When it comes to golf, are you a near-professional, a keen amateur, or just someone who likes to take a swing every now and again? Either way, a golfing holiday in the Caribbean could be just the ticket for helping you raise your game this winter. If you want to lower your handicap and improve your uphill chipping technique under blues skies and swaying palms, these ten suggestions are for you…
Jamaica: Sandals Royal Plantation
For visitors to Sandals Royal Plantation, the only all-butler, all-suite boutique resort in the Sandals collection, golf is included at the nearby Jamaica Golf and Country Club in Ocho Rios. The par-71 18 hole course plays to 6,404 yards, offering tricky drop-off greens and narrow fairways with sea and mountain views.
Jamaica: The Ritz-Carlton Spa and Golf Resort
Set amid 5,000 perfectly manicured acres of the exclusive Rose Hall estate in Montego Bay, the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall is the ideal choice for golf aficionados seeking proximity to the renowned White Witch Golf Course, another par-71 course with panoramic sea views from 16 of its 18 holes. The par-3, 161-yard 17th hole is especially memorable for its change in elevation and elegant landscaping around the green.
Grenada: La Source Resort
All-inclusive La Source Grenada offers the opportunity to improve your short game on a 9-green executive course in the resorts’ green environs. It’s a much quicker round, but the course still puts golfers through their paces as it winds its way through tropical trees and cascading waterfalls. If you still have the energy there’s always the on-site tennis, archery and beach volleyball.
Bahamas: Sandals Grande Emerald Bay
Okay, we know the Bahamas are not technically in the Caribbean but they’re near enough, and we couldn’t resist including the fabulous Greg Norman-designed 18-hole championship Emerald Reef Golf Club par-72 course at Great Exuma island’s Sandals Emerald Bay. This 7,200 yard stretch of prime oceanside is recognised as one of the most scenic courses in the region, with challenging fairways that wind through seaside dunes.
Cuba: Meliá Las Américas
The adults-only Meliá Las Américas is right next door to Varadero Golf Club, which was the first 18-hole golf course in Cuba when it opened in 1998. A course of ‘two halves’, the first nine holes are considered fairly straightforward but holes 10–18 increase in complexity, allowing players to refine the technical aspect of their game before retiring to the restored 1930s club house, Xanadu Mansion, for a hard-earned classic mojito.
St Lucia: Cap Maison
A former sugar plantation, the five-star Cap Maison boutique hotel sits on a high clifftop on St Lucia’s northwest coast and is just minutes away from St Lucia Golf Club, where guests enjoy concessionary fees. The club is the official home of the International PGA and is known as one of the most demanding courses in the Caribbean; the par-4 opening hole grabs attention right away with a water hazard on the right of the fairway and an out of bounds on the left.
Barbados: Sandy Lane
Since opening its doors in 1961, Sandy Lane has been the most exclusive address in Barbados, and the hotel’s three separate courses are the ultimate thrill for golfers with a taste for the high life. Most spectactularly, the Tom Fazio-designed Green Monkey course offers dramatic elevation changes and is carved from an old limestone quarry. The Country Club course features five lakes and immaculate fairways, and the par-36 Old Nine provides an intimate experience with tree-lined fairways and small greens. Serious golfers will also love the 450-yard driving range and GPS-fitted carts.
Barbados: The Crane
Built in 1887, The Crane is Barbados’ longest established resort. With a restored main building and an villa complex strung along the island’s most beautiful beach, it might an effort to drag yourself off to the fairway. But nearby Barbados Golf Club provides an easy, affordable option for players of all abilities, attracting locals as well as hotel guests for a slightly more authentic experience.
Barbados: Royal Westmoreland
For larger groups and families, the luxury serviced villas and penthouse apartments of Royal Westmoreland provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This exclusive resort in the west coast parish of St. James also has a first-rate tennis facility and luxury spa, but it’s the 18-hole championship golf course that earns the most accolades. Dominated by an elegant colonial-style clubhouse, it’s a particularly varied course – the 5th and 6th holes make use of a disused coral stone quarry, and the 12th’s tight green borders a ravine.
Dominican Republic: Casa de Campo
Describing itself as the ‘Caribbean’s most complete resort’, Casa de Campo is a 7,000 acre hotel, resort and residential community, with an equestrian centre, healing spa and tennis courts in addition to its famous ‘Teeth of the Dog‘ course. Designed by celebrated golf architect Pete Dye, it has been named the number one course in the Caribbean by Golf Magazine, and sits alongside his two other Casa de Campo creations; the dramatic Dye Fore which drops 300 ft in elevation, and the serene, inland Links course, featuring several lagoons and watery challenges.