another 99 years.
It proved to be worth the wait. Seminole, situated hard on the Atlantic Ocean, with its faster-than-lightning-quick greens, ever-changing winds and doesn’t-seem-like-you’re-in-Florida elevation changes, was made-for-TV golf.
“Seminole was the star this week,” NBC/Golf Channel golf analyst Paul Azinger said. “I knew it would look good on TV. I didn’t know it would look this good.”
The Donald Ross-designed golf course has always had this allure to it, in part because the members love their privacy as much as their golf. For years, Seminole resisted opportunities to host USGA or other outside events (last year’s TaylorMade Driving Relief pandemic event doesn’t really count).
That changed when Jimmy Dunne became Seminole’s president in 2012. He believed it was the club’s responsibility to help amateur golf by hosting an event such as the Walker Cup.
Golf fans’ first peek at Seminole at last year’s TaylorMade event wasn’t a fair one because it rained several inches the night before and it was calm. Not Seminole conditions, in other words.
Even with Seminole having to be shut down three times last Thursday because of storms, the course took little time to regain its teeth for the Walker Cup.
“We were actually worried Thursday night after all the rain,” Dunne said Sunday. “It turns out that was a good thing because with the wind and the lack of humidity the last two days, it would have really played tough.”
Golf fans were treated to plenty of looks at Seminole’s two closing holes that are as tough as any in golf – the par-3 17th and the par-4 18th than run next to the ocean. Incredibly, 14 of the 26 matches reached the 18th and five others got as far as the 17th.
The other 16 holes aren’t pushovers, either. Ben Hogan, who spent most of his winters at Seminole, said the par-4 sixth hole was his favorite.
The beauty of the course is that it never plays the same. We also got to see why Seminole’s members use their own statistic – greens visited in regulation.
When will we see Seminole again?
“I know I won’t be the one to make that call, but I hope we do,” Dunne said. “Whoever that man is, he can call me, and I’ll tell him what a great event it is and we should do it again.”
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