Impress golfing clients with a repertoire of Caribbean courses that will test their proficiency. Andrew Doherty rounds up five of the region’s most demanding options.
Boasting more than 116 courses, the Caribbean can rightly be called a golfer’s paradise. If your clients are golfing fans, you’ll need a list of top-notch suggestions and reasons why these courses will put them through their paces. We round up five of the region’s most challenging options that will test even the most seasoned players.
Taking its name from the razor-sharp rocks that resemble snapping jaws lining its seven oceanfront holes, Teeth of the Dog has been regarded as one of the Caribbean’s best and most challenging golf offerings for the best part of 40 years, says Robert Birtel, director of golf at Casa de Campo.
“It’s the only course in the world to have seven holes directly on the ocean right at sea level. The challenge is all about dealing with the winds from the sea. It demands focus and precision when playing.”
Masterminded by veteran course designer Pete Dye, the par-72 greens are also open to non-hotel guests with tee fees varying throughout the year. A full 18-hole game is priced from $195 for Casa de Campo guests and $295 for non-residents.
Book it: Hayes & Jarvis offers a seven-night all-inclusive stay at Casa de Campo Resort & Villas from £1,699pp in a Pete Dye Golf Lodge room with complimentary use of a golf cart. Travel based on November 14, 2017 departures.
The par-72 Barbados Golf Club, designed by golf architect Ron Kirby, has 18 holes offering an experience that is both tough and visually striking. Roddy Carr, director at the Barbados Golf Club, says the course is particularly challenging as the terrain is hard and undulating.
He says: “The strategy is pure links, making it just as difficult to hit a green downwind with a wedge as it is to hit a five iron into the breeze – the ball will keep rolling either way. The 15th hole is defended by a huge bearded fig tree that towers up from the coral waste bunker in front of the green and the 16th hole is a beautiful par-three over a lake to a narrow green with no margin for error.”
Green fees for a full game start from $105 with a $15 deposit required, while a twilight game costs $55 with an $8 deposit. Inform clients they must bring a bag with at least six clubs to be admitted.
Book it: Gold Medal has seven nights at Sandy Lane from £4,675pp with flights based on travel between July 15 and 22, 2018.
Set on the white sand shoreline of Great Exuma’s Emerald Bay, Sandals Emerald Reef Golf Club is an 18-hole, par-72 championship course that will test your clients’ skills no matter how many times they visit, asserts Jeremy Mutton, general manager at Sandals Emerald Bay.
“Ever-changing sea views and prevailing trade winds promise new challenges with each game. The course features numerous bunkers that are strategically situated around the greens and the dramatic fairways that snake through seaside dunes,” he says.
Designed by golfer Greg Norman, the course’s first nine holes (the “front nine”) offer players the challenge of marshes, lakes and rock outcrops, while the later holes (“back nine”) run along Emerald Bay’s craggy peninsula.
Green fees for Sandals guests start from $175 per round and $125 for a twilight game. Clients staying in butler service suites have the unlimited golf package included in their stay.
Book it: Sandals has seven nights’ all-inclusive at Sandals Emerald Bay from £2,254pp with British Airways flights and transfers included. Package is based on departures between September 25 and October 1, 2017.
The 15th hole will throw up testing challenges for golfers on this par-71 Four Seasons Robert Trent II course. The tricky signature hole involves a deep ravine that players must clear to reach the fairway.
Mac Kee France, director of guest experiences at Four Seasons Nevis, says: “Playing this course from the back tees [there are four tee locations at each hole] makes it particularly challenging. There are a lot of elevation changes which, when combined with distracting ocean and mountain views, make for a much more challenging shot. There are also the vervet monkeys in the afternoon to make things even more interesting.”
The resort also offers complimentary golf clinics twice a week for guests who want to improve their skills in chipping, bunker strategies and putting.
The full 18 holes costs $230 and for juniors aged 7-15, a round is half price. The course is also open to non-hotel guests.
Book it: Caribtours offers seven nights at the Four Seasons Nevis from £2,045pp, with flights, transfers and Gatwick lounge access included.
With its second phase of renovations due for completion at the end of October 2017, The Tryall Club in Jamaica’s Montego Bay will see the front nine greens rebuilt to modernstandards and fitted with sustainable surfaces, while its bunkers will receive a facelift.
The back nine holes will remain open and clients can enjoy the full 18-hole experience by playing them twice. Designed by Ralph Plummer in 1961, the par-71 course has more than earned its credentials as a challenging golf offering, explains David Barber, director of sales, marketing and communications at The Tryall Club. He highlights the testing fourth hole, set where the Flint river joins the Caribbean Sea.
“It is a 175-yard par-three shot, which must clear the mouth of the Flint river and avoid the sea to the left.”
Throughout its history The Tryall Club has hosted several high-profile tournaments too, including the LGPA Jamaica Classic and the Johnnie Walker World Championship from 1991-95. Tee fees are priced from $115 for non-residents.
Book it: Kuoni offers a seven-night all-inclusive stay at Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay in a Junior Suite Garden View room with Virgin Atlantic Gatwick flights from £1,558pp. Travel is based on a September 19, 2017 departure.
Ailyn Fernandez, sales manager at Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort, says it’s not just the ease of access and picturesque surroundings of this course that makes for a perfect game.
“The daily trade winds demand pinpoint accuracy and will test even the most proficient golfers,” she says. “Furthermore, the mangroves and wetlands offer challenging surroundings as well as the course’s many water hazards.”
A round on the par-72, 18-hole course is priced from $199pp and includes a shared golf cart, unlimited use of practice facilities on day of play and bottled water. For non guests, a twilight game costs from $149 and includes access to the bar and Lagoon Grill.
Book it: Funway offers a week’s stay at Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort from £1,710pp including United Airlines flights and transfers. Package is based on a November 11, 2017 departure.