The vacationing golfer takes many forms.
There is the enthusiast who hopes that by cleverly booking a family vacation somewhere close to a golf course, a quick 9 or 18 holes can be grabbed in the middle of an otherwise crowded schedule. There is the golfer who gathers a bunch of friends together for total immersion golf, playing 18 or 36 holes a day in the indulgence of the royal and ancient passion.
Then there are couples, several couples perhaps, who share a love of the game and want to play frequently together but also want to do other things on their vacation.
And then there are families of golfers who … but you get the idea. Whenever golfers think about vacations, they think about golf, sunshine, good food and … more golf.
So now you perhaps are thinking golf too. If so, consider this: a private villa with its own staff, pool and luxurious ambiance, on some of the world’s best golf courses … with dedicated staff taking care of every need and loving local nannies caring for little ones, allowing adults the free time they need to golf with a clear conscience. To cap it all, a wide variety of sports and leisure options awaits non-golfers as does the inviting prospect of doing nothing whatsoever in the finest style!
If you are not familiar with these wonderful courses, here is a short guide.
The Tryall Club
Designed by Ralph Plummer in 1958 this has traditionally been regarded as the best course in Jamaica, perhaps one of the top courses in the Americas. The 6,221 yard par 72 course has hosted international tournaments such as the Johnnie Walker World Championships, the Mazda Champions, the Jamaica Classic and Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf. The mixture of flat seaside holes and (sometimes severe!) slopes hold something for everyone. A huge 200 year old water wheel, dating back to Tryall’s colonial plantation past, stands astride the 7th tee and still turns to this day. One of the special pleasures of a round at Tryall is a caddie slicing the top off a coconut to provide you with a refreshing drink of milk. Rubber spiked golf shoes are allowed on the Tryall golf course….NO metal spiked golf shoes.
Golf pro: Nelson Long
The course at Half Moon is a classic Robert Trent Jones layout, following the contours of the flat lowlands between the hills and the sea. The two nines are laid end-to-end, ribbon-like, alongside each other, offering a 7,119 yard challenge whose signature hole is the 535 yard par-5 3rd. The design tempts the big-hitters to take a short cut over a deadly stand of trees or take the safer but longer route via the open fairway.
Golf pro: Byron Bernard
Cinnamon Hill at Rose Hall
By the same architect who designed White Witch, Cinnamon Hill is another course that takes advantage of the varied terrain between mountain and seashore. Watch out for the tricky 8th, Chinaman’s Reef, whose inspiration was Pebble Beach. The dogleg hugs the sea to a lonely green that perches over the crashing surf below. Heaven! The course was recently redesigned by Robert von Hagge, who also built the White Witch (see below).
Golf pro: Gary Slatter
The White Witch
This new von Hagge course is named after Annie Palmer, a legendary local figure who was dubbed The White Witch for the havoc she made with local men folk in colonial times. The course is rapidly becoming a modern classic, earning accolades throughout the golfing world. It is filled with drama and delight and those who eschew carts in favor of walking may soon regret it after laboring up and down the 700-foot drop between hillside holes and the seaside. The double fairway on the 15th offers the same kind of choice as Half Moon’s 3rd. Faint hearts take the safe route along the dogleg for a manageable 335 yd par 4. Yet who could resist the lure of a direct shot to the green, just 220 yards away across a lovely pond and waterfall? A birdie just waiting to be taken! It is easy to lose one’s head – and ball – in the face of such an enticing prospect. The White Witch can be a demanding temptress indeed.
Golf pro: Ken Depew
Breezes at Runway Bay
This is the most convenient course for guests staying at our villas on Discovery Bay (seven minutes away) and Runaway Bay (just next door). Breezes has a sterling pedigree for local, national and international championship play. It is also great fun and does not take itself too seriously! The fairways are long, the bunkers deep and the greens deceptive. Breezes is universally lauded by critics as an excellent place to enjoy Caribbean holiday golf.
Golf pro: Ian Melville
Sandals Golf & Country Club
A further 35 minutes along the coast from Breezes, this resort course is also very accessible to our Discovery Bay and Runaway Bay guests. Often described as an “unexpected surprise” by reviewers who expect the quality of golf to be compromised at a mass-market tourist spot, it has won many plaudits for being a splendid, varied and interesting course. It is blessed by a cooling breeze. Majestic palm trees marching the fairways make it pleasing to the eye and it is graced by an excellent clubhouse. Bring your dive gear (and a plentiful supply of balls!) for the 373 yard par 4 3rd, which demands a 200 yard carry from the tee across a deep and tempting pond…..
Golf pro: Ewan Peebles