Director of Golf Operations, Sea Island Company
The Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club should prove to be an exciting test for the competitors in the second UBS Warburg Cup. The Tom Fazio redesign, which combined the historic Colt and Allison nine from 1928 with the Joe Lee-designed Marshside, has produced a dramatic links style championship test that is garnering rave reviews from the golfing world.
Seasides setting combines vistas of natural marshes and the Atlantic Ocean creating a visually intimidating links course. The course begins innocuously with a slight dogleg left par 4 measuring 410 yards. The golf course rapidly intensifies with holes 2 through 5 providing stern tests early in the round. These four holes present challenge and drama and could set the tome for any of the matches during the Warburg Cup.
Hole No. 2 demands a precise tee shot over the marsh to a fairway with water lurking right and marsh left. The second shot is difficult to get close, especially to a back pin placement.
Hole No. 4 is perhaps the most difficult hole on the course. The 415-yard par 4 demands a solid tee shot avoiding the marsh left and water right. A mid-iron second shot to a green nestled over the marsh and fronted by a gaping bunker make this hole a challenge. The undulating green is surrounded on three sides by closely mown chipping swales which carom a misplayed shot further from the hole and present multiple options in playing a recovery shot. These chipping swales are a predominant feature on most holes on the course, and the mastery of these challenging undulating swales may be the key to a victory in many matches.
Hole No. 5 completes the tough opening stretch on the front nine with a 90-degree dogleg that tempts the player to bite off as much as he dares. The swirling winds and angled fairway make the tee shot on the fifth among the most difficult on the course.
The back nine of Seaside follows closely the original routing historically created by Colt and Allison in the 1920s. Holes 10 and 11 move boldly through windswept dunes with dramatic large bunkers strategically placed guarding the landing areas and greens. Both holes are visually intimidating and demand precise tee shots and irons to successfully manage the holes.
Most matches are going to be won or lost by the side that best manages holes 13-16. This stretch of holes provides some of the most intriguing shots on the course. Hole No. 13 is the most frequently photographed hole in Seaside. This dramatic par-4 plays to a dramatic backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean and is bordered by a tidal river to the left. Large bunkers emanate from the dunes that seem to swallow any ball hit off line guard the right. The elevated green is fronted by a large deep bunker making a precise iron a requisite for any chance at birdie.
Hole No. 14, at 445 yards, requires a long drive across the marsh and a precise mid- to long iron to a green guarded left and long by the marsh. This hole will challenge every player in the field.
Hole No. 16 will most likely be the most pivotal hole in most matches. The 410 yard par 4 challenges the player to bite off as much as he can off the tee as the fairway angles from right to left across tidal creek. The narrow green is much more receptive to a short iron than a mid-iron, so a bold line off the tee is crucial.
Any match making its way to hole 18 will find a long, tough finishing hole facing them. The 470 yard par 4 is made longer by an elevated landing area off the tee and a fronting prevailing wind off of St. Simons Sound. Two large bunkers fronting the green make this a great finishing hole.
The Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club will provide an excellent venue for the competitors in the UBS Warburg Cup. The dramatic setting, breathtaking natural beauty, challenging course routing, and the classic historical significance of Sea Island will make this event one to remember.