If you’re seeking glorious golf and guaranteed sunshine, The Bahamas – located just to the south-east of Miami – is worthy of some serious consideration...
Golf In The Bahamas – Paradise Islands
The Bahamas is home to a number of spectacular golf courses that promise to provide an unforgettable experience for anyone fortunate enough to walk their fairways.
It’s not surprising, really, given this archipelago, which comprises 700 islands, is an ecological oasis, boasting the kind of blue seas and ocean views that take your breath away.
If the Hero World Challenge at Albany caught your attention, then perhaps it’s time you found out a little more about what The Bahamas has to offer.
Tiger Woods and co. could have teed it up at any number of spectacular courses on the Grand Bahama Island – often referred to as ‘heaven on earth’.
There’s now a further reason to visit, too, thanks to a certain Jack Nicklaus.
Royal Blue Golf Club at Baha Mar is the newest addition, with Nicklaus’ championship layout opening for play last year.
Baha Mar itself is a multi-billion dollar integrated resort development along the pristine beaches of New Providence.
Besides Royal Blue Golf Club, which features a unique ‘two courses in one’ design, guests can expect a luxurious stay at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, as well as fine dining at a number of superb restaurants throughout the complex, such as Conch Shack, which specialises in local flavours.
This is the Golden Bear’s first venture in the Bahamas, and it doesn’t disappoint.
The front nine features dramatic views of rolling white sand dunes, undulating fairways and the Atlantic Ocean, before a significant change on the back nine sees golfers face dense jungle and steep downhill terrain.
You’ll have been wowed long before arriving at the island green on the 16th, which borders Lake Cunningham.
Off the tips, it’s a brute at 7,189 yards, but the beauty of this glorious layout is that it varies from day to day, with any one hole changing by as much as 100 yards.
It won’t ever be a case of a good walk spoiled here, as the natural landscape has been incorporated into the course’s design. Indeed, the area is home to over 70 indigenous bird species.
Nicklaus may just end up beating you, but you won’t mind a jot as you sit back and relax with a cool something at the magnificent Royal Blue Clubhouse, although a drink at the nearby water tower, known as Cable Beach Reservoir, will take some beating. Regardless of how you’ve played, you’ll feel like a winner, and if you don’t, go and try your luck at the Baha Mar Casino, the largest casino in the Caribbean.
Baha Mar will leave you wanting more – and you’re in luck.
Paradise Island lies just off the northern coastline of New Providence, and as the name would suggest, this ribbon of white sand and azure sea is stunning.
It’s home to another world- class luxury resort, the highlight of which – for golfers at least – is the Ocean Club, now a Four Seasons Resort.
Designed by Tom Weiskopf, the course offers a stern challenge, not least because of its crosswinds.
They can prove a distraction, as can the wonderful views of the Atlantic and the Nassau Harbour, where one or two luxurious yachts are bound to catch the eye.
Lakes, sweeping sand traps and groups of palm trees are a constant danger, but the fairways are generally large enough to allow you to open up your shoulders with the driver, which makes for an enjoyable test.
Some courses have the power to attract guests on their name alone – Abaco Club on Winding Bay is one of those.
Besides its alluring name, the course here is regarded by many as the finest in The Bahamas.
The links-style layout, designed by Donald Steel and Tom Mackenzie, enjoys a tranquil seaside setting, but unlike a number of other courses on the island, there’s a ruggedness here more akin to what British golfers experience at home, even if it is of a tropical kind.
Every hole is dramatic and your favourite is likely to change all the way, until another spectacular offering at the last – a par 5 that might just be the best closing hole in the Caribbean.
The world-class golf keeps on coming, with another legend of the game leaving his mark on these beautiful islands.
Sandals Emerald Bay
Greg Norman is responsible for Sandals Emerald Bay Golf Course, a stunning layout that winds its way through seaside dunes along a beautiful peninsula.
The holes that hug the coastline are truly breathtaking, but such dramatic scenery comes at a price for golfers.
When the wind blows, good scoring on this long course becomes more than a little difficult.
There are a number of other fantastic courses worth playing here, too. If you’ve had just one round in The Bahamas you’ve done well, but you could enjoy golf and far more besides for many a year.
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