172. Sea Island Golf Club (Seaside)
Tom Fazio (1999)
The Sea Island resort continues to credit famed British golf architect H.S. Colt for its Seaside design, but in truth the present Seaside Course is purely Tom Fazio, who incorporated a nine originally designed by Colt (previously called the Seaside Nine) along with a nine (the Marshland Nine) designed in 1974 by Joe Lee, to create a totally new 18- hole course. But in keeping with the resort’s heritage, Fazio styled his new course in the design fashion of Colt, with big clamshell bunkers, smallish putting surfaces and exposed sand dunes off most of the windswept fairways. The Seaside Course has been a mainstay of the PGA Tour’s early season roster for many years.
Second 100 Greatest history: Ranked, 2013 to current. Highest: No. 155, 2013-2014. Previous: 160th.
Panelist comments, Sea Island Golf Club (Seaside):
“The main feature of this course, other than the difficulty and wind (I never hit so many long and mid irons into greens), is the extremely wide run off areas from all the greens; its shaved very tightly. The run off areas are also extremely steep in places and thus difficult to chip from, and as many as eight to twelve yards wide. This feature leads your ball to a narrow intermediate rough, and then the regular rough, both of which are still considerably easier to chip from. So if you miss here you want to miss wildly, otherwise your ball is at the mercy of these rolling chip off areas.”
“The greens and surrounds are the strength of the Seaside course – the player rarely finds himself with a chip or pitch that doesn’t have significant elevation change, and the tightness of the green surrounds permit a player to play a variety of shots, all requiring a high degree of finesse. The course has a good combination of high greens and low surrounds (1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16) and low greens and high surrounds (5, 6, 9, 12, 17, 18) and, again, requires the player to hit everything from 3 hybrid along the ground to high, soft shots. The shot values around the greens and on the greens requiring finesse are very high.”
“Not an overly long and demanding golf course. Fairways are rather large but don’t let that fool you. If your shot-making is off the turtle back greens will make you PAY with deep run offs that leave extremely tight lies back up. Great set of par 3s that require different club each shot. The back 9 has some incredible water holes. A course that you could play 36 and never get bored.”