Mid Ocean Club is built on a long history of traditions providing an exclusive, yet welcoming home away from home for generations of Members. Our Club is family-oriented with an understated elegance found only at the world's most prestigious private clubs. MOC has been the site of many significant historical events and has hosted countless notable guests including world leaders, celebrities, and professional athletes.
Amidst the backdrop of prohibition, the Furness Withy Steamship Company turned to Charles Blair Macdonald to create a captivating golf course that would entice travellers to the island of Bermuda. Converting this vision into reality was no easy feat. The rugged terrain posed significant challenges. Yet, the team, guided by CBM's expertise in golf course architecture, persevered and our story began.
Legendary golf course architect Charles Blair Macdonald is credited with many achievements, Mid Ocean Club being one of his finest. Throughout his design process, Macdonald drew up detailed plans and models, often relying on topographical maps and trusted associate Seth Raynor, who carried out the practical work in Bermuda.
The first glimpse of what the Mid Ocean Golf Course had to offer came on March 3, 1923. On this day, an event that could be considered a semi-official opening took place. Although the grand opening was postponed until all aspects of the course and facilities were perfectly in order, a momentous luncheon was hosted, graced by the presence of His Excellency, the Governor. Bermuda was set to establish itself as a golfing haven.
With great anticipation, the doors to Mid Ocean swung open in 1924, setting a new standard for island golf courses everywhere. By this time, the course had been meticulously developed, the clubhouse had reached completion, and the landscape had been beautifully crafted. This grand inauguration was a testament to the collective effort of those who had envisioned and worked tirelessly to create a world-class golfing destination.
Whilst playing in Mid Ocean Golf Club's Annual Invitation Tournament, Babe Ruth let the 5th hole get the best of him. After hitting multiple shots into Mangrove Lake, he finished the hole with a score of 11. Wild embellishments of the events led to the allure of the Mid Ocean course and the legendary tale of Ruth's struggle spread far and wide, leading to the growth of golf across the island.
Britain's first "celebrity" golfer, Archie Compston, played an impressive professional career of golf, winning British match play championships through the 20s and 30s. He was also victorious in the Ryder Cup three times. Over the course of his career, Compston won matches against pro golfers like Walter Hagen and Gene Sarazen. In 1948, Archie moved to Bermuda to serve as Mid Ocean Club's resident professional. Compston's relentless pursuit of excellence, both as a player and as a coach left his mark permanently on our historic Club.
In the aftermath of the Second World War, the world economy had taken a downturn, prompting Furness Withy to reassess its investments. Mid Ocean Club began discussions to become Member-owned and 1951 marked the transition of the Mid Ocean Club into a Member's club, preserving its legacy and setting the stage for its continued presence as a renowned institution on Bermuda's landscape.
In 1953 leading golf designer Robert Trent Jones was invited to make suggestions for improving the course. Though his layouts and remodeling work had been dominated by big, bold statements, his touch at Mid Ocean was light, subtle, and restrained. Respecting the design of Macdonald, he reworked a number of tees and bunkers, enhancing the slightly ageing masterpiece - rather than indulging in invasive surgery.
MOC has its place in history as a prominent meeting venue for the world's most powerful leaders, but none more significant than the post WWII meeting in 1953 between United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and French Premier Joseph Laniel. It was a vivid tableau of diplomacy, camaraderie, and historic significance against the backdrop of Mid Ocean Club.
The year 1957 marked a pivotal moment in history as President Dwight Eisenhower of the United States returned to Mid Ocean Club for a significant diplomatic event. This gathering, known as the Eisenhower-Macmillan Conference, took place from March 20 to 24, 1957, and brought together President Eisenhower and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.
In December 1959, Mid Ocean Club set the stage for The World Championship Golf match between Sam Snead and Mason Rudolph. It became a talking point not just for its players' skills, but for controversy that was later discovered which compromised the integrity of the match. Snead intentionally lost rather than disqualify himself, due to having too many clubs in his bag, in order to protect the televised broadcast.
An episode of Shell's Wonderful World of Golf, airing on January 14, 1967, took viewers on a scenic journey through the island of Bermuda while showcasing a golfing clash between Tony Lema and Peter Alliss. On hole 18, the climactic moment arrived. Lema's potential victory hinged on a final putt. The ball rolled on the rim of the hole before deciding its fate – a draw. Both players achieved a score of 71, par for the Mid Ocean field.
The original Clubhouse exuded a captivating charm and unique characteristics, setting the stage for numerous historical and consequential discussions. However, half a century after its inauguration, its structural integrity faltered, leading to its eventual demolition in 1974. It was replaced by the Clubhouse that proudly stands today with rooms carrying the namesake of the iconic figures who graced the original clubhouse.
In 1978, Keith Pearman, a true trailblazer, graced the lush fairways of Mid Ocean Club, marking the inception of an extraordinary journey that would forever be etched into the tapestry of Bermuda's golfing history. Keith, born and raised in Bermuda, was more than just a Golf Professional; he embodied the essence of a gentle giant, a bridge builder, and a visionary who transformed the island's golf landscape.
Mid Ocean Club played host to the 1994-1996 Merrill Lynch Shootout bringing world-class professional golf to the island of Bermuda. The events showcased the gorgeous scenery and unrivalled views of the wide Atlantic Ocean while providing a challenging course to those competing. The allure extended beyond the course, as Bermuda embraced the opportunity to host these prestigious events.
In 1998, Mid Ocean Club played host to the $1.8 million Gillette Tour Challenge Championship. This event drew extra attention marked by the long-awaited return of John Daly. The tournament's unique format brought together players from the PGA, Senior PGA Tours, and LPGA, competing in a best-ball format. The winning team, composed of Jim Furyk, Lee Trevino, and Michelle McGann, shared a substantial $450,000 first-place prize.
Recognised as one of the most sought-after invitations in golf, the PGA Grand Slam of Golf offered a unique platform for golfers who had achieved the highest qualification requirement in the sport – a major championship victory. Held on the exquisite Mid Ocean Club course, the tournament was held here in both 2007 and 2008, with televised viewership reaching millions in the United States and across the globe.
Unveiled to Members in 2008, the Beach Pavilion was a deliberate endeavour to enhance the Club's offerings. Positioned with a view of Long Beach, and boasting a pool and oceanside dining, it enticed families seeking a laid-back contrast to the more formal Clubhouse. This pivotal addition currently serves as a scenic backdrop for weddings, club events, and cherished moments shared amongst friends and family.
From its inception to the present day, Mid Ocean Club has maintained its unwavering commitment to excellence. The Club is ranked 33rd on Golf Digest's prestigious list of the World's 100 Greatest Golf Courses outside of the US and sitting 78th on the Platinum Clubs of the World's Top 100 Golf & Country Clubs for 2022-2023. The legacy remains resolutely vibrant - dedicated to providing an exceptional golfing experience that transcends eras.
"To begin with, I doubt if there is an 18 hole golf course which will equal, certainly not surpass from a golfer's standpoint this Links in any semi-tropical climate.
The contours of the property are unsurpassed, delightful valleys 100 to 200 yards in width, winding through coral hills from 20 to 75 feet in height, along the line of play, well wooded with cedars, oleanders, bougainvillaeas, and hibiscus, lending the most fascinating colour scheme to the whole.
I am confident the course will stand in golfing circles as an achievement in a semi-tropical climate as great as the National Links of America has been in the temperate zone.
Again, I can assure my golfing friends, a more fascinating more picturesque course than Mid Ocean, when completed, will not be found in a pilgrimage around the world. There is nothing commonplace about it."
The Father of Golf Course Architecture