Our guide to the seven stunning golf courses in The Bahamas
Golf In The Bahamas
Discover The Bahamas – an idyllic archipelago rich in natural beauty and world-class golf ￼courses, stunning locations and an idyllic tropical climate allowing year-round play make golfing in The Bahamas an unbeatable combination.
Related: 12 things to do in The Bahamas
Each of the seven courses, where lush emerald fairways are never far from the clear blue seas and soft sand beaches, are a delightful challenge.
Baha Mar was unveiled in April 2017 following a multi-billion-dollar development; an investment that has gifted The Bahamas with another world-class holiday destination and golf course.
Its location, along the pristine Cable Beach in Nassau, gave designer Jack Nicklaus a dramatic landscape with which to work – and the ‘Golden Bear’ took full advantage to deliver golfers Royal Blue Golf Club.
This is Nicklaus’ only course in The Bahamas and its design is such that each nine poses a different, yet equally enthralling, test.
Going out, players are treated to dramatic views of the undulating fairways, rolling white sand dunes and brackish ponds, while the occasional glimpse of the turquoise Atlantic serves as a reminder – if one is needed – of the spectacular setting.
Into the back nine, players are required to negotiate limestone ‘moonscapes’ through dense jungle down to one of the many standout holes at 16.
Nicklaus, who likes to test a player’s nerve with water features, has certainly succeeded with this island hole, which borders Lake Cunningham.
Even so, this perfectly manicured course can be enjoyed by golfers of all levels – just like everyone will delight in the luxurious resort as a whole, which includes multiple restaurants, a flagship ESPA spa and a casino. Grand Hyatt, SLS and Rosewood are the three hotels at Baha Mar.
The Ocean Club
Just off the northern coastline of New Providence, another spectacular layout awaits.
Paradise Island – the name alone will get the juices flowing – is a place synonymous with Bahamian luxury for families, honeymooners, high-stake gamblers and, courtesy of designer Tom Weiskopf, golf.
The Ocean Club, a Four Seasons Resort, offers an experience like no other. The 18-hole, par-72 championship course stretches out over 7,100 yards, with its location on the peninsula providing a natural defence.
Crosswinds are a constant challenge and demand creative thinking and sound ball-striking; qualities required by the world’s best female golfers when, in January, The Ocean Club hosts the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic.
With views of the Atlantic Ocean and Nassau Harbour at every turn, there is no shortage of standout holes and opportunities to capture a memorable photograph.
The par-4 16th is visually intimidating enough with water down the right, even more so when weighing up the approach to a green protected by water on three sides.
It’s a stern test, but it matters not; an escape to this breathtaking part of the Caribbean, to a course that its world-renowned designer considers one of his best, will leave you feeling a million miles from home – in paradise you might say.
New Providence is also home to the exclusive Albany Resort, a course where Tiger Woods made his much-anticipated comeback from injury in the PGA Tour’s Hero World Challenge.
Woods himself was one of the high-profile investors involved in bringing the course to fruition, alongside Tavistock Group and fellow multiple Major winner, Ernie Els.
The ‘Big Easy’ has added a touch of magic to this links-style layout that blends in effortlessly with the natural surroundings.
His signature is evident with five par 5s and five par 3s. The windswept dunes, some of which reach 30 feet in height, are a dramatic feature, similar to those at Royal Birkdale and Els Club Dubai.
It’s a stern test off the tips, some 7,400 yards, but one Rickie Fowler passed emphatically with his course-record 61 en route to winning the Hero World Challenge.
However, the five teeing areas make it playable for golfers of all standards.
It’s little wonder Albany is a popular spot for the world’s best golfers.
Even for those who have travelled the globe several times over, it’s hard to beat this oceanside, luxury resort – it’s first-class in every department.
Grand Bahama Island serves as an alluring backdrop and makes Grand Lucayan a glorious setting in which to play golf.
Its Reef Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr, is a links-style test, only it features more water than your typical British layout, with 13 of the 18 holes protected by hazards – the positive being they are easy on the eye.
Its popularity, in terms of the design and scoring opportunities, owes much to the wide and forgiving fairways and flattish greens, but it bites back with challenging bunkers, making a sound short game a must in order to score well.
Sandals Emerald Bay
The chain of The Exumas comprises 365 islands and cays scattered across the central Bahamas.
One of those is Great Exuma, home to a Greg Norman course that will live long in the memory for any golfer who has been lucky enough to set foot on this wonderful piece of land, and a place which has long been a getaway for the rich and famous.
Sandals Emerald Bay is certainly one for the ‘must play’ list, and not only because it features some of the most scenic oceanside holes in the Caribbean.
The layout is a challenging one, both in terms of its length and its many dunes that stretch along the stunning peninsula.
The variation that golfers crave is evident with two contrasting nines: the outward winding its way through dunes and mangroves, the inward playing along the rocky peninsula of Emerald Bay, creating a tropical links experience like no other.
The holes that hug the shoreline are especially memorable, although Norman’s quest to create “18 signature holes” tells you everything about this spectacular layout.
The Abaco Club
Such is the quality of golf in The Bahamas, it’s no easy task identifying the ‘best in class’.
However, The Abaco Club on Winding Bay, designed by Donald Steel and Tom McKenzie, is regarded by many as its finest.
This tropical treat lacks for nothing, with its links design a big tick for the purists and its world-class practice facilities a major plus for a number of well-known professionals who own a property here.
To score well you’ll need to be on form with your driver, as there are a number of intimidating tee shots.
After a ‘gentle’ par-5 opener follows a pair of strong par 4s.
The first of the par 3s at the 4th demands you find the right level of the green to set up par or better.
With its ocean view, it rivals the 17th for the most picturesque ‘short’ hole on the course.
The latter features the Atlantic to the right and two nasty bunkers guarding the green.
If the first hole is considered straightforward, the par 5 to finish is anything but, with much of the danger hidden from the tee.
‘Exclusive’ it may be, but guests are welcome to rent a house and play.
Plus, there’s lots more on offer besides the golf course – such as the area’s world-famous saltwater flats fishing.
Treasure Cay Beach, Marina and Golf Resort
The Abacos are home to Treasure Cay Beach, Marina & Golf Resort – one of the greatest places on earth to “do nothing”.
However, you’ll want to sample the golf course, designed by the late American architect Dick Wilson.
A number of multi-million-dollar investments and new championship layouts may have grabbed the limelight in recent years, but Treasure Cay is a real gem, featuring elevated greens and beautifully framed fairways.
The outward nine – which runs parallel to the ocean – is regarded as the easier half as it’s generally more forgiving. The fairways tighten up on the back nine and a couple of devilish water hazards come into play.