The Stately Clubhouse at Sedgefield Country Club stands as a reminder of its momentous history. The hallways feature photos of golf legends from Wyndham Championships long ago. The first Wyndham Championship was played back in 1938 at Sedgefield and Starmount across town. These two courses would share hosting duties until 1960, when Sam Snead offended Starmount’s owner and was banned from the property. Sedgefield hosted the annual event from 1960 until 1976, and the tournament returned home from Forest Oaks to Sedgefield in 2008, where it continues to thrive.
This return to Sedgefield has conjured both the history and memories from some of the games’ best. World Golf Hall of Fame member Curtis Strange recalls coming to the tournament in the early ‘70s while playing at Wake Forest.
“We would come over at least one day and set up on the 16th tee [current- ly No. 7] and sit right behind the tee so we could get a look at all the players’ alignment and watch their swings,” recalls Strange. “Of course, we drank a few beers too, but it was incredible.” Strange goes on to say that one of the most valuable lessons he learned back then came from standing on that tee at Sedgefield. “It became pretty obvious that none of the players aimed right of the target. That was an eye opener. And they are hitting these long irons or fairway woods and they are all aimed to the left.”
Strange played the tournament at Sedgefield once or twice, but his career spanned the Forest Oaks era. “I don’t really remember much about playing in the tournament at Sedge- field other than loving the golf course, a great old course. But I remember going as a college player and soaking it all in. Back then, Sam Snead was still playing, so you had to go watch him play a few holes. And of course, Arnold came to town.”
The landscape of professional golf has changed dramatically since that golden era, but the classic courses, like Sedgefield, remain in high regard. They are favorites among today’s best, just as they were decades ago. Since the Wyndham returned to Sedgefield in 2008, four of the ten winners are major champions, including the defending champion Henrik Stenson.
Stenson’s name is just the latest to be added to the wall of champions that stands at the foot of the clubhouse behind the ninth green. It is fitting that the first name on the list is eight-time champion Sam Snead, whose love affair with Greensboro started at the inaugural event in 1938. Next summer, the Wyndham Championship will enter its eighth decade with one of the richest histories on the PGA TOUR. Thanks to Wyndham and Sedgefield, the future of the annual stop is secured — but it’s the rich history that sets the tournament apart.