Golfing in the Caribbean
Only the most fanatic player will find it easy to keep the head down and focus on a little white ball while surrounded by the vivid colours of a Caribbean day. Most golfers will have to take an extended look at the deep greens of the island landscape and the sparkling blues of the sky and sea. But, as travel agents and resort managers have discovered, legions of golfers are choosing island courses as their preferred destination when planning a holiday on the links. Golf and the magnificent Caribbean have been connected in history for a relatively short time, with the most popular golf courses and resorts attracting players only in the past few decades. But there are exceptions, such as the venerable Constant Spring Golf Club in Kingston, Jamaica. Tight fairways and awe-inspiring views attract hundreds to this course designed in 1920 by Stanley Thompson, a Scottish architect. Greens fees are comparatively low at this shorter, mature course.
The Tryall Club in Montego Bay and the Wyndham Rose Hall Golf and Country Club are also considered among the top Jamaican golf destinations. Newer resorts and championship-length courses abound in the Caribbean as well, with green fees that range from very reasonable to extremely costly (for many occasional travellers). Puerto Rico, Barbados and Costa Rica are among the destinations growing in popularity. Tip: Always take a bit of time to research what is available at the chosen Caribbean golf destination, making sure to include all the necessary fees such as caddy, carts, meals etc. Prices and available tee times vary with each resort and with the seasons. At some more exclusive clubs, non-members will not be able to play during the winter season. For U.S. travellers, Aruba may be one of the more distant places to consider when thinking about golfing in the Caribbean, but the Tierra Del Sol Resort and Country Club is one of the early items on the Aruba golf menu. The course designed by famed architect Robert Trent Jones is setting the pace for planned championship courses at other locations on this island just a few miles from the Venezuelan coast. Attractive travel packages to Aruba and other island destinations are being added to brochures and catalogues on a regular basis. Vacations in the Bahamas have long been a choice for U.S. travellers, primarily because this beautiful chain of islands is so close to the Florida coast.
A number of gorgeous links-style courses are included in resort amenities developed by major hotel corporations. Travellers with an eye on golfing in the Caribbean may want to consider the Lucayan Course or the Reef Course at Our Lucaya (less than 60 miles from the coast of Florida), the Treasure Cay Golf Course or the Emerald Bay course designed by Greg Norman. These exquisite resorts also offer fitness centres, spas and luxury accommodations to attract all members of the family or travelling group. In recent years, the Dominican Republic has risen in the ranks of favourite Caribbean golf destinations. The Casa de Campo Resort features four courses, including Pete Dye's "Teeth of the Dog." That course has rapidly become a legend among globetrotting golfers. Greens fees at the Casa de Campo courses will not take a huge chunk of the traveller's budget, however. While caddy and cart is extra, the initial fees begin at around $100. Whether heading for one of the more heavily played golf sites or to one of the lesser-known courses, golfing in the Caribbean is a perfect choice.