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Spruced Up Seawane

Older Tradition, Newer Approach

Editor's Note: This article is written in partnership with The Seawane Club.

March 12, 2024
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The search for a quality private golf club the entire family will enjoy often leads to a fork in-the-road decision: Find a place with deep, venerable history, or discover something fresh and crisp, a brighter canvas with all the requisite whistles.

Along the southern shores of Long Island, in an area immersed in great golf, is an opportunity to join both of those clubs at one address. The Seawane Club overlooking Hewlett Bay is a classic Devereux Emmet original design that opened in 1927 on the spacious estate of John Auerbach, whose Victorian home served as the first clubhouse.

Some of golf's great characters rolled through when Seawane hosted the prestigious Richardson Memorial, dating to the 1940s. Although the course sits less than 20 minutes from JFK Airport and only 17 miles from Manhattan, few ever saw or experienced Seawane. The club was a secret; membership preferred it that way.

Under new ownership, the course has forged a bolder, fresher identity: younger and more vibrant, while still respecting the tradition. Enhanced facilities (padel and pickleball are featured at the lighted racquets center), innovative thinking and a great culinary team have injected an infectious energy into the club, helping to curate memorable experiences. It's a family-friendly place. A few years ago, Seawane had more members in their 90s than members under 40. Today, 20 percent of the club is 40 or younger.

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The 8th Hole at Seawane

Something new, something old, with some rich tradition to lean upon.

The golf course exudes beauty but presents a formidable challenge, especially when strong winds churn off the adjacent bay. Rolling fairways flow into greens, allowing for run-up shots to smaller putting surfaces. In recent years, through a team effort led by Superintendent Ryan Bell and architect Jeff Stein, the course has returned to its Emmet origins, an open, dramatic, links-style layout played in and across rugged sandy dunes.

Wind at Seawane presents a daily puzzle. At the 155-yard eighth, a postcard par 3 featuring a raised green surrounded by sand, players may hit 5-iron some days and a flip wedge on others, says host pro Alex Smith. More recently, Seawane has started to host bigger events such as the Long Island Amateur, the MET PGA Head Professional Championship U.S. Mid-Amateur qualify-ing, and soon, the Long Island Open.

Each day, Seawane presents a different challenge that requires new strategy. That reflects the overarching feel at the club: something new, something old, with rich tradition to lean upon.

Respect the bones of the club, and turn up the music. That's a different and enticing direction, especially among the stoic Long Island giants.