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Last fall I got the chance to play Port Royal in Southampton, Bermuda during the Invitational tournament of Gosling. I quickly fell in love with the view and the layout, and it easily became one of my favorite courses I have ever played.
While Bermuda was never on my wave card before this trip, I am more than happy to announce the word, because more golfers have to consider this golf course in their travel plans.
Bermuda & # 39; s Golf Crown Jewel
Most golfers do not know, but Bermuda is a great golf destination. Only a short flight from most east coast airports, it should get more attention than it does.
Golfers can choose from Port Royal, Turtle Hill, Belmont Hills, Ocean View and Tucker & # 39; s Point. Port Royal and Mid Ocean Club are the two most acclaimed courses on the island, but since Port Royal is a full public golf course, it is usually the best choice for visitors to the island. As a side note, even though Mid Ocean Club is completely private, the staff of Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa can get you there, which I have described in my review here.
Port Royal Golf Club hosted the PGA Grand Slam from 2009 to 2014. This brought the course (and the island) a lot of attention from golfers because they were able to watch the winners of every major championship to compete on the stunning layout.
Unfortunately, Port Royal lost the tournament in 2015, which has hurt golf tourism to the island.
After playing several rounds in Port Royal during my week at the Goslings Invitational tournament, I am here to tell you that this is a must-play destination. If you plan a golf trip, it should definitely be on your radar. This was my second trip to Bermuda and it is by far one of my favorite holiday destinations.
Tons of strategic decisions
After playing Port Royal several times and thinking about the layout of each hole, the course can test your decision-making well. Robert Trent Jones designed the course for the first time in 1970 and in 2009 it was renewed by Robert Rulewich as part of a $ 16 million project.
In my opinion, it is more of a tee shot course. I have never found myself in as many fairway bunkers as in my laps there. On almost every par 4 or par 5 there are bunkers in such a way that you think twice about your target and club selection. There are many landing sites that are squeezed by bunkers and are ready to collect your somewhat errant tee-shots.
In addition, several holes have some sneaky, difficult problems that you may not be aware of if you've never played the course before. For example, at 14 when you hit your tee, you shoot the left side up, your direct view of the green is blocked by trees. But if you play too much to the right, you will be greeted by a big bunker and some trees.
The tee-shot on the dog's paw, right 15, is perhaps the hardest. The left side is guarded by two large bunkers and if you go too far to the right, you lose your ball in some native bushes. Many players have placed big numbers on this hole during the tournament. Ignorance was the first time I played on the 15th, joy because from the beginning it is deceiving you to think that the landing area is more management than it really is.
On iron shots I found second-rate club selections because of the differences in altitude and wind conditions. Nothing is more challenging than the par 3 16th, the most famous hole in Port Royal. When you first arrive, you can not help admiring the beauty of the hole, but when you are on the tee box, things change quickly. In both rounds it was a swirling wind of the water, so I had to pull out three clubs. You can not help but you want to jump to the right, which can leave a frightening bunker shot to the ocean, or an extreme downhill shot of the Bermuda grass. On both days I was able to leave my photos on the short-right side of the green for easy up and down.
In general, wind, bunkering and altitude differences are the main defense of the courses. I had so much fun with Port Royal because there was so much variety between the different holes. Although I would find it a challenging job, it is also very playable for golfers of all levels, because there are quite wide landing points from the tee. It is a fair, interesting test of golf.
What a beautiful ride
Port Royal consists of almost two golf courses that have been merged into one. The clubhouse is at the highest point of the track and serves as a dividing point between most of the front nine and the rear. If you are fired from the first one, you will be taken off a steep change in altitude when you leave the ocean. The first seven holes are partly guarded against the sea breeze as you wander through a lush low. Most of the holes are previously guarded by trees and it looks like a tropical golf course in the interior.
As you make your way on the par-5 7th hole, conditions change abruptly both visually and with the wind. You are no longer protected by the hills and you get a clear view of the ocean on the 7th green and 8th tee box. The course is dramatically more beautiful at the moment because the ocean is in full view. However, this is where the wind can really show its teeth.
As you make your way up the 9th hole, you begin to realize where you are on a special piece of land. For the rest of the round you will be treated to a beautiful view of the light blue ocean of Bermuda. My view from the top reminded me of rounds I played in Hawaii. Put simply, Port Royal is one of the most visually stunning courses I've ever played and I think you'll feel the same.
Things come completely round when you turn off on the 16th hole. There are not many golf courses in the world with this kind of view, and it reminded me of my out-of-body experience earlier this year on the 16th at Cabot Cliffs in Canada.
When you travel to Bermuda, Port Royal must be at the top of your list. It is the best fully public course that the island has to offer and is consistently counted among the best in the world. My hope is to be back soon!