Our Story Begins
In 1919, a pivotal year marked by the passing of the 18th amendment in the United States and the onset of prohibition, a unique collaboration unfolded that would shape the landscape of golf and tourism. With the ban on alcohol sparking significant changes, including the abolishment of the "19th hole" culture in golf, an unexpected opportunity arose.
Amidst this backdrop, the Furness Withy Steamship Company set its sights on Bermuda as a burgeoning tourist destination. Seeking to elevate the island's allure, they turned to Charles Blair Macdonald (CBM), a renowned golf architect (a phrase he invented) hailed as the "Father of American Golf." The company's goal was clear: the creation of a captivating golf course that would entice travelers.
Joined by key figures from Furness Withy, including principals of the steamship company, CBM embarked on a voyage to Bermuda aboard the Moorish Prince, a ship diverted for this ambitious endeavor. Notably, architect Charles Wetmore was part of this journey, hinting at the multifaceted nature of the project, which also contemplated the construction of a hotel.
However, converting this vision into reality was no easy feat. The rugged terrain, characterized by limited soil covering coral rock and the necessity to avoid steep gradients, posed significant challenges. Yet, the team, guided by CBM's expertise in golf course architecture, persevered. CBM's well known theory as a golf architect was to create "template holes" based on the best designs of Great Britain and Europe. These "ideal holes," as he called them, were not copies of the originals; they were adapted to suit each site's unique characteristics.
In the fall of 1919, Seth Raynor, a long-time collaborator of CBM, set foot in Bermuda to commence work on the course. Raynor's arrival marked the early stages of the project, which would see him make around 10 trips to Bermuda over the following five years, often accompanied by his wife Araminta.
Building on their successful partnership, together they drew several possible routings from relief maps of the area, finally settling on one that showed great restraint by not forcing scenic cliff-top holes at the expense of good golf, instead skillfully routing Mid Ocean to take full advantage -first and foremost- of the natural contours of the site.
CBM's innovative spirit came to life at Mid Ocean Club through the incorporation of Redan-style greens, ingeniously adapted for both par-3 and par-4 holes. These unique designs, including the iconic 5th hole known as the Cape, merged tradition and innovation to captivate and challenge golfers.