Destination: Bermuda

BERMUDA -- Despite its small size, this tiny fish-hook-shaped island is a major golf destination.

The British territory that’s 22 miles long is just two miles wide at its thickest point. Warm air from the Gulf Stream keeps the climate mild in winter months, despite its northern locale 640 miles east of North Carolina in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. From April to October, Bermuda becomes a popular tourist destination thanks to strikingly beautiful pink-sand beaches. Many come from the east coast, where direct flights are short and convenient. The 1-to-1 exchange on the U.S. dollar and the chance to clear customs on the island before the return flight are major attractions as well. There are no rental cars on the island to get around, only cabs (although brave tourists rent scooters).

Two world-class courses -- The Mid Ocean Club and the Port Royal Golf Course -- highlight its 144-hole golf scene. Both courses have hosted the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, a showcase that pits the four major champions (or their substitutes) against one another every fall. What Bermudian courses lack in yardage -- only Port Royal is longer than 6,800 yards and none of the six 18-hole layouts are regulation par 72s -- they make up for with soul-stirring settings and strategic routings.

Golf was first played here at Riddles Bay Golf & Country Club. C.B. Macdonald, who would go on to become a legendary architect in America, finished The Mid Ocean Club in 1921. This private club, open to public play on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, dazzles visitors with ocean views and classic features such as The Cape Hole at no. 5. Its neighbor, the sporty Tucker’s Point Club, came on board in 1932 and was redesigned by Roger Rulewich in 2002.

The nearby 88-room Rosewood Tucker’s Point Resort debuted in 2009. A former Marriott, Tucker’s Point was entirely gutted and rebuilt to exude luxury and showcase its British roots. Best of all, the resort has a “relationship” with Mid Ocean that allows guests more access.

On the island’s south shore, the Fairmont Southampton offers an excellent par-3 course with ocean views, nice restaurants and a great location right across the street from Horseshoe Bay, a gorgeous beach. It is also closer to Riddell’s Bay and Port Royal, a 1970 Robert Trent Jones Sr. course renovated by Rulewich with a $14.5 million facelift in 2009.

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