Each of Bermuda’s nine golf courses (a whopping amount for such a small island – only 21 miles square) have been designed by some of the top names in golf architecture. They feature plenty of obstacles that will challenge even the most experienced golfers. And for those who want to really test their mettle, Bermuda boasts two PGA approved championship level courses (the Mid Ocean Club and Port Royal).
If this has whetted your appetite and you are already packing your clubs, there are a few points to note about playing golf on the island.
1. Beware the wind
All golf courses have their quirks. The little idiosyncrasies that make each course uniquely enjoyable and add to their appeal. In Bermuda one such quirk, known well to anyone who has played golf on the island, is the offshore wind blowing in from across 3000 miles of Atlantic Ocean. As most of the courses run alongside the Bermuda coastline it is not uncommon for golfers to find many a well placed shot going awry from rogue gusts.
For most, this challenge lends itself to a more exciting game that requires a different level of precision. One such example is to use northerly winds at St. George’s 14th hole to create a spectacular shot across Coot Pond (which is in fact a small harbour) and onto the opposite green. Thereby missing the fairway altogether and taking the hole down to a par 3.
2. Not all of the courses are open to the public
Some courses are private and require introduction by existing members or through a hotel if they hold corporate membership. A good way of ensuring a game at a private club is to stay in one of the hotels attached to the course. These include the Fairmont Southampton Hotel, the Newstead Belmont Hills and Rosewood Tucker’s Point.
Otherwise, Bermuda’s government-run public courses rank as some of the best in the world. The PGA Grand Slam site Port Royal is open to the public and and has a reputation as one of the best courses on the island. Other public courses well worth a visit include Ocean View and St George’s. Reserving a tee time at any of these courses is easily made through the centralised reservation system (tel: 441-234-4653).
3. Limited irrigation affects play
Bermuda golf courses are subject to limited irrigation, which results in firm fast greens and fairways. Nothing a seasoned golfers can’t handle with a few minor adjustments to normal play.
4. All Bermuda golf clubs operate a strict dress code
If you want to play golf on Bermuda you must wear the correct attire. Shirts must have collars and long sleeves, shorts must be Bermuda length (to the knee) and jeans are strictly prohibited. You must also wear soft spike shoes which can be hired from most clubs if required.
5. The best time to play is out of the busy season
If you are visiting Bermuda purely to play golf it is a good idea to book your holiday outside of the high season. During November to March (the quieter winter months) the weather is still good but markedly cooler, hotels are cheaper and tee times easier to book.
Victoria Brenner is Director at The Couture Travel Company.