HAMILTON, BERMUDA - Bermuda is a place that conjures up images of pink beaches and tropical, art deco architecture. But for savvy travelers, Bermuda is more than just a sun tan in waiting. This secluded, semi-tropical island paradise is a wonderful golf destination that is lies in proximity to most major cities on the east coast.
While such headliners as Mid Ocean and Port Royal stand as must-plays, hidden gems like Riddell's Bay and the Fairmont Southampton Princess are also worthy of your time. The former Castle Harbour course, which has been revamped and will reopen as the new Tucker's Town Golf Course, promises to round out the top five.
While the natives will tell you they are not a part of the Caribbean, the lush setting and beautiful water are clearly what lead to the confusion by the mainlanders. The tiny island (only 22 miles long and 2 miles wide) is set in the Mid-Atlantic and is less then two and a half hours from any eastern gateway.
The climate is semitropical and the year-round average 78 degrees (F) lends itself to golf throughout the year. However, January and February are usually the best golf months as temperatures are slightly cooler and the fairways are less crowded.
Mid Ocean, the fabled golf course that was laid out in 1921 by Charles Blair Macdonald, is the beginning and ending point of golf conversation in Bermuda. MacDonald is one of the fathers of golf design in the United States, and his design credits include National Golf Links in Long Island, Chicago Golf Club and of course the Old White course at the Greenbrier.
Mid Ocean is set along the northeast side of Bermuda, and the dramatic ocean backdrop provides a scene to behold on both the opening and closing holes. The undulation and ponds on the property create a different Bermuda golf experience on the course's inland holes. Mid Ocean has hovered around the top 100 courses in the world for many years, and is still considered one of the world's best tracks.
Riddells Bay Golf Course - Riddell's Bay Golf & Country Club, opened in 1922, is Bermuda's oldest golf course. Winding along a peninsula, which, at its widest point, measures only some 600 yards, these scenic links provide golfers with a magnificent challenge to both their game and camera. The first hole is unquestionably the most difficult opener on any of the island's courses.
5,713 yards of some of the most scenic golf holes on the Island. This venerable course has been enticing golfers the world over since 1922 with its tight fairways and small, narrow greens. A private club that is open to the public only at certain times.
The Riddell's Bay Golf & Country Club course was originally designed by architect Devereux Emmett who shortly afterwards, built the Congressional near Washington, D.C., the site of the 1997 U.S. Open. Just as Congressional was remodeled by Robert Trent Jones, and again more recently by his son, Rees Trent Jones, so is Riddell's Bay gradually acquiring a new look. It is intended to make the best of contemporary course design, brought about by constantly higher standards of play, as well as greatly improved golf equipment, clubs and balls.
The course plays to just 6,561 yards but boasts the most well known and talked about golf hole on the Island - the famous 16th hole, par 3. You'll find the wicked genius of Robert Trent Jones in the well-trapped greens and winding, bunkered fairways. Such luminaries as Jack Nicklaus rank this among the world's best public courses.
The Reefs crowns a coral cliff in Southampton, Bermuda, overlooking its own private pink sand beach. This small hotel features 67 guest accommodations, including three oceanfront suites and eight junior suites, and an additional seven Cottage Suites featuring the luxury and privacy of a Bermudian home with all the amenities, services and convenience of a first-class resort.
Each is tastefully decorated; featuring recently added hot tubs on private decks, which offer picturesque views of the turquoise waters that surround Bermuda. One of the hotel's most notable treasures is its dedicated and long-term staff - some have been with the hotel for 40 years. Call (800) 742-2008 for reservations.
January 8, 2001