Seascape Golf Links -- A Masters Champion's One-And-Done Legacy on the Outer Banks

By Mike Tanner, Photos By Dale Banks


KITTY HAWK, NC -- How many of you have ever heard of Art Wall? Unless you're a relative, eligible for the Champions Tour or the historian at Augusta National Golf Club, you probably didn't know that Art Wall won the Masters Tournament in 1959.


On that long ago Sunday afternoon in April, Wall birdied five of the last six holes and shot a final round 66, passing 12 other competitors to win by a single stroke. From 1958 to 1966, he was the only player not named Arnold Palmer, Gary Player or Jack Nicklaus to don the traditional green jacket. Although he won 14 PGA Tour events, the 1959 Masters was Wall's only major title.


You can bail out right, but don't be long or short on Seascape's par three 4th hole.

And Seascape Golf Links on North Carolina's Outer Banks, is the only 18-hole golf course that Art Wall ever designed.


That's according to Seascape's Director of Golf Bryan Sullivan, who added, "He flew over the property and walked it a couple of times." Those sketchy details are all he could pass along about the man who routed this links-flavored course that meanders through windswept sand dunes and maritime forest in Kitty Hawk.


Sullivan went on to explain the course's appeal to the players, mostly vacationers visiting the Outer Banks during the summer season, who tee it up just one block removed from the beach.


"Seascape is a classic design with a great Scottish feel because so much of it is cut out of rolling sand dunes. You can play bump and run shots to a lot of the greens and the wind is always a factor."


Ahh, yes. The famous Outer Banks wind. No matter which direction the wind is blowing, it will be at your back and in your face during your round. That's because, like the other courses on this very narrow strip of coastal land, the course is laid out in the shape of a figure eight -- clockwise on the outward nine and counterclockwise on the inward half.


Seascape starts with a bang. The first two holes are the number-one and number-three handicap holes. The opener is a straightaway par-5 that requires a drive over a sandy expanse dotted with ball-gobbling mounds of grass. The following hole, a long straight par-4, features a green set slightly below the level of the fairway.


While neither of these holes is a spectacular beauty, they do establish a theme for the rest of your round. Stay on the short grass.


The green on the par four 2nd hole plays slightly downhill.

The rough is a nightmare. Full of sand, thick tufts of long grass, wind-whipped shrubs, burrs and thorny vines, it's hostile territory for any golfer searching for a misdirected ball. After the first hole, these gnarly areas are usually off to the side, and when they do intrude into the line of play, it's usually on a par-3.


If you do mishit a shot from the fairway, you can't blame Seascape's Bermudagrass turf. Golf balls sit up nicely on the plush carpet of grass, and the sandy soil underneath it drains water quickly after it rains. The front nine features three par-3s, three par-4s and three par-5s. Although the land available to Wall probably dictated the unusual configuration, it's fun to speculate that the extra three-shotter pays homage to his career total of 45 aces.


Among the par-5s on the outward half of the course, the fifth hole is the most interesting. The boomerang-shaped fairway doglegs to the left off the side of an immense sand ridge. The hole, named Roon the Ben (each hole has its own moniker), measures just 460 yards from the back tee and it offers multiple avenues of attack.


Bold players can attempt to cut the dogleg over a large bunker and a swath of un-maintained rough that runs up the left side of the fairway from the landing area to the green. The safer play is to draw your tee shot off the slope and let it release down the fairway. Regardless of your route, it's all uphill for your approach shot to a flat oval green.

Distance control is essential to the shallow green on the par three 7th hole.


Another hole that calls for a right to left tee shot, the par-4 eighth is a memorable drive and pitch hole. It lives up to the name Spectacles, because the twin bunkers protecting the front of the green resemble the cat-eye frames favored by 1950s era glamourpusses.


Seascape's inward nine features several holes set in a maritime forest, as well as holes laid out among the sand dunes. The first three holes include both of the back nine's par-5s, sandwiched around a backbreaking par-4.


The eleventh is the course's number-two handicap hole. Playing 400 yards from the back tees, "Plateau" accurately describes the major attribute of this challenging par-4. Sullivan believes it is the most difficult for the average golfer.


Downhill approach from the corner of the dogleg on the par four 6th hole.

"It's long, and the fairway has a lot of roll to it. Plus, the hole plays uphill to an elevated green."


Sullivan isn't exaggerating. Even a perfectly struck drive that lands in the middle of the fairway leaves you with a semi-blind shot to the hilltop green. Longer than it is wide, the putting surface is receptive to long approach shots, if you clear the two bunkers flanking the green's entrance.


The thirteenth hole, Wee Nip, introduces the maritime forest section of Seascape. The 132-yard, par-3 plays slightly downhill to a small round green cradled in a tranquil leafy glade.


The fifteenth hole, a 416-yard, par-4 can be the most daunting for low handicappers. Sullivan explained, "You have to hit a perfect tee shot, and even then you can have a long iron approach to the green."

The green of the par three 13th is nestled in a cozy glade.


It's not easy for those who aren't hitting from the back tees. The tee shot plays uphill to a fairway that turns a little from left to right. You want to get to the landing area to see the green, which is terraced into the side of a sand dune. No bunkers guard the green, but they aren't necessary because the tenacious rough extends along the fairway all the way to the right side of the putting surface and there's a significant dropoff on the left side.


Water makes an appearance on the next two holes. A pond that wraps around the front, right and rear protects the green of the par-4 sixteenth hole. The seventeenth, a 195-yard, par-3, features water from tee to green on the right. There is bailout room to the left of the putting surface, so you don't have to risk your ball in a glory-or-disaster attempt here.


The concluding hole at Seascape is a little underwhelming. Just 351 yards from the tips, this par-4 doesn't offer many options. You have to hit a straight or slightly drawn tee shot to the landing area. The fairway doglegs left almost 90 degrees, leaving you with a pitch or short iron approach to a slightly elevated green protected front, left and right by one of those wild areas of sand and grass. It's almost as if Wall ran out of real estate and said, "That's all, folks."


Short or right is no good at the par three 17th hole.

Weak finishing hole aside, there's a lot to recommend Seascape Golf Links. The course does have a decided links feel to it on the front nine, with some maritime forest spicing up the back nine.  You will use every club in your bag, and you will have to "gowf yer ball" as the Scots say. Seascape may be the one and only course that Art Wall designed, but you'll want to play it more than one time.


Seascape Golf Links is a member of the Outer Banks Golf Association. Golf packages with overnight accommodations can be arranged by calling 800-916-6244. Information is available at


Seascape Golf Links
300 Eckner Street
Kitty Hawk, NC 27949

Phone: (252) 261-2158


Course Architect: Art Wall
Director of Golf: Bryan Sullivan
Head Golf Professional: Chris Busbee
Superintendent: Robin Owens

Tees Yardage/Slope Rating
Black 6469/124 71.4
Gold 6115/119 69.8
Red 5562/117 70.9


Rates vary according to season, ranging from $45 in winter to $95 in the summer season, which runs from June 30th to August 17th. Twilight and reduced replay rates are also available. All rates include golf cart and green fee, and are subject to change without notice. Consult the website for more information.

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