Golf enthusiasts are in luck: bright-green fairways and bejeweled blue seas await you, delivering picture-perfect backdrops and world-class holes. The secret is out among the sport’s most elite players and course architects. Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus are just two of the golfing legends with signature courses carved into this archipelago’s landscape. Tiger Woods also lives part-time in the Bahamas and invests in property.
There are a dozen or so courses dotting the islands, with many more under various stages of development. Of these, there are at least three outstanding championship courses where the staff bends over backwards to maintain perfect greens next to dazzling Caribbean waters.
Throw in over seven hours of warm sunshine each day, and you have a true golfing paradise.
Ready to tee off? Here are some spectacular courses that should not be missed.
THE EMERALD BAY GOLF COURSE, GREAT EXUMA
Next to the Grand Isle Resort & Spa, this top-notch course was designed by Greg Norman, the Australian golfing legend. The par 72, 18-hole championship course is approximately 7,200 yards long and possesses six signature holes hugging the coastline. The Emerald Bay attraction is the newest championship-calibre course, and it has been named among the best golf courses in the Caribbean by Travel + Leisure magazine.
The Emerald Bay Golf Course is well-maintained and offers delightful variety. The first nine holes meander through a mixture of sand dunes close to the beach and mangroves, while the back nine work their way through a rocky peninsula.
THE OCEAN CLUB GOLF COURSE, PARADISE ISLAND
This well-known championship course, designed by Tom Weiskopf, has attracted top golfing talent over the years. The Ocean Club hosted its first LPGA tournament last year, which promises to become an annual event. In the past, this course has also been the preferred destination for the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational.
While boasting the world’s largest sand trap, the course is also accessible to golfers of all skill levels. The Ocean Club is home to the rich and famous. Eye-popping estates flank most of the holes, which adds to the destination’s beauty and prestige.
For the best panoramic ocean view, go to the 14th hole — as you putt out, you will almost feel adrift in the sparkling ocean.
THE LUCAYAN COUNTRY CLUB, GRAND BAHAMAS ISLAND
This property consists of two separate courses: The Reef Golf Course and The Lucayan Golf Course. Both destinations offer a true challenge, but with a different feel.
The Reef is a sandy course with link-style greens, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. The Bahamian press has described it as “a bit like a Scottish course, but a lot warmer”.
Originally laid out in 1964, The Lucayan Golf Course is a newly renovated, tree-lined course.
Both of these championship courses have 18 holes, stunning sea views and full luxury service, including a shuttle bus to carry golfers from one course to the other.
JACK NICKLAUS SIGNATURE GOLF COURSE, NEW PROVIDENCE
Attached to the rising $3.5 billion Baha Mar, this new course is set to hit the market before the mega resort opens in December 2014.
The 18-hole course, formerly the Cable Beach Golf Club, is available for guests of the resort, but it will also be open to the public. Baha Mar describes the course as “worthy of the Golden Bear himself, surrounded by spectacular views of the lush tropical landscape and breathtaking vistas of the turquoise Atlantic”.
According to local newspapers, it will also feature a pre-Columbus cave, as the course plays alongside Nassau’s Lake Cunningham.
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