A Korn Ferry Tour member last year, now on the PGA Tour, we asked Vincent Norrman about the Golden Bear-improved Seminole Legacy Golf Club in Tallahassee, Florida following his second round at the 2022 Veritex Open in Texas.
“It’s sooo good,” he beamed. “Really, really pure.”
For someone who’s hoofed as many good tracks as Norrman, “really pure” isn’t offered often. Once a sleepy daily fee with old tire range targets, Norrman’s evaluation is spot-on. It’s a testament to the impact a $10 million donation and the Nicklaus Design Company can make on a golf course – their renovation was completed in early 2020. From the first tee to the 18th green – conditions are 10 tomahawks out of 10.
The Golden Bear has strong ties to Florida State – he has six grandchildren who went to Florida State, and his son Steve played football for Bobby Bowden from ’81-’84. His grandson Nick O’Leary was on the ’13 national championship team and is the indisputable best tight to ever play for the Noles.
“The canvas we were presented is a gorgeous one, with lots of movement, elevation changes and beautiful mature trees. It was then our job to unlock the property and provide FSU with the best golf course possible. My son Jack II and I have collaborated on a couple dozen golf courses, but he took the lead on the FSU design. I was certainly involved and offered many suggestions when appropriate or needed. In all, the entire Nicklaus Design team did a terrific job. More importantly, we hope the university, the FSU golf program, the alumni, and the Tallahassee community are proud of the end result,” said Jack Nicklaus.
The golf course is humble, true to its roots and eloquently represents Florida’s Panhandle with its subtle rolling hills. Some dirt was moved to shape the golf course, but not an exorbitant TPC Sawgrass amount. No magnolia lane, yet, but thousands of large oaks, pines, palms, magnolias and hickories frame the design. There’s knee-high, automatic lost ball fescue on the first and finishing holes – if the superintendent lets it grow throughout the golf course then scores can soar – especially from the super-tips at 7,800 yards. But it’s typical layout is a fair, ball strikers dream where players can see everything in front of them. There aren’t a lot of surprises or ridiculously intimidating tee shots – it’s a fun layout where good players can score well if the putter is hot because these greens don’t lie.
The Club’s chief purpose is to serve Florida State’s men’s and women’s golf teams, which are both consistently ranked top 10 in the country. And this golf course will also help recruit – it’s that good and its impact is just getting started.
We also spoke with John Pak at the same Korn Ferry Tour stop in Texas. Pak took every major college golf award in 2021 as a senior – the Haskins, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus Awards. He joined Norrman on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2022, but while Norrman graduated to the PGA Tour, Pak was demoted to PGA Tour Canada. It was a surprise to many – this is the same John Pak who made the cut in the 2020 U.S. Open while still a college student. But Pak reared up like Osceola on the back of Renegade and won the Elk Ridge Saskatchewan Open by four shots a few weeks ago. He looks to continue his warpath tomorrow at the Quebec Open, while Norrman is in Kentucky for the PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship. Both Pak and Norrman are on win alert this week – these guys are good.
“I bleed garnet and gold and I love Florida State, I think everyone knows that,” Pak told us in Texas.
For now, Pak and Norrman have passed on the typical pro golfer destinations in Ponte Vedre Beach, Orlando and Jupiter – both still play out of Tallahassee. And while the limited airport might be an eventual dealbreaker – Seminole Legacy is good enough to hang around for. Not to mention the four-ball matches Norrman and Pak have with their girlfriends Frida Kinhult and Beatrice Wallin – both won ACC Player of the Year Awards at FSU and have turned pro. Only if Florida State had this golf course before legends Kenny Knox, Hubert Green, Paul Azinger, Jeff Sluman, Jonas Blixt, Daniel Berger and Brooks Koepka came along – the Seminole golf program would be so much further along.
Daily fee play is limited, but there are several membership options, all are good values considering the course conditions. The Garnet Membership has a $3,000 initiation and dues are $335 – a golf course of this magnitude in a major market has an $80,000 initiation and $1,000 dues. There’s an even more affordable membership for out-of-towners, primarily boosters visiting for home football games.
For those fortunate to tee it up at Seminole Legacy and come across three Swedes with names on their bags and the sparkle of John Pak’s double diamond stud earrings – this is the Seminole Legacy effect. Players of this magnitude couldn’t wait to get out of town back in the day – not anymore.
For more information, visit: seminolelegacygolfclub.com.
Here is the conversation with John Pak where Editor Elvis Anderson couldn’t remember the common golf term, “yardage book”.
And the conversation with Vincent Norrman where he essentially said he’s going to cross-check fellow Swede Jonas Blixt when given the chance.