Play All Day and Sip Rum All Night
"Aruba, Jamaica, oh I want to take ya, Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama, Key Largo, Montego, baby why don't we go, Jamaica…"
Those lyrics from the Beach Boys' "Kokomo" instantly induce a craving for rum punch(s). And nothing better than some island golf travel around the Caribbean while posting that obligatory toes in the sand photo on Facebook to make your friends hate you. No Corona on these trips because we're going to keep it local. In the Bahamas, we're drinking Kalik, in the Dominican Republic, we drink Presidente, and in Jamaica, we're smoking…cigars…obviously.
Along with the rum punch and local beers, we're going to need a tee time too. However, here's a little-known fact about playing golf on islands. Sometimes golf course conditions aren't right because of the surrounding saltwater, and it's hard to import equipment and the proper lawncare nutrients to keep the turf plush. With that said, if you want to play a decent golf course and be on an island, then be sure to choose the right place. GolferScore has plenty of island golf getaways to suggest if you're looking for tropical golf travel destinations.
The Abaco Club | Abaco, Bahamas
Straight east of Palm Beach, Florida, is one of the Caribbean's most charming islands, Abaco. When people think of Bahamas golf travel, they typically think of Nassau; however, the Bahamas have a lot more to offer than just Nassau. The Out Islands are east of Nassau, and there you will find some of the most beautiful clear water and pink sand beaches in the world. It's easy to get a good Goombay Smash too, a local signature cocktail at The Abaco Club. The golf course plays out into little peninsulas on the island. Here's the good news—the ocean water there is so clear that it'll be easy to find your ball if it decides to take an unforeseen swim. Gather your group and be sure to bring plenty of cash, as four-bedroom villas start at $2,200 per night.
Puntacana Resort & Club | Puntacana, Dominican Republic
Corales by Tom Fazio utilizes indigenous cliffs, reefs, and six holes play along the Caribbean Sea. And there's another 27-hole stretch designed by P.B. Dye with 14 holes near the ocean. Many compare golf travel to the Dominican Republic to that famous golf course in Northern California (Pebble Beach)—the comparisons should stop. And after the round, there will be ice cold Presidente cervezas for days. And here's another reason to consider Puntacana: the D.R. knows how to party. There are cigar and rum bars, and there are night clubs. In case you're not sold and need more convincing, Julio Iglesias has a home here.
Four Seasons Resort Nevis | Nevis
Monkeys roam the island, and tourists spend the entire day drinking Killer Bee's (rum punch) at the world-famous Sunshine's. A short ferry ride from St. Kitts, Nevis is one of the Caribbean's most special islands. It's steeped in history and is famous for being the birthplace and early childhood home of Alexander Hamilton. There are some legendary boutique hotels there: The Hermitage, Golden Rock Plantation Inn, and Montpelier Plantation Inn are a must-visit. 300-year-old sugar mills still rest all over the entire island—Montpelier converted one into a dining room.
However, there is only one place on the small island to stay and play golf. The Four Seasons Resort Nevis has an 18-hole golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones II. Several of the holes play back toward Mount Nevis; others play back towards the ocean—all are stunning. It's unlikely any golfer will choose this resort year after year, but without a doubt, it should happen at least once. It's that special.
Sandy Lane | Barbados
Once upon a time, a young Tiger and Elin arrived at Sandy Lane with dreams of living the American Dream. The youngsters were still in their 20's, and their wedding invite list was a who's who of athletes, celebrities, and superstars. The wedding party had the entire resort to themselves, and guests could play, drink, and eat as much as they wanted. Rumors circled that the wedding cost around $1.5 million, and VIPs included Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley.
The resort offers 45 holes of golf. Designed by Tom Fazio, The Green Monkey course there is carved from an old limestone quarry. There is another 18-hole track called The Country Club, also done by Fazio. And to give the resort 45 holes, there is another set of nine called The Old Nine. Imagine for a moment that Tiger could have gone anywhere in the world, and he chose Sandy Lane…probably worth taking a look at, yeah?
Always ask for a stay and play package rate; when it comes to golf travel, à la carte accommodations can get expensive fast. Most resorts offer packages to fit various budgets. Don't be afraid to ask if they have any unadvertised rates they can provide for you. If you're golfing on a budget, let the reservations agent know what your spending limits are, they may be able to create a package that’s a perfect fit.