Feature Image Copyright : Filip Fuxa
Last time on our winter golf destination run-down, we talked about South Africa. But if you are from the US and you’d rather stay a bit closer to home then a great choice would be the beautiful Carribean island of Barbados.
A bit more familiar as a holiday destination to many and for those who maybe just want to play golf and hit the beach then look no further.
Where to play?
Being just a small Carribean island, Barbados doesn’t quite have the choice of courses and resorts as somewhere like South Africa but there are still a few excellent ones to choose from.
The Best course: Apes Hill Golf Club
Located about a 25 minute drive north of the capital Bridgetown is Apes Hill Golf Club. It is home to a par 72, 7,150-yard championship course that has been around for just short of 20 years.
As you can probably see from the above image, this truly is a picture-perfect golf course. The views are spectacular from all over the course with lush green fairways, rainforests in the distance and sea views a-plenty. Your main concern may be holding up the following group taking photos. The 16th hole gets in many of the pictures as it has become the signature hole at Apes Hill, set within a coral-stone quarry.
Holes are varied and the course overall is challenging and exciting. The greens are undulating and very tricky in places and the sharply edged bunkers can really test your sand game.
For this incredible setting though there is a cost. You are looking at just over US$200 for green fees. This does, however, include access to the driving range and other practice facilities. Personally, I think this is a bucket list course and is truly worth the money.
After your round, you can sit at the bar and watch the sunset with incredible sea views. This is the life!
A Close Second: Sandy Lane – The Green Monkey
Located just a short 15 minute drive up the coast from the capital The Green Monkey, designed by Tom Fazio, is a stunning 72 par, 7,343-yard golf course. You can probably see from the picture where this course gets its name. Sitting in one of the giant and spectacular white sand bunkers is a large green grass monkey!
Carved into an old limestone quarry the bright green fairways are a cool contrast against the white cliffs that surround them. These cliffs also offer some interesting elevation changes, so at some points you can see what lies on the next hole from up above.
Green fees are slightly higher than at Apes Hill coming in around US$230 a round. But I’ll say it again, these spectacular courses are well worth these fees for the scenery alone. Caddies are available for $50 and are very knowledgeable and friendly.
Bargain Round: Barbados Golf Club
Coming in at around half the price of the previous two courses, the Barbados Golf Club is a great course if you aren’t looking to blow all your Christmas savings on one round this winter.
Situated at the southern tip of the island, the course again is visually very nice. It may not be set in a limestone quarry but it is well manicured dotted with trees planted around the course 25 years ago. The course boasts its own ‘Amen Corner’ at the 15th and 16th, but arguably the best hole of the 18 is saved till last where a triple green is situated surrounding a crystal clear lake.
The course is a links style 6805-yard par 72 course which isn’t as challenging as Ape Hill or Green Monkey and so if you are more of a beginner or a senior you may appreciate the more forgiving open fairways and fewer giant bunkers.
Green fees are around US$105
Where to fly to?
We found direct flights in January for as little as $210 return to Bridgetown from Miami. Direct flights are available from many cities across America for very reasonable prices.
From the West Coast expect to pay between $400 and $500 for the extra distance.
Direct flights are also available from Europe. Flights from London come in at just under £400 for some dates in January 2018.
Where to stay?
Unusually none of the courses above offer hotel accommodation on site. But luckily Barbados has no shortage of picturesque hotels, resorts, and guest houses to suit all needs and budgets.
Budget: South Beach Hotel – Ocean Hotels
The South Beach Hotel by Ocean Hotels is located just to the south of Bridgetown right on the coast. The hotel comes with its own outdoor pool but is also just a short walk from Worthing Beach. The beach may not be the most famous or picturesque in Barbados but it is still very nice with white sands and crystal clear Caribbean seas.
The hotel boasts two restaurants on site but is also just a few hundred yards from other restaurants, bars and even nightclubs if that is your scene!
Mid-Range: Coral Sands Beach Resort
Again located at the south end of the island the Coral Sands Beach resort is set in beautiful tropical gardens right on Worthing Beach.
The resort features studios which all have terraces overlooking the ocean. You even get a small kitchenette if you want to do any of your own cooking, or there is a bar and room service if not.
Located just 6.2 miles from the airport and just 10 miles from Barbados Golf Club which I mentioned above.
High End: The Sandpiper
Our high-end choice is located north of Bridgetown and therefore much closer to the Ape Hill and Green Monkey Courses.
The Sandpiper 5 star luxary hotel is located on the famous Crane Beach with ocean views. The hotel is in a sophisticated 19th-century style, with 4 poster beds and vaulted ceilings, a nice upgrade from some of the cheaper modern hotel blocks.
The resort even has an art gallery and shopping complex if you feel the need to stock up on clothing or jewelry after your 18 holes.
The L’Azure seafood restaurant and Zen Japanese/ Thai restaurants on site are both highly rated too.
What to do when you aren’t on the course?
Located in the center of the island the Harrison’s caves have been a popular tourist attraction in Barbados for a long time.
The caves were carved out through the limestone rock forming impressive stalactites and stalagmites throughout. Unusually a tram will take you through the caves and stop off at interesting formations.
Tours go daily between 8:45am and 3:45pm last about 1 hour and cost around US$30 per adult.
Check it out on TripAdvisor
If you want to get a glimpse the vast array of Carribean landscapes from the jungle to the sunny open spaces but haven’t got time to trek around the whole country then a trip to Hunte’s Gardens is a great idea.
Here the designer Antony Hunte has created a garden experience across a variety of levels where you can explore the Carribean jungle and get lost amongst dense exotic plants.
The paths form well marked trails that aren’t strenuous and a relaxing day out.
Check it out on TripAdvisor
Mount Gay Rum Tour
The list wouldn’t be complete without some kind of alcohol related excursion.
Barbados is famous for it’s rum and one of the best known distilleries on the island is Mount Gay. Tours run daily every half hour between 9:30a.m and 2:30pm and offer a chance to delve into the spirit’s history learning about why it is so important to the nation. And of course complimentary rum punch and five rum tasting are included!
Check it out on TripAdvisor