On May 17th, the historic 90-year-old Seminole Golf Club will host a Sunday afternoon competitive charity golf event to benefit COVID-19 relief workers featuring Rory Mcllroy, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, and Matthew Wolff. “This match is a pure public service … Seminole is thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to such a worthy cause during this difficult time,” said Jimmy Dunne, president of the Seminole Golf Club.
Broadcast worldwide on NBC, GOLF Channel, NBCSN, Sky Sports, and multiple digital platforms, spectators and media will not be allowed on the course. Players will practice social distancing and carry their own bags. Ranked 12th on Golf Digest’s Greatest 100 courses, the Seminole Golf Club is considered “the best bunkered course in America.”
The “TaylorMade Driving Relief” is sponsored by the UnitedHealth Group that is staking a $3 million purse to benefit each team’s charity. Farmers Insurance has kicked in an additional $1 million to assist Off Their Plate, a charitable organization helping COVID-19 healthcare workers and impacted frontline shift employees. McIlroy and Johnson will be playing for the American Nurses Foundation; Fowler and Wolff are playing for the CDC Foundation. For the customarily understated Seminole Golf Club that has shunned the limelight, the forthcoming exposure may be a run through for when it holds the prestigious Walker Cup in May 2021.
With a clubhouse designed by Marion Sims Wyeth and a course mapped out by the renowned Donald Ross, with more recent updates by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, the Seminole Golf Club’s organization was led by E. F. “Ned” Hutton. While the club’s roster was drawn predominately from the Everglades Club and the Gulf Stream Golf Club memberships, Hutton also involved Bath & Tennis Club members.
“I have taken two options for shares,” wrote Jules Bache to Otto Kahn in February 1929, inviting him to become a founder with proprietary interest in the newly formed Seminole Golf Club. “Ned Hutton’s plan is taking shape and I know you will want to be a part of it,” Bache wrote. The following month, Kahn received a formal invitation to be one of Seminole’s first 100 founding members. “Dear Mr. Hutton,” responded Kahn, “I appreciate the fine spirit of your leadership in the creation of Seminole Golf Club.” Kahn not only sent his check for $2,500 but also sent an additional $2,500 donation for the club’s furnishings.
The Seminole Golf Club will soon regain the spotlight it once held when it did allow the public to attend its tournament play. Along with contemporaneous archival documents, Ellen Glendinning Ordway’s photographs from the late 1940s to the 1970s reveal an inside look of what today’s golf world will soon experience.
Historic photographs courtesy Ellen Glendinning Ordway Collection.