Last month, we covered the history behind Shinnecock Hills Golf Club and the National Golf Links of America. This month, we’re going to dive into two other prestigious clubs on the east end. Just down the road from SHGC and NGLA is Southampton Golf Club, and get this: it was designed by Seth Raynor, a good friend of Charles Blair McDonald, the mastermind behind Shinnecock Hills and National. Seth Raynor was hired by McDonald to survey the construction of both SHGC and NGLA, and there’s no doubt we can find some of McDonald’s influence on the greens of Southampton Golf Club. On the other hand, Atlantic Golf Club, which opened more recently in 1992, was developed by Lowell Shulman, who sought out the iconic golf architect Rees Jones to design his course. In its 27 years holding play, it has continued to rise in prestige to meet its east end predecessors.
Atlantic Golf Club sits in the woods of Bridgehampton, New York, just 7 miles from Southampton Golf Club. Lowell Shulman bought the 204 acres, originally harvested and used as a potato field, knowing that it wouldn’t be easy to build a course that could hold up against Long Island’s rich golf history. A golf club hadn’t been built on Long Island since Noyac Golf Club’s opening nearly 30 years prior. Interestingly enough, the land surrounding Atlantic Golf Club sits flat and even, but the 204 acres, originally called “Breeze Hill,” has a beautiful natural rolling landscape perfect for the game of golf. After 35 acres were deemed as wetlands and couldn’t be used, Rees Jones was able to create a layout that worked with the natural scenery, thus Atlantic Golf Club came to be.
Unfortunately, just after Southampton Golf Club’s first season, Seth Raynor died of pneumonia at the age of 47 in 1926. Southampton Golf Club remained untouched until 1967, when William Mitchell was hired to modernize the course. But you can find a rendition from 1925 of Raynor’s original plans hanging in the clubhouse today. In the early years of the twenty-first century, there was a movement by Club President Vincent Armusewicz and other members to return the course to how Raynor intended all those years ago. Finally, in 2010, the reconstruction of the course was completed and hasn’t been touched to date. They will celebrate their 100-year anniversary in 2025, with the course looking as close to its original 1925 condition.
Stay tuned next month, where we’ll be covering Maidstone Club and Noyac Golf Club!