Golf MarriottRoyal St Kitts Golf Club
By Melanie Reffes

“Summer afternoon, summer afternoon,” observed esteemed writer Henry James, “to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” All about lazy summer afternoons, the Caribbean is also a Mecca for golfers who flock to the many courses for a sunny afternoon of play.

Even if you can’t tell a 9 iron from a waffle iron or a birdie from a bogey, teeing up with a calm breeze at your back and sinking a putt from 25 feet is what golfing bragging rights are all about. With fewer crowds, plenty of flights and resort deals galore, summer is the perfect time to tee up in the Caribbean.

Leaders of the Tee World
In St. Kitts, tourism minister Richard (Ricky) Skerritt knows a good course when he plays one. A member of the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club, the Senator is also an avid golfer who knows the island’s greens like the back of his hand. “I like competitive activities so my ideal vacation has to have a golf course, the sea and plenty of sunshine.” In addition to the Royal St. Kitts managed by the Marriott and the Four Seasons Golf Club across the channel in Nevis, plans are underway for a course at Kittitan Hill and Christophe Harbour. Referring to the 54-hole St. Kitts-Nevis Admiral’s Cup Pro-Am Tournament slated for February 2 to 6, 2014, Skerritt adds “this hallmark tournament continues to help us attract visitors as we ramp up marketing efforts internationally to support all the courses.” For twosomes who tee up, the four-night ‘Couples Golf & Spa’ at the Marriott invites at US $256 per night, per room including two  treatments at the Emerald Mist Spa, two rounds of golf and breakfast.,

Anguilla GolfKen Evoy

Designed by Greg Norman, Cuisinart Golf Club in Anguilla is spectacular with vistas of St. Maarten and the Caribbean Sea at the tee box of the 390-yard starting hole. Sand dunes on the left and a saltwater pond on the right frame the perilous drive on the 16th hole that ends with an elevated green protected by deep bunkers. “We cater to the CuisinArt guest and know they expect a certain level of luxury and service, not only in their accommodations but also in their golf experience,” says Stephane Zaharia, general manager. Packages include the ‘Tee Up & Revive’ which includes five seaside nights, spa treatments, breakfast en suite and three rounds of golf. “Almost every day is perfect for golf in Anguilla,” adds Ryan Bowey, head golf pro. “Anguilla is a flat desert island, our climate is consistently sunny and dry with ever present trade winds.” For those who prefer quality post-golf time, former Montrealer Nori Evoy, the creator of the wildly popular website knows a good thing when she tastes it. “Chef Massimo at the Clubhouse prepares the best lobster ravioli in a flavourful bisque broth,” she says. “Coming from Montreal, good cuisine is always appreciated and Italia never fails to deliver a first-class meal.”

No Holes Barred
For a small island, Bermuda is an overachiever when it comes to golf. “Canada is such an important market for us and, with more golf per square mile than anywhere else in the world, we are an appealing choice for golfers who enjoy our great year-round playing weather and championship-caliber courses,” says Shawn Crockwell, minister tourism. “Our convenient location puts us just a three-hour flight away from Canada’s major eastern cities and offers easy access to some of the world’s best golf.”

Bermuda GolfBermuda Tourism
One of the best, Port Royal is a golfer’s delight with 18 holes designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. Other crowd pleasers include Turtle Hill at the Fairmont Southampton with 18 par-3 holes, practice green and shoe rentals. Practice makes perfect at The Bermuda Golf Academy with a 300-yard driving range and 18-hole putting green. For golf wannabees (or golf widows), the putt-putt course is cleverly designed with waterfalls and fountains.

In Curacao, Blue Bay has plenty of personality with 18-holes along the Caribbean Sea. Targetting those who play and stay, Renaissance Curacao Resort in the scenic city of Willemstad is tops with the “Golf Getaway” package through December 13 that includes one round at Blue Bay and room rates as low as US $254 per room, per night. Lessons are offered for those wanting to brush up on their skills.

Several top-notch courses dot Grand Cayman including the Caribbean’s first signature Jack Nicklaus course, Britannia Golf Club and the ritzy Blue Tip at the Ritz Carlton. “The finishing hole at the Ritz challenges golfers to gently drop onto an island green directly into the warm breezes of the North sound which can be treacherous, but beautiful,” notes Paul Minich, country manager, Canada.

Cinnamon HillCinnamon Hill
Tee for Two
In Jamaica, Cinnamon Hill thrills with a wind-swept front nine that gives way to a trap-filled back nine. The setting for James Bond’s Live and Let Die, the course overlooks the home owned by the late Johnny Cash while putting alongside the waterfall where Elizabeth Barrett Browning penned How do I love thee, let me count the ways is memorable. Also with a storied past, White Witch was named for Annie Palmer, who owned the 19th-century sugar plantation on which the course is built. “Aside from the magnificent views and year-round access, golfing in Jamaica is addictive,” says Racquel Queensborough, business development manager, Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB). “Golfing with a caddy is a high five experience because they know the courses so well and will tell you to hit the ball in a certain direction while you’re thinking there is no way and yes, they are usually right.” With accolades galore, the course at Half Moon is a classic Robert Trent Jones Sr. design sculpted from foothills of the western coastline. The classy course also welcomes spectators to on-property tournaments like the Jamaica Open Golf Championship and the Red Stripe Pro-Am.

Tryall ClubTryall Club
Recently renovated, the course at the chi-chi Tryall Club is the pride of the island with a new driving range, tee boxes and putting green. “Very rarely do you find an 18 hole layout as diverse as that at The Tryall Club,” says Ewan Peebles, director golf. “The course will take your breath away as you encounter protected mangroves, plantation relics, hilltop views and the Caribbean Sea.”

Teeth of the DogCasa de Campo
Made for golf enthusiasts, Dominican Republic is home to three Pete Dye courses at Casa de Campo in La Romana. Totaling 90 spectacular holes, courses include the tricky Teeth of the Dog, The Links and the Dye Fore with holes 12 and 15 revered as two of the greatest par three in the world. “We’re very proud to have the most highly ranked golf course in the Caribbean, which combines all the great elements of Pete Dye’s brilliant design with our perfect tropical weather and seaside location,” says Peter Bonell, marketing officer. A new app designed by Golf Digest, Golf World Magazine and Casa de Campo gives users a Teeth of the Dog tour that stops at each hole, tee boxes, fairways, golf cart roads, landscapes and the nearby Caribbean Sea. The app also includes information about tee times, which connect directly with the resort’s reservations desk.

Enticing with a trio of meticulous courses and GPS-equipped golf carts, Sandy Lane in Barbados is golfing nirvana. With five lakes and a Tom Fazio design, The Country Club is a 72 par, 7,060-yard course with postcard-perfect views of the Caribbean Sea. Also Fazio-designed, The Green Monkey is an ultra-exclusive par 72; 7,343-yard course carved from an old limestone quarry and the Old Nine meanders through the Sandy Lane estate with 3,345 yards, par 36 and snug fairways.

Sandals GolfSandals Resorts
One Stop Shopping
An all-inclusive stay at a Sandals Resort offers not only food, cocktails and watersports, but also green fees at some of the finest courses in the Caribbean. “Canadian golfers have a lot to get teed up about when they play on a Sandals course,” says Tony Ebanks, golf business development manager. “Every course offers PGA-certified instruction including complimentary golf clinics plus private instruction alongside a PGA pro. With green fees included at most courses; golf at Sandals is an excellent value.”
In Jamaica, guests of Sandals Grande Riviera play at the 18-hole Jamaica Golf and Country Club with sweeping views of the sea and mountains. Particularly vexing is the unassuming 13th hole that packs a wallop with its perilously shallow green fronted by a steep slope and hidden bunker. In St. Lucia, white cedars and almond trees frame the narrow fairways at the Golf Club at Sandals La Toc. Offering a weekly golf clinic, the nine-hole course also pleases with a practice range with chipping and putting greens. At Sandals Emerald Reef Golf Club in Grand Exuma, Bahamas, the Greg Norman-designed course lures with an ocean-side backdrop and challenging fairways.