Nassau: The Tropical Golf Haven

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With two top-end courses and a plethora of 9-hole layouts, this resort city in the bahamas offers an exciting getaway for golf enthusiasts globally

NassauThe Bahamas is a playground for the rich and famous. And no prizes for guessing what would be the standard pastime of this class. There are some 700 islands in The Bahamas chain. But only a few are large enough to support a golf course including Nassau (New Providence).

From former World No. 1 Tiger Woods, popular American chat show host Oprah Winfrey, movie star Tom Cruise to two-time Major winner Greg Norman, everyone either has a villa or an estate to his/her name in Nassau.

The weather here is more or less hovering between 20 and 32 degrees Celsius throughout the year, making it an ideal holiday destination. An Indian may equate this weather with cities like Mumbai.

On my maiden trip to Nassau, one of the biggest resort cities in the Bahamas (for PGA Tour’s Hero World Challenge in December 2017), I realised it’s the perfect getaway for a golf traveller.

Less than an hour’s flight from Miami, eight hours from London and 3 hours from New Jersey, this is the best destination to rejuvenate yourself. White sandy beaches, clear blue waters, balmy breezes and consistent sunshine add to the excitement with the local cuisine (mostly seafood) and refreshing cocktails heightening your experience.

For gastronomes, the place offers endless selection of sea food from live lobsters to conch fritters and even avenues for fish catching. However, that’s not to take away from the increasing vegan community, who might feel left out in other countries.
[carousel_slide id=’2296′] Nassau boasts numerous restaurants and food joints which offer global food – enough to put all apprehensions to rest. A vibrant nightlife and a wide range of indigenous cocktails like Bahama Mama and Coconut Rum Pina Colada are enough to keep you in high spirits, literally!

Now to the golf. Nassau has two championship courses which are a must play for an average golfer.

The Championship Course, Albany

The Championship Course at Albany, the venue for Hero World Challenge, is an 18-hole par-72 desert links course, designed by Ernie Els. It utilises the essential limestone rock soil to create a breathtaking layout. What the course lacks in elevation, it makes up with strategically placed bunkers. It becomes quite challenging once the incoming breeze picks up during day time.

On the front nine, the par-4 350-yard 7th, a dog leg to the left, is the trickiest with large bunkers guarding the greens. One needs to curb the tendency to attack the flags as there are more chances of landing in the sand trap.

The 548-yard par-5 15th is one of the most demanding holes. One needs to be dead straight to be safe as a gentle breeze can easily carry the ball to the dunes on either side strewn with thick bushes. Tiger Woods’ ball had gone untraceable during the opening round of the Hero World Challenge and only someone with his skill could rescue himself from an unplayable lie on the dunes.

Only owners or resident guests are allowed to play the course with a night’s stay priced at US$ 2,500 (approx. Rs. 1.6 lakh).

Royal Blue Baha Mar

The newly-opened Royal Blue Baha Mar offers some breathtaking views and testing elevation changes that will inspire even newcomers to the game. The 18-hole Jack Nicklaus signature course is built on hills made of limestone rocks lending it the beautiful gradient.

Its a Tale of Two Nines. The front nine — with dramatic views of undulating fairways, rolling white sand dunes, brackish ponds and glimpses of a turquoise Atlantic Ocean — is everything one could wish for. The back nine, however, provides a very different look. Aptly called limestone ‘moonscapes’, the layout seems a randomly downhill jungle giving way to a lagoon holding the island green on the 16th. Every day, the visitors can hope to play a different course with the tees being pushed backward or forward by 100 yards depending on weather.

The most panoramic view of the course comes at the Hole 13-14 bi-junction with the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar hotel forming a picturesque backdrop.

(Read more in the March issue of Golf Digest India. Download here.)

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