Comfort of home, challenges of Seminole Legacy course for FSU golf

The discussion began with a simple question — “What can we do to help the Florida State golf program?” — and evolved into a $10 million redesign by Jack and Jackie Nicklaus. The Seminole Legacy Course will now host its first prestigious event with a three-day NCAA Regional on Monday.

Men’s golf coach Trey Jones recalled a conversation with president John Thrasher and Board of Trustees chairman Ed Burr, one in which Jones shared his vision. Now the reality is a beautiful new course, which officially opened last fall and is among the best in college golf.

“It started a long time ago,” Jones said. “With help from a lot of great donors at the university, it’s been a collective labor of love for a lot of people. We’re really proud of it.”

FSU’s golfers are proud of the course and they should be proud of how they’ve played, too. John Pak enters the NCAA Regional as the top golfer in the nation and FSU is the No. 2 team in the nation behind Oklahoma. Pak, grad transfer Vincent Norrman and freshman Brett Roberts will take on the challenging course and a loaded 14-team field, which also includes the likes of Georgia, Liberty, LSU and Georgia Tech as the four top seeds after No. 1 FSU. Florida A&M is also in the field as the No. 13 seed.

“We have an awesome team this year,” Pak said. “To have regionals at our home course. It’s a really special feeling. I’m really excited because I always tell all my friends on other teams, ‘We play on a beast. It’s 7,800 yards.’ We don’t always play from that far. But it’s nice to finally get to have some teams see.”

The course will be set up a little shorter, at 7,505 yards for what will be three days of stroke play (18 holes per day). All of the golfers will play a practice round on Sunday, and FSU will tee off at 8:30 a.m. on Monday. Admission is free for fans, who will be able to follow the leaders on scoreboards on the course. Fans at home or work can also follow on Golfstat.com.

A finalist for the Ben Hogan Award and the ACC’s golfer of the year, Pak has eight tournament victories in his FSU career and owns a 69.83 stroke average in eight tournaments in 2021. Norrman (70.96) and Roberts (71.71) are just behind.

Among the top visiting golfers are Georgia’s Davis Thompson (70.62) and Liberty’s Kieran Vincent (70.75).

When asked how the course will challenge them, Pak and Norrman smiled and described some of the intricacies but both mentioned the need to be good with long irons.

“You don’t get a lot of opportunities to hit some of the shorter clubs,” Pak said. “So for someone like me that doesn’t hit it quite that far, you got a lot of long irons. So you got to be exceptional in that part of the game. Just keep it below the hole and the greens get a little away from you. And when they’re fast and firm you just got to make sure you hit it in the right spots.”

Said Norrman: “I think the challenge with this course is it’s so long. Just a lot of a lot of long irons into greens. When the greens get a little firm, the ball tends to just run away from you. You’ll have some tough up and downs for sure.”