Five great golf courses for yachts to visit in the Bahamas and Caribbean
Yachting and golf are two sports that quickly become addictive passions. Being forced to choose between avocations is no fun, so combining them can be the perfect solution, no matter whether you’re cruising on a private yacht or booking a charter.
“We get a surprising number of charter clients who put golf at the top of their charter needs,” says Missy Johnston at Northrop-Johnson Yacht Charters Newport. “Our captains are used to not only booking dockage and restaurants, but also organizing tee times as well.”
These five challenging golf courses in the Bahamas and Caribbean have superyacht marinas nearby. And who knows? You might even bump into Tiger Woods aboard his Christensen or Jack Nicklaus on his Westport as they work their way around the Caribbean golfing circuit.
Royal St. Kitts Golf Club
St. Kitts and Nevis
The Royal St. Kitts Golf Club has won awards for challenging play and breathtaking scenery. Recently redesigned by Thomas McBroom, the course is known for its 17th hole, which is modeled after the famous hole at Pebble Beach in California. Showcasing the diverse terrain (and native wildlife) of St. Kitts, the course allows golfers to play two full holes on the Caribbean Sea and three complete holes on the Atlantic Ocean. At 6,900 yards from the championship tees (three other tees reduce the yardage as low as 5,000), the course has water hazards on 10 holes, 80 bunkers and coconut palms.
A signature hole for Royal St. Kitts is No. 15, which starts at an elevated tee with dramatic views of the ocean. With steady winds and bunkers designed to look like winds blowing from the Atlantic, there’s no room to spare, but a well-played tee shot will give you a possible birdie.
In addition to the pro shop, this course has access to the St. Kitts Marriott Resort and its services.
The naturally protected Christophe Harbour Marina offers superyacht services in a deepwater harbor with a wide turning basin and 24 alongside docks that can handle yachts to 250 feet (76.2 meters). The marina provides on-site Customs and Immigration services and luxury shops. Of note is a nearby Tom Fazio golf course under construction, connected to the marina.
Ocean Club Golf Course
Paradise Island, Nassau, Bahamas
This Tom Weiskopf-designed course near the Atlantis resort stretches 7,100 yards on Paradise Island near Nassau, offering views of the blue-green waters, quiet lakes and beaches that double as sand traps.
The 208-yard 12th hole, nicknamed “the spyglass,” is particularly memorable. The tee shot on this par-3 must carry across an inlet to a forward sloping and well-bunkered green. Bring extra balls. Those familiar with the course say that wind is often a factor, but it can be used to your advantage on the dogleg holes.
The Atlantis Marina is on the same property as the resort’s arched hotel and water park with a marine habitat. Slips accommodate yachts to 240 feet (73 meters) around a lagoon with shops such as Versace, Dooney & Bourke and more.
Also nearby is Hurricane Hole Marina, which can handle yachts to 200 feet (61 meters) with a 12-foot depth. A full-service marina with fuel, Hurricane Hole has a grocery, pool, medical clinic, dry cleaner and liquor store.
Provo Golf Club
Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands
This Karl Litten-designed course is ranked No. 5 on USA Today’s list of best Caribbean golf courses and has a reputation as a fast course with a minimalist approach to sand traps (just 30 bunkers). Six holes are on the water, the fairways are lined with palm trees, and natural limestone formations add variety. Provo Golf Club was returfed last year with Platinum Paspalum grass. With four sets of tees, the course can handle a range of golfing abilities.
Wind can be an added challenge, and the 14th hole is memorable for a downhill roll that is a test even for low-par golfers. There is a “smart casual” dress code, and if you don’t have clubs on board, Titleists are available for rent at the pro shop.
A word of warning: Don’t hit the flamingos that occasionally wander onto the fairway.
IGY’s Blue Haven Marina has slips for yachts to 220 feet (67 meters) and a low-water depth of 8½ feet (2.6 meters). Located next to the Blue Haven Resort, the marina gives guests access to a private beach, infinity-edge pool, spa, gym, several restaurants and a grocery. The marina also offers fuel as well as Customs and Immigration on site.
Teeth of the Dog
Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic
The ocean-hugging Teeth of the Dog course at Casa de Campo resort in the Dominican Republic is said to be Pete Dye’s favorite. “I created 11 holes, and God created seven,” he once said, referring to the seven ocean-edge holes.
Two other Dye courses are nearby (Dye Fore and The Links), but Teeth of the Dog is the first choice for club-throwing challenges. The course is a whopping 7,350 yards, and the par-4 dogleg on the fourth hole offers the first opportunity to watch your golf ball splash into the ocean. One golfer called the fifth hole “diabolical,” given its raised green on a peninsula surrounded by runoffs and water. There’s even a saying on the seventh hole for straying from the fairway with a shot: feeding the sharks.
This course has a pro shop as well as access to the resort’s tennis center, equestrian center and shooting center.
The Casa de Campo marina is part of the resort and offers docking for yachts to 250 feet (76.2 meters). There are six points for direct refueling of the largest superyachts, and the shipyard has a 150-ton crane. It is also a service center for Azimut and Benetti.
For more information: Teeth of the Dog and Casa de Campo Marina, casadecampo.com.do
Canouan Estate Golf Course
Canouan, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
This Jim Fazio-designed championship course is set on dramatic, sloping hills and along the ocean’s edge, making it one of the most interesting courses in the Caribbean. A tough 6,900 yards, it provides numerous challenges besides the distractions of the spectacular scenery. The 16th hole is one of the longest par-3s in the world at 305 yards, and with a 240-foot drop from the tee to the green. Overall, the course has more than a 500-foot differential, with breezes on the ridges to surprise the unwary.
Sandy Lane Yacht Club is a full-service superyacht marina with 120 slips, including space for about two dozen yachts up to 300 feet (91.4 meters) at a low-water draft to 18 feet (5.6 meters). Located next to the Canouan Jet Port for private aircraft, the marina has Customs and Immigration services, a crew lounge, a concierge, a supermarket and a bakery. ◊
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2019 issue.