Sunday, August 14, 2011

Five “Must Play” Caribbean Golf Courses For Cruisers

Golf is a perennial seagoing favorite of players who want to log the Caribbean’s most beautiful and challenging courses on their scorecards and take their games to the next level. Shipboard programs can include clinics, use of full-motion golf cages, and even individual instruction from resident pros using state-of-the-art computer analysis. Once ashore, escorted excursions include everything needed for a satisfying round of play, including equipment and tips from the pro, and the ability to schedule tee times at exclusive courses.

Cruise Diva is not a golfer, although her son is a pro. For cruise ship passengers, here are five “must plays” in the Caribbean that have been suggested to us:

The Black Pearl: Pristine Bay Resort, Roatan, Honduras
“The Black Pearl is laid out on one of the best canvases we’ve worked with,” says legendary course architect Pete Dye. Located 35 miles off the Honduran coast, Roatan is resplendent with unblemished, sugar sand beaches coexisting in harmony with azure Caribbean waters so shockingly blue it almost hurts to gaze too long. Like its pirate ship influenced moniker, it’s all sinisterly enticing.

Cinnamon Hill Ocean Course: Rose Hall Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Cinnamon Hill is like a Whitman’s Sampler of Jamaica’s awesome beauty combining fragrant foliage, verdant mountains and tranquil Montego Bay vistas. Its 15th green is serenaded by the smoothing cascade of an idyllic waterfall that was the site of a dramatic scene from the James Bond flick “Live and Let Die.” Like 007, you’re in for thrill after thrill as this course peaks at 350-feet above sea-level and crescendos with holes so close to the ocean you think you’ll need fins with soft spikes.

Teeth of the Dog: Casa de Campo Resort, La Romana, Dominican Republic
Like Pablo Picasso must have done, Pete Dye seems to knock out masterpiece designs with ease. "The opportunity to carve out Teeth of the Dog was a once-in-a-lifetime experience," Dye says in his book Bury Me In a Pot Bunker. "Without proper heavy machinery to crack the coral, the tireless Dominican crew used sledgehammers, pickaxes and chisels." The result is a Caribbean golf Eden.

La Cana Golf Course: Puntacana Resort and Club, Higuey, Dominican Republic
Golf courses don’t come much closer to the sea than La Cana Golf Course. Designed by P. B. Dye, La Cana features 14 ocean-view holes with four playing right on the water’s edge. It’s not often one’s given a choice to either hit your next shot or snorkel—that’s how close the agua is. And like most of the magnificent Caribbean—the water is as blue as it gets.

Tierra del Sol Resort and Country Club: Malmok Beach, Aruba
Designed by Robert Trent Jones II, Tierra del Sol Resort and Country Club sits regally on the northwest side of Aruba. Open for visitors play, this Lesser Antilles gem has the unlikely, but thought-provoking, characteristic of being a "desert course with ocean views.” The target-style design and constant trade winds provide a unique challenge that calls for repeated play to master its numerous subtleties.

Photo: Casa de Campo ©


Anonymous said...

The argument can be made that its cheaper and often less hassle to arrange your round of golf yourself. The cruise line's compelling position is that if the ship must get underway while you are making the turn, they won't care that you don't find out for another two or three hours with no idea where they are headed.

TheTravelAngel said...

I have not played any courses other than Cinnamon Hills, I've played it many times over the last three years. It is a very pictures course that can challenge you.


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