A stay at the superb Super Clubs resort of Grand Lido Braco gives golfers the option of free green fees at three Jamaica golf courses, including the nine-hole course at Grand Lido Braco Resort & Spa.
TRELAWNY, Jamaica - You wouldn't want to plan your Jamaica golf vacation around the Grand Lido Braco Resort & Spa golf course.
It's a short, executive course with only one par 4 - with an option to play another hole as a par 3 or par 4.
It isn't in particularly great shape, and it's laid out a bit awkwardly; you'll be hitting through or around power lines on a couple of holes.
But, hey, you're in Jamaica, mon!
Say you've been lying sloth-like on the beach all morning, either cooking like a lobster in the tropical sun or under the shade of a palm tree sipping a Pina Colada.
Or maybe you've been listening to the "singing fruit lady" while you lie in a jacuzzi.
You start feeling guilty about your total and complete immobility. Tee it up.
Or, at the other end of the action scale, you've been sailing, windsurfing, snorkeling, scuba diving or kayaking.
Back it down, tourist boy. Tee it up.
Besides, consider it a warmup for your short game before hitting the Super Clubs other golf courses, at Breezes Runaway Bay and Ironshore Golf & Country Club at Montego Bay - all of which are free for Super Club guests.
There are also two other 18-hole golf courses nearby.
So, if you want to get in a little golf, in two hours or less, before or after you jack up the adrenaline factor, it isn't a bad way to kill some time with a club in your hand.
"We average about 10-12 players a day," said Grand Lido Braco Golf Professional Oscar Brown. "The problem is most people go on vacation, and they want to swing the driver. Still, most people like it because they can play in an hour and a half and get back to playing."
That's the best thing about the course: It's located steps away from the lobby at a super, seaside resort where there are all sorts of Jamaica-like things to do. The outdoor pro shop isn't bad, either.
Your wedge will get a workout at Grand Lido Braco, where you're frequently hitting into greens primarily protected in front by bunkers. None of the par 3s are more than 153 yards.
No. 4 is an interesting hole, the only pure par 4 on the course. It's a dogleg left with a kidney-shaped pond right. It can be played several different ways, either safe with a long iron or fairway wood to the sliver of fairway, or bomb it with the driver.
I say bomb it: It's one of only two chances you'll get to hit the big stick.
No. 5 features a blind shot into the green, and No. 6 can be played as either a 148-yard par 3 or a short par 4.
The pro shop is a covered, outdoor pavilion, and there is a narrow driving range and putting green. They have push carts and gas-powered carts that can be used for additional charge.
Grand Lido Resorts and Spas are AAA 4-Diamond affairs, including Grand Lido Braco and Grand Lido Negril.
Grand Lido Braco is located on the north coast of the island, 32 miles east of Montego Bay, about an hour from the airport.
The 2,000 feet of white sand beach is a big selling point, as is the fact the resort is designed in the style of a Victorian-era, Jamaican seaside village - no huge, generic buildings and elevators. You're up close and personal with the Jamaica flora and fauna.
For sun, you can either lie pool-side or opt for a more private station just steps outside your door.
There's a "town square," art galleries, boutiques, restaurants and cafes. It gives you a much more intimate experience than other all-inclusives.
The food alone is worth the price. Piacere Restaurant is the formal dining room - they'll provide a jacket if you forget to bring one. They serve nouvelle cuisine: I recommend the giant pan-sear scallop atop wilted spinach with ginger broth for an appetizer, followed by a salad, clam chowder soup - all leading to the aged beef tenderloin with port wine Pimento Reduction. Topped off with chocolate truffles.
But, that's only one dining option. Munasan is a casual Japanese restaurant, Victoria Market serves breakfast and lunch buffet-style, while dinner is served a la carte, and La Pasta is a casual sidewalk cafe.
Reggae Cafe RASTaurant serves traditional Jamaican favorites, and Pebbles and Beach Houses has light meals, everything from hamburgers to grilled lamb chops and 24-hour bar service. Each houses a terrace, bar and jacuzzi.
Oh, by the way, free, premium cocktails are part of the deal.
It's an active place, with a Caribbean Beach Party Night - every Wednesday on the beach, weather permitting, as well as a Caribbean buffet and a show or cabaret.
The Grand Gala Jamaican Street Dances happen Friday nights all around the town square.
They also do weddings - for free. There's a little chapel jutting out into the sea where the weddings are held, with waves crashing in the background.
There is a clothing-optional beach on the west side of the beach property - don't get all up in arms you prudes; it's very low-key and tasteful. There is also on-property pond fishing.
The resort has an excellent spa, with extensive treatments including manicure and pedicures, facials and massages, including a couples massage.
There is 24-hour valet service, 24-hour room service ... and did I mention the unlimited cocktails?
Or the piano bar, disco, sauna and steam rooms?
If you have to work, they have a business center with Internet access.
December 11, 2008
Simply select where you want to play, find a tee time deal, and golf now!