The Seagate Country Club
Delray Beach, FL
12th hole / Par-3 / 205 Yards
Architect: Joe Lee (1973)
Overall updating – Gene Bates (2013)
Evolution is an essential element in the development of any golf property. And staying ahead of the curve is particularly imperative when located in a highly competitive arena such as southeast Florida.
What is known today as The Seagate Country Club had its origins in 1973 as The Hamlet County Club. Architect Joe Lee did the original design and in November 2012, the facility was purchased and renamed. In 2013, architect Gene Bates of Bates Golf Design Group, in concert with consultation from Jeff Sluman, a resident of The Seagate CC and touring golf pro with six PGA Tour victories, updated the course on a number of fronts while attempting to keep the core Lee design philosophy intact.
Over the course of time it became apparent that the expansion of trees, underbrush near ponds and other areas were significantly altering the original intent of the holes and the golf shots needed to play them successfully. Bunkers were also needed to be repositioned so that the overall challenge was kept relevant.
The 12th at Seagate is a fine example on how a meaningful makeover truly adds to the challenge provided for all skill levels.
When arriving at the par-3 you see the hole in its entirety. What you no longer see is the amount of native brush cleared from the left side of the water hazard that guards a good part of the hole. The opening up provides a much cleaner presentation and focuses the attention solely on the greensite.
Generally, the prevailing wind at the 12th is helping from the south / southeast and often coming slightly from the right. While this may seem at first glance to be quite helpful it can also prove most vexing. Any shot moving left from the tee will be pushed further in that direction by the prevailing wind. Three bunkers encircle the target with a frontal left one hugging as tight as a preschooler holding tight to his Mom on the first day of school. For those avoiding that bunker had best not pull their approach just a tad bit because the music you hear will be the famed Bobby Darin song, “Splish Splash.”
The putting surface slopes gently from right-to-left and it pays to avoid bailing out away from the water. The green has a front right bunker and to complicate matters a solitary tree placed in the heart of it. Many might wonder if such an added element is overkill? There’s sufficient spacing and only those shots finishing directly behind the tree will face a most severe penalty. One of the real virtues of the 12th is that for those unable to fly an approach to the green — there’s an alleyway allowing short straight shots to roll up to the target. Superior holes provide options — choosing the right one that matches you skill level is the test.
The par-3 12th provides a solid intersection of challenges for all types of players provided the appropriate tee box is selected. Shaping one’s tee shot and marrying it with the correct trajectory are the hallmarks of a first rate golf shot. Those fortunate ones walking off the green with par can rightly smile.