GETTING THERE

British Airways (www.britishairways.co.uk) flies daily to Bermuda from London Gatwick. Prestige Holidays (www.prestigeholidays.co.uk) offers tailored package golfing breaks.

WHERE TO PLAY

The beauty of playing golf in Bermuda may not always be reflected on the scorecard. With such stunning views at almost every turn, it is often hard to concentrate on the game. The island chain boasts an endless string of pink sand beaches and white-roofed cottages, surrounded by emerald reefs teaming with tropical fish.

The island?s natural beauty inspired Mark Twain to tell his friends: ?You die and go to heaven; I?ll stay here in Bermuda.?

Of the eight courses dotted across this mid-Atlantic speck on the map, not one can be considered dull. Most are comparatively short by today?s championship standards, but with fierce prevailing winds, golfing in Bermuda can be a challenging experience.

In fair weather conditions, the resort courses can be quite benign, providing a rewarding boost for high handicapper holidaymakers. Visitors can also work on their short games at a number of par-3 layouts in picturesque locations. Views from hilltop greens and elevated tees can be quite spectacular.

However, driving from the first tee towards the cliff tops at the prestigious Mid Ocean Club into near hurricane-force winds was an exhilarating, if somewhat humbling, experience. Around half of the holes on this course are played along the cliff tops and ocean shoreline.

Undoubtedly the jewel in Bermuda?s golfing crown, Mid Ocean was designed in 1921 by course architect Charles Blair Macdonald and modified by Robert Trent Jones in the 1950s. Playing 6,500 yards from the back tees, the par-71 layout includes six par 4s exceeding 400 yards and a 238-yard par 3.

Tee times are at a premium at Mid Ocean as visitors (who must be introduced by a member or hotel concierge) are only allowed to play on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays.

Mid Ocean?s course guide proudly boasts that its visitors have included Presidents Eisenhower and George Bush Senior, Sir Winston Churchill and the Duke of Windsor.

Visitors will struggle to find a flat lie at Tucker?s Point, re-opened in 2002 after extensive reworking by Roger Rulewich, who was a senior designer for Robert Trent Jones.

Previously known as the Castle Harbour course, Tucker?s Point has been dubbed the ?billy goat? course because it plays over such steep terrain. An errant shot can have you clambering up steep banks and hillsides.

As the anchor for Bermuda?s newest resort complex of luxury holiday homes and a projected five-star hotel, Tucker?s Point is maintained in exceptional condition with re-built Bermudagrass greens that can be lightning fast.

Bermuda?s sub-tropical climate is notoriously fickle, with sea breezes apparently changing direction on a whim. Nothing can be taken for granted.

The clifftop 16th green at Port Royal, a 1970s Trent Jones design, is said to be one of the most photographed golf holes in the world.

WHERE TO STAY

Cambridge Beaches is a luxury cottage colony resort with private beaches and spa. In addition to the main resort hotels, accommodation is also available in historical Bermuda homes on a bed and breakfast basis. Colourful cottages, suites and apartments can also be rented on a self-catering basis.

OFF COURSE

Go snorkeling, deep sea fishing, boating or just chill out on one of many deserted pink sand beaches. There are dramatic crystal caves to visit, plenty of tourist shops and fun ferry rides around the island. Dozens of fine restaurants are available in the capital, Hamilton, and across the island. Some of the best tables can be booked through Dining Bermuda at www.diningbermuda.com

CONTACTS BOOK

Mid Ocean

www.themidoceanclubbermuda.com

Tucker?s Point

www.tuckerspoint.com

Riddell?s Bay

www.riddellsbay.com

St George?s

www.stgeorgesgolf.bm

Fairmont Southampton

www.fairmont.com/southampton

Belmont Hills

www.belmonthills.com

Ocean View

www.oceanview.bm

Other Information

Bermuda Golf Association

www.bermudagolf.org

Bermuda Tourism

www.bermudatourism.com

Prestige Holidays

www.prestigeholidays.co.uk

Cambridge Beaches

www.cambridgebeaches.com