Golf tips and expert instruction, golf club reviews and the latest golf equipment.
Thank you for signing up to Golf Monthly. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.
Imagine golfing in paradise on a variety of courses on different islands with your luxury hotel following you around. Rob Smith discovers that golf cruising offers exactly this…
Golf in the Caribbean
What could be better than visiting new and different courses playing the game you love in friendly company and the sun? P&O Cruises operate around the world, and last year I was lucky enough to fly out to Barbados to join their flagship, the huge and massively impressive Britannia.
I had assumed, naively, that it would be canteen catering and conveyor-belt service. I could not have been more wrong. The variety and quality of the restaurants and bars, and the entertainment and activities on offer, are massively impressive.
Old Quarry - Curaçao
Our first stop was Curaçao - part of the Dutch Antilles and home to Old Quarry on the Santa Barbara Plantation. Architect Pete Dye is famed for his distinct and stylish courses, and this scores very highly on both fronts. Opened in 2010, Old Quarry starts along the shore.
The course then heads round to a beautiful lagoon and marina which acts as a stunning backdrop throughout. Never before had I been watched by iguanas as I played, but these striking creatures have a significant presence here and really add to the tropical ambience.
Old Quarry is a serious test of golf, packed with strong holes, and a very special place to play.
Tierra del Sol - Aruba
Following a good night’s sleep, we awoke in Aruba where Tierra del Sol is an extremely enjoyable Trent Jones Junior design that is completely different to its neighbour. More forgiving off the tee, it runs over a gently undulating and quite vast sandscape.
There is both a desert- and links-style feel as the front nine runs to and from the lighthouse.
It is on the back nine, however, where the drama really unfolds. Fourteen is a fabulous par 5 running alongside beautiful marshland, and we were lucky enough to see one of the long-legged burrowing owls that live on the course.
The fifteenth is as perfect a par 3 as you will find; a mid-iron over water to the most wonderful and naturally-sited green.
And at the next, a 356-yard par 4, the strangest thing happened! Throughout the week I was playing with Dean Wingrove, the Head Pro’ at Wimbledon Park, and entertainer Jonny Wilkes, both perfect company. Here, perhaps for the first time in my 40-year golfing experience, my 3-ball all birdied the same hole!
Our final golfing port of call was the gorgeous island of St. Lucia where the course at St Lucia Golf Club is on rolling land through old rainforest and plantation. There are some excellent holes with the 8th being a picture-perfect par 3 over water.
The back nine is particularly strong and the eleventh is a wonderful long par 4 with an inviting drive from on high before a demanding approach to a narrow green with a large water hazard waiting on the left.
Doglegs abound, and the round finishes with the prettiest little par 3 over a pond that could sum up the whole trip; lovely, tropical, memorable.
There is no doubt that the Britannia is a first-class ship in every respect, and for any golfers interested in cruising - even more so if they have travelling companions who don’t play - this would be the perfect way to play some lovely and quite different courses all from the same wonderful hotel.
Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly since 2012 specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played 1,150 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions last year, he still managed to play 80 different courses during 2021, 43 of them for the first time. This included 21 in 13 days on a trip to East Lothian in October. One of Rob's primary roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but nine. Rob is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DeChambeau Withdraws From PGA Championship
The 28-year-old has admitted defeat in his attempt to return from wrist surgery at Southern Hills
By Mike Hall • Published
Which Players Have Won A Golf Grand Slam?
Just one player has won a Grand Slam, while five have won a career Grand Slam
By Mike Hall • Published