This article was first published in January 2018.
Real estate, golf courses and Florida sunshine have long gone together, but not always happily. It is to a golf complex in Florida (the wonderfully-named Valhalla Village) that novelist John Updike, with his keen eye for the underlying dynamics of American society, as well as for its surface details, sends his fictional protagonist, the former high school basketball star ‘Rabbit’ Angstrom, to die. In 2009, a non-fictional Florida golf complex impacted briefly on the global public’s consciousness when, at Seminole Landing (named after the Native Americans from whom the original real estate was liberated), Tiger Woods met his marital Waterloo, being chased down his ultra-exclusive driveway by his enraged, golf-club-wielding wife.
It would be an understatement to dub adjacent Seminole Golf Club ‘exclusive’. To appreciate its precise degree of exclusivity, consider the fact that Seminole turned Jack Nicklaus down for membership in the late 60s. An indication that, even in this particular milieu, society was changing – albeit at a glacial pace – is the fact that the club’s decision to blackball a Midwestern boy who happened to be the world’s greatest golfer caused at least one committee member to resign (from the committee, that is, not the club; it would have been too much to expect a full member of Seminole to cut his mooring-rope completely, and – as it were – leave himself adrift in the Florida swamplands).