Sebonack Golf Club is located in Southampton on Long Island, adjacent to National Golf Links of America, and Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. The course opened in 2006 and was designed by Tom Doak in collaboration with Jack Nicklaus. Owner Mike Pascucci initially gave the job to his neighbour Nicklaus, but after inspecting Doak's work at Pacific Dunes, brought him into the project as well. Doak's initial routing plan needed very little tweaking and became the blueprint for an exceptional course.
The land at Sebonack is sand based, with lots of movement, and sea views. When Tom Doak produced that initial routing however it was a jungle out there... Doak and his Renaissance men set about shaping the greens and bunkers with their usual flair, and Nicklaus contributed by effectively adding further options for the thinking golfer on how to approach greens, lengthening the course, and reducing the size of greens. Jack made the course harder.
There are a few holes which have muddled personalities, but overall this is a magnificent course in a magnificent setting.
I had the pleasure of playing with Tom Doak on my first outing and at his suggestion we played off a forward tee. It was a joy to play!
I can imagine playing off a longer tee, hitting longer shots in to those creative greens, and being frustrated. But not for us- we had a great day. As you might imagine, a combination of 'The Golden Bear' and Tom Doak has produced a fairly strategic course, with striking bunkering throughout. I liked the greens- some of which were a little wild in places, but generally not as big as Doak would normally produce. I like the architect to tell me what he wants me to do off the tee as well, and for the most part Sebonack was well behaved, but there were a couple of ocassions where I really needed to be told where to go!!
Outstanding holes include:
- the short downhill par 3 first hole with Peconic Bay as a backdrop
- the longer par 4 third hole with it's Big Bertha type bunker on the low side, and clubhouse to the rear
- the picture postcard par 3 eighth hole fronting the lake
- the long par 4 eleventh hole with bay as a backdrop- perhaps inspired by Ballybunion 11?
- the par 3 twelfth hole with its bay backdrop
- the downhill par 4 fourteenth
-the par 3 seventeenth
-and of course the majestic par 5 closing hole- running right along the cliffs.
And just for good measure there is a betting hole located near the 1st tee. It's a short iron to a lovely green, and a great finish to a good day's golf.
The clubhouse at Sebonack is also impressive.
Sebonack is an exclusive private club, which is well located for the well heeled. And I believe that despite the not inconsiderable entrance fees the membership is full. That says something in itself.
As such it is a wonderful course, that not many will see. If you do get the chance to play just make sure you play off the appropriate tee!
Despite it's relative youth Sebonack hosted the Women's U.S. Open in 2013, however limited access to the site may preclude other significant events being hosted there.
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