““[Bill Gates] has been historically one of my best supporters…One of my favorite e-mails he ever sent me…I proposed this crazy project. And he sent back this two-line response: ‘This has got to be the craziest thing you’ve ever suggested. Please proceed.’” ”
Sebonack Golf Club
Perhaps the most amazing thing about the Sebonack Golf Club in historic Southampton, New York, is that the site was available. Good luck finding an undeveloped property as stunning as this 300-acre, partially wooded dunescape along a bluff overlooking Great Peconic Bay on Long Island’s South Shore.
The technical term for what it took visionary owner/developer Michael Pascucci to acquire and complete this private golf course project is chutzpah. Getting regulatory permission in a notoriously demanding community when it comes to environmental sensitivity was tough enough. Along the way he had to convince two golf course architects representing diametrically opposed styles to collaborate: Jack Nicklaus, the ultra-modernist aerial-game advocate; and Tom Doak, the ultra-traditionalist devotee of the ground game. And then he had to make the place look and feel as if it fit in seamlessly with its two esteemed museum-piece golf-course neighbors, National Golf Links of America and Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.
Tall, wavy fescue and native dunes grass roughs help, as do the wide angles of play on this windswept course, which opened in 2006. The clubhouse complements the regional shingle style of clubhouse and estate design, and the club’s dozen cozy cottages ensure an upscale place to stay for members and guests in a region where hotel space is at a premium. Small wonder that Sebonack ranked No. 7 on Golfweek’s list of the best modern courses. It has landed the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open and is a regular stop for itinerant fans of golf-course architecture looking to complete a grand tour of the game’s special places. The big attraction here are the firm, fast, links-style conditions and holes that range from a delicate little Postage Stamp par-3 to a heroic par-5 finishing hole along the bay.
Sebonack Golf Club, Southampton, New York. For information, call (631) 287-4444 or visit sebonack.com.
Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach, New York, has a 9,000-foot runway and is 14 miles west of Sebonack. FBOs: Malloy Air East, (888) 673-9888; Sheltair, (631) 288-9866. Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, New York, has a 7,000-foot runway and is 37 miles west of Sebonack. FBOs: Hawthorne, (631) 913-7102; New York Jet Corporate Flight Center, (631) 588-4800; Sheltair, (631) 588-0303.