His friends from Jax Beach called him “Poogie” an endearing name from his childhood and high school days at Fletcher. Around the world he was know as Ed or Mr. Seay and as Arnold Palmer’s golf course design partner. Today, Ed Seay died after a long illness at his home here in town. He was 69 years old.
Ed joined with Arnold in 1971 and formed the Palmer Course Design Company in 1972. He has been involved in the design of over 300 golf courses all over the world. From Japan, China, Russia, Europe, Ireland, his ideas have been involved with some of the world’s most famous courses, including the K Club, which recently hosted the Ryder Cup and Tralee, Old Tabby Links in South Carolina and Aviara in California.
After I had a chance to play Old Tabby Links a while back, I mentioned to Ed that I had been there and that it was fabulous. “Why didn’t you call me?” was his typical response, looking for a way to make my day there even more enjoyable. “Nice work there Ed,” I said. “You liked it? Oh, yeah, that’s pretty good there,” he finished, obviously happy with his work there.
Ed sent me to a course called “The Oasis” about an hour outside of Las Vegas a few years back. “They’re not running the place right,” he lamented. “But you won’t see a more spectacular place.” And of course he was right. I drove to the middle of nowhere to get to “The Oasis” but the memories of that day still linger.
Locally, Ed crafted Sawgrass Country Club, the Plantation and Marsh Landing in Ponte Vedra. Ed served as a Past President of the American Society of Golf Course architects and was honored with their lifetime achievement award two years ago. He also was a member of the American Society of Landscape architects.
Although Palmer resides in Orlando and Pennsylvania, his design company was, until about 1 year ago, always here in town, on Ponte Vedra Blvd across the street from the Lodge.
Having spent hours and hours both personally and professionally with Ed, I can tell you he was gracious, generous, sometimes hilariously profane and loyal to a fault. Ed was dedicated to his family, friends, Arnold, whom he always called “Boss,” the Florida Gators and the United States Marine Corps. He was an expert at liar’s poker. His holiday parties are the stuff of legend.
To say the least, Ed cut a large swath wherever he went, and he made sure you were part of the “inside” crowd. His office in Ponte Vedra was like a museum, but it was also a comfortable and welcoming place to just spend a few hours in conversation, or should I say listening to Ed. There might have even been a cocktail or two shared there among friends.
I could go on and on, and I’m sure outlets like the Golf Channel will have long retrospectives on Ed’s life and career. But I’ll echo the words of Erik Larsen, the Exec. VP of PCD who said, “He’s one of the greatest people I’ve ever known.”
Ed is survived by his wife Lynn, his son Mason and Daughter Tracy and two grandchildren. The funeral is Saturday at 10AM at Christ church in Ponte Vedra with a reception following at PVIC.