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Bermuda FlagGolf

Bermuda's Golf Courses and Ranges

Nine, in our total of 21 square miles of land area

line drawing

By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) exclusively for Bermuda Online

Bermuda Golf at Mid Ocean Club

Bermuda Golf at Mid Ocean Club. Photo: Bermuda Tourism

Introduction

Golf was introduced to Bermuda when British Army officers brought their golf clubs in the late 1800s. Unlike tennis which was, golf did not get to the USA via Bermuda. In Scotland, UK, home of golf, the sport was introduced to the USA in the 1880s via the Dunfermline Golf Club to the Yonkers Golf Club and spread from the latter to all over the USA. Unlike in Scotland where anyone can play and visitors are welcomed by all clubs, private clubs in Bermuda  welcome non-members only with an introduction from a member or if they are staying at an associated hotel (for example, at the Mid Ocean or Tuckers Point).  Most Bermuda clubs are private but three - Ocean View, Port Royal (Bermuda's second best) and St. George's (presently closed) - shown below - are public courses owned by the Bermuda Government (in other words, Bermuda taxpayers) but are not free, charge fees. All the latter three has a management committee, Board of Trustees and golf pros approved by the present government. 

They are shown alphabetically below, in more detail.

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Bermuda golf tournaments include

2019. November 5. Brendon Todd entered rich company in more ways than he could have imagined on Sunday after shooting a record-equaling 62 to win the PGA Tour Bermuda Championship by four strokes. In carding 24 under par to almost lap the field, the 34-year-old Pittsburgh native joined none other than Tiger Woods in becoming the second player in the 2019-20 season to win an inaugural PGA Tour event. While 80 wins separate men who are miles apart on the order of golfing pedigree, they are united in having overcome great adversity. Woods’s travails have been well chronicled, the most recent being another knee surgery that preceded victory at the Zozo Championship, which tied him with Sam Snead for the most PGA Tour wins at 82. But, for Todd, the road back from the yips, a run of 36 missed cuts out of 37 and a return to the lower reaches of professional golf presented a different challenge. His first tour win at the AT&T Byron Nelson Classic in 2014 had seemed a distant memory, 100 starts ago, and there were genuine thoughts of walking away from the sport to start a business. The thousands who gathered at Port Royal Golf Course are grateful he found his way back, for they were witnesses to a virtuoso performance that put the tournament to bed before the turn and elicited genuine hope of seeing a magical 59. A sub-60 round has been achieved only ten times on the PGA Tour, with Jim Furyk’s 58 in the final round at the 2016 Travelers Championship being the record. Todd needed two birdies on his final three holes to join that illustrious company, but finished par, par, bogey to match the course record set by Scottie Scheffler in the first round on Thursday. “With two or three to play, I was trying to shoot 59, so I had to play a little more conservatively on 17 just because there’s no reason to give anything back, so I didn’t make birdie there,” he said. “[From there] I pretty much knew 59 was out the window, but I was still playing smart and laid it back off the [par-five 17th] tee. Then I missed the green left and then I’m like, well, I want to shoot a bogey-free 61 today.” Sole possession of the course record went when a six-footer for par at the last drifted past the hole for his only blemish of the day, but unlike Furyk whose 58 did not come with a winner’s cheque — the 2018 US Ryder Cup captain finishing joint fifth at TPC River Highlands — Todd takes home $540,000. He also pockets 300 FedEx Cup points, gains exemption on the tour through the 2021-22 season, and has earned a place at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the PGA Championship, The Players Championship, well established as “the fifth major”, and six other invitational events this season. 

2019. October 1. More than 20 partners and sponsors have come on board for the inaugural Bermuda Championship. The PGA Tour event is scheduled for October 28 to November 3 at Port Royal Golf Course. Bermuda Tourism Authority is the tournament’s title sponsor, while Digicel is the official telecoms partner and the Fairmont Southampton is the official hotel partner. The founding partners are Butterfield Bank, Caliburn, Hamilton Princess and Beach Club and Island Construction. Sean Sovacool, the tournament director, said: “The success of any PGA Tour event relies upon investment from the local business and corporate community. We are delighted to form partnerships with so many organisations in such a short timeframe. We are grateful to every business leader and company who have lent their support to this historic new event, the community and our participating charities.” Other sponsors are:

2019. June 13.The PGA Tour Bermuda Championship. Port Royal Golf Club.  October 31-November 3. "We are excited to add the Bermuda Championship to the PGA TOUR beginning next season,” PGA Tour executive vice president Ty Votaw said. “Bermuda is an appealing year-round destination, and the players will love visiting in the fall, plus we will be hosted by an outstanding golf course. It promises to be a wonderful opportunity to showcase Bermuda - a beautiful island destination that embodies genuine hospitality - to the world.” The Bermuda Tourism Authority will serve as the tournament's title sponsor through 2023. Port Royal previously played host to the now-defunct PGA Grand Slam of Golf, featuring the year's four major winners, from 2009-2014.

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Bermuda Golf Association

Victoria Place, 31 Victoria Street, Hamilton HM 10. P. O. Box HM 433, Hamilton. Phone 295-9972 or fax 295-0304.

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Bermuda Golf courses shown separately below

Designers of the ten local courses include Charles Banks, Deveraux Emmett, Robert Trent Jones,  and Charles Blair Macdonald. There will eventually be a new one on the 250 acre former US Naval Annex in Southampton Parish  - in an area now re-named Morgan's Point - but it is several years away. Many international events occur in Bermuda. Check directly with  the golf clubs shown below for rates for playing, tee-off times, temporary or regular memberships, carts or pull carts, clubs, lessons and any specials. Golfers in these islands since the 1940s have included Dwight Eisenhower, Jack Kennedy, Richard Nixon, George Bush and Jimmy Carter; Winston Churchill, Harold Macmillan and Edward Heath; Britain's Royal Family; and Babe Ruth. They, Bob Hope and countless others have enjoyed local conditions. Some local golf clubs give lower rates to local senior citizens who are members but not to non-locals. Golfers can now book up to 60 days before tee off.

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Belmont Hills Golf Club

Belmont Golf Course, by Government Information Services25 Belmont Hills Drive, Warwick Parish, WK 09. Telephone (441) 236-6400. Fax (441) 236-0694. Check rates directly with course depending on time of day and time of year. Private but will accept off-the-street golfers by prior appointment. features include Sunset Rate. Carts are mandatory for most of the day. It was designed originally by Deveraux Emmett and first opened for play in 1924. Formerly the Belmont Golf Club, then connected with the now-defunct and destroyed Belmont Hotel, mostly recently the Belmont Hills Golf and Country Club.  From September 2001, it became under the management of Belmont Golf Course Management Ltd, 97 Middle Road, P. O. Box WK 251,   Warwick WK BX. For visitors who arrive at the airport on one of the commercial airlines or cruise ships, the closest cruise ship berth is City of Hamilton, about 4 miles away to the east. If you bring your own clubs, you won't be able to go by public transportation (bus). Instead, take a taxi. Or if without clubs, consider taking the # 8 bus - the only way by public transportation - most of the way to the course. 

It has an 18 hole. 6,017 yards long course, par 70. Facilities include a pro shop, snack bar and restaurant. A periodic Golf Special including green fees and cart is available from Monday to Friday for tee times from 2:00 pm. It closed in January 2002 for up to 15 months, for very extensive renovations (shown below). The course was reopened on June 1, 2003. It is more challenging, less hazardous and more attractive, designed by Californian Algie Pulley and his son Jeff, both of whom had had earlier carried out improvements at the former Castle Harbour course. This one has greens made faster by Tiff-Eagle sprigs, fairways made more lush by an irrigation system and a million-gallon lake located between holes two, seven and eight. Golfers are steered away from residential areas.

Holes 1 and 2 remain much the same s before but the third dog-legs up towards a new green just below the 4th green. The original 5th hole became the 4th and the original 6th the 5th, with a new green further to the left than before. The original 7th became a new par-five 6th winding its way through the lakes, with the  7th a new par-3. Rather than a dog-leg, the 8th is short, tight and straight and 9th almost the same but with the green moved slightly to the left with a new clubhouse to the left. The old 10th is the present 15th and 11th is where the 14th was. Each has new greens. The present par-5 10th became an even longer 12th, with a new green on the original 11th fairway. The 11th became the 13th, a straight par four over the existing "Ian Crowe" lake.

With safety in mind, the old 12th became the 14th, directed away from houses to the right. The 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th remain much as they were, except the 16th has a new green 30 feet to the left to take play away from homes on Belmont Road. Rubble taken from the demolition of the old Belmont hotel was used to fill in the large hollow on the 18th, long considered the most unfair of the golf course. With protected caves underneath the fairway, decisions were taken on how best to level out the land.

Overall, accurate iron play, rather than big hitting, is the key to success on this course. Take care to try to avoid hitting the ball into the lake. 

2018. May 10. An innovative six-hole tournament was launched at Belmont Hills Golf Club in an effort to widen the game’s appeal and help reverse a decline in participation on the island. The Bermuda Golf Association is hoping the Corona Golf Super6 tournament will also spark interest in the sport among those not classed as traditional fans. Craig Brown, the BGA president, said the event is in line with shifting patterns towards shorter and more dynamic sporting formats such as Twenty20 cricket, rugby sevens, and super-sprint team triathlons. Players of varying levels can sign up for the tournament, which will involve teams of four competing for points every Thursday from May 17 for six weeks in a relaxed and fun environment. There will be a week off on May 24 because of Bermuda Day. “The BGA has been keeping abreast of global patterns in the game,” Brown said. “Globally, the golf landscape is changing, and Bermuda is no different. The number of rounds played per year are decreasing, our membership numbers are reducing and golfers are finding less available time to enjoy a traditional full round of 18 holes.” Brown believes the event, a dramatic break from tradition in local golf, will attract social golfers, with players being encouraged to wear team shirts or football jerseys. The maximum gross handicap will be 24 for men and 30 for women. “The inaugural Corona Golf Super6 is open to all golf clubs, community clubs, sports clubs, corporate companies and groups of friends,” Brown said. “We want to encourage people to come together, have fun and enjoy golf in a fun, alternative format. It is our intention, the Corona Golf Super6 will appeal to a large cross-section of our community and bring some fun activity to the local golf scene.” Six-hole golf has been elbowing its way into the mainstream, with Ireland winning the second edition of the European Tour’s GolfSixes at the Centurion Club in St Albans, England, last weekend. Another sign of golf’s attempt to modernize came at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans last month, which included a two-man format for the second successive year. “On both sides of the Atlantic, over the last few weeks, we saw both of the two major golf tours hosting new formats of the game,” Brown added. “The Golf Sixes in Europe and the two-man team event at the PGA Tour stop in New Orleans were introduced last season, both designed to inject fun and engage with a younger audience.” The BGA intended to launch the competition, which will feature modified Stableford scoring, a 75 per cent handicap adjustment, and a shot clock, last summer but delayed plans as the island’s focus was on the 35th America’s Cup on the Great Sound. Brown emphasized that the BGA remained committed to protecting the traditional 18-hole format and will continue rolling out its full calendar of major amateur championships. “While we fully understand purists of the game may have a different outlook with a new format, we feel in order to grow, we need to adapt,” said Brown, who added that additional points will be awarded to teams including female players. The BGA still offer a full, traditional golf calendar, hosting the major amateur championships, and our monthly medals throughout the island.” The team entry fee is $1,200 for six registered players, including 36 holes, green fees and a cart. Any four of the six registered players can represent the team. Special guests, including visitors to the island, can play for a team and register on the day of play for $100. All proceeds will go towards the Bermuda Golf Foundation in aid of the BGF Golf in Schools and Young Pro Programmes. The event is sponsored by Corona Extra, Premier Tix, Belmont Hills, Divots and APEX Physio. The two best net scores on each hole will count for points. The accumulated total of modified stableford points over the six holes will produce a team total for the week. Each team will receive points dependent on their weekly six holes and placement in the field. Ten additional bonus points are available for mixed teams. Week one to three will be straight points. Week four to six will be double points. The champions will be the team that accumulates the most overall points. Points

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Castle Harbour

See "Tucker's Point."

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Mid Ocean Golf Club

Mid Ocean Club, Bermuda

Photo: Bermuda Tourism

1 Mid Ocean Drive, Hamilton Parish (East End). Phone (441) 293-0330. Fax (441) 293-8837.  Bermuda's number one private course. A private club, an introduction is needed from a member, or try an hotel's Social Desk or cruise ship's Shore Excursion office.  The first three holes run parallel to the ocean. Designed originally by Charles Blair MacDonald to fit into the natural terrain. It was a par-71 layout, over 600 acres of rolling countryside, 6,519 yards from the back tees. MacDonald won the first US Amateur Golf Championship in 1895 and later designed the National Golf Course in the USA.  The course first opened for play in 1921 and was officially declared open in 1922. Ralph A. Kennedy of Mamaroneck, NY, regarded at the time as the "Dr. Livingstone of Golf," rated it one of the five best courses in the world in the 1920s. It was revised in 1953 by international golf course architect Robert Trent Jones.  In the 1990s this course hosted the Merrill Lynch Classic and later the Gillette Classic. All the greens were re-built in 2002. The club played host to the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in 2007 and 2008.  Today, it is ranked the 47th best golf course outside of the United States by Golf Digest. In October 2015 it hosted the inaugural Nike Golf PGA Team Championship of Canada and it is hoped this can be repeated. 

Distinguished persons who have played there include heads of state as Presidents Dwight Eisenhower; Richard Nixon; John F. Kennedy; Jimmy Carter; George H. W. Bush and Dwight Eisenhower; The Duke of Windsor; Winston Churchill; Harold Macmillan; Edward Heath; former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. Golf celebrities have included Sam Sneed and baseball icon Babe Ruth. When the latter, normally as good with a club as he was with a bat, played the 433-yard fifth, known as the "Cape," he knocked eleven straight balls into Mangrove Lake before finally driving one over the hazard.

For visitors who arrive at the airport on one of the commercial airlines or cruise ships, the closest cruise ship berth is Town of St. George, about 5 miles away to the south west. If you bring your own clubs, you won't be able to go by public transportation (bus). Instead, take a taxi. If without clubs, take the # 1 bus to property and walk. Check rates directly with course depending on time of day and time of year. Private but will accept some off-the-street golfers by prior appointment if referred by a member. Ask about playability on the day you have in mind.

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Ocean View Golf Club 

(9 holes, Government-owned)

Ocean View Golf2 Barker's Hill Road, Devonshire Parish DV 05. P. O. Box DV 358, Devonshire DV BX. Phone (441) 295-9092. Fax (441) 295-9097. A Bermuda Government-owned public golf course, the regulatory agency of which is the Ministry of Tourism, charging membership fees to locals and admission fees to tourists and visitors. A 9 hole par 35 course over 2,819 yards.  In the past, the trustees and Government had relied on the Port Royal course to subsidize Ocean View. The problem with Ocean View is the traffic. It's only nine holes so unlike an 18-hole course you can only have so many on the course at any one time. Ocean View historically has been a working man's club and was taken over by Government in the 1990s but before that it was run by the members. The site of one of the units of the clubhouse here was once a grand old manor house known as Watlington House, now used as a storage facility. It was used for British Army purposes during World War 2. The former Fort Langton and part of its structure were used as the foundations for the clubhouse after the war and more of the former fort became the bus garage in the 1970s. On the field below the bus garage, now the golf course, were two US Army posts during World War 11. One was a unit of the US  Army Signal Corps and the other was the US Army's Artillery, at APO 856. It was a unit (including 1st Platoon Battery A)  of the 423rd Field Artillery Group, under the command of Captain F. W. Clipper, US Army. For visitors who arrive on one of the cruise ships, the closest cruise ship berth used to be (until 2007) the City of Hamilton, about 5 miles away to the east, but is now Dockyard, about 12 miles away. If you bring your own clubs, you won't be able to go by public transportation (bus).  Instead, take a taxi. Buses only go a part of the way. Check rates directly with course depending on time of day and time of year. Public. Ask about playability on the day you have in mind. 

2018. February 8. The golf club that removed the colour bar in the sport was honored by the Governor. John Rankin presented the Ocean View Golf Club with the memoirs of former governor Sir Julian Gascoigne, who presented the club with the Governor’s Cup in 1964 to help in its battle to overturn the island’s racial segregation. Cheryl-Lynne Thompson, president of Ocean View, said it was “the first golf club on the island that allowed black Bermudians and those of Portuguese descent to play”. She said: “At a time of need, it was supported by Sir Julian, as Governor of Bermuda, including through the holding of a meeting at Government House, to which members of the House of Assembly were invited. Ocean View then played a key role in bringing about the desegregation of golf in Bermuda.” Ms Thompson added that the club will celebrate its 64th anniversary on Sunday and mark the journey in which black members worked hard to create a golf course from overgrown farmland. She added club members had “a lot of financial worries hanging over their heads” during its history and it had been twice hit by arson. The Government bought the land in Devonshire in 1961, but two surviving members of Ocean View’s original executive board can trace its roots back decades beyond that. The Reverend Vernon Lowe, Ocean View’s first president, joined past executive member Harrison Simons to talk about the club’s past. Mr Lowe said A.B. Place, editor of the Bermuda Recorder, asked the land-rich Gibbons family for help to create a proper golf course. Mr Lowe said: “They developed a nine-hole golf course named Ocean View. Mr Place was the first president in the organisation of the golf course, and I was the first president in the operation. My brothers, and others who were interested in golf, used to get down on their hands and knees and pull up the sage bushes so we would have a fairway to play golf until it was constructed and then we, with pride, decided to formulate a golf organisation and here we are.” Mr Lowe added the drive to develop Ocean View went back to “the late 1930s, early 1940s. It’s because of the capability of golfers that we had as colored people. We were complaining at not being able to play the other courses without going down there first thing in the morning, 5am, to play. After we got organized and started playing here, I wrote a column for the Recorder called ‘Up and Down the Fairway’.” The column caught the attention of Sir Alexander Hood, Governor from 1949 to 1955, who invited Mr Lowe, now 91, to have tea at Government House, where they discussed the issue of “bringing together the races”. Mr Lowe said: “I informed him that Bermuda was too small to have such a division of the races.” The cause was taken up by Sir Julian, Governor from 1959 to 1964, who gave the club “a huge cup, still being played for”, to help unite a racially fragmented community. Mr Lowe added: “It did help in some aspects. Ocean View played Mid Ocean on this course, and they went also to play at Mid Ocean. It did bring about some change in the environment of the Bermuda Golf Association.”

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Port Royal Golf Course 

18 holes, Government-owned.

Port Royal Golf Course

Photo: Bermuda Tourism

5 Middle Road, Southampton Parish, SB 02. Mailing address P. O. Box SN 189, Southampton, Bermuda SN BX. Phone (441) 234-0974. Fax (441) 234-3562. It opened in 1970 as a Robert Trent Jones-designed 18 hole, 6,561 yards par 71 public course. Re-opened in January 2009 after a final-cost $15.9 million (originally $7 million budgeted) renovation of the 37 years old course including increase of the course yardage by 281 yards to 6,842 yards. In June 2006, the Bermuda Government's House of Assembly passed an Act that switched responsibility for the Government golf courses from the Ministry of Works & Engineering to Tourism. It hosts many tournaments and has been the home of the Bermuda Open. Sunset golf is from 4:00 pm with a reservation. Since it re-opened, a $3,000 initiation fee became applicable, plus a yearly subscription of $3,500, but some elderly Bermudians are exempted from the former. Also, Bermudians pay 30% less than visitors. For visitors who arrive on one of the cruise ships, the closest cruise ship berth is Dockyard, about 8 miles away. Buses go to nearest stop about 600 yards away. If you bring your own clubs, you won't be able to go by public transportation (bus). Instead, take a taxi. Check rates with course depending on time of day and time of year. This is the highest-rated by far of Bermuda's two government-owned and run courses, considered one of the best - and most expensive - of world public courses. More rounds are played here than on any other Bermuda course. The signature hole has been the 176-yard, par 3 16th, the small green of which, perched on the edge of the coastal cliffs, has become notorious. Drive too far left and the ball ends up in the ocean. Site of the October 19-21, 2009 and 2010 PGA Grand Slam venues. With these in mind, in a $14 million Bermuda taxpayers investment, the greens were rebuilt, a huge amount of earth was moved by bulldozers, new sand put into trickier bunkers, cart paths repaved, a landscaping project completed, a new restaurant - 64 Degrees - and bar, pro shop and locker rooms,  re-routing two holes, creating new bunkers, a computerized irrigation system from tees to greens, and the planting of TifEagle on redesigned greens. Bermuda Cedar trees also replaced Casuarinas and the course was lengthened to 6,842 yards, to make it the longest on the Island. The reverse osmosis plant produces 250,000 gallons of water per day on 1,200 new sprinkler heads.  Here, as grounds workers, until September 2010 the Bermuda Government employed four men, Uighurs, who were once prisoners of the USA at its notorious Guantanamo Bay detention camp as suspected terrorists. 

2019. October 3. The local qualifier for the upcoming Bermuda Championship will take place at Port Royal Golf Course as originally planned, tournament organisers announced yesterday. Mid Ocean Club stood prepared to host the qualifier after tree damage caused at the Southampton course by Hurricane Humberto. However, the Bermuda Championship tournament committee said speedy clean-up of debris by dedicated ground crews has ensured that Port Royal will be ready to host the 36-hole qualifier on October 16 and 17. The qualifier will determine the final two local participants for the inaugural tournament from October 31 to November 3, also at Port Royal. “It is a testament to the hard work of the grounds team that we can bring the local qualifier home to Port Royal Golf Course,” said Patrick Horgan III, the tournament executive director. “The work completed to date to get the course back in tournament condition following the succession of storms and inclement weather is remarkable. That said, we remain extremely grateful to the Mid Ocean Club for offering to accommodate us at such short notice.” With more than 40 downed trees and piles of debris removed, maintenance staff have now been able to refocus on the 80 bunkers that are being restored at Port Royal. Work is set to be completed by the end of this week. Entries for the local qualifier are open to professional golfers, amateur golfers and applicants for reinstatement. To be eligible to compete in the local qualifying event, participants must meet the following criteria:

Entries officially opened yesterday and the fee is $250 for all eligible competitors. Players wishing to enter the event are asked to visit the BGA website at www.bermudagolf.org to access the online application and review the Conditions of Competition.

2019. October 1. More than 20 partners and sponsors have come on board for the inaugural Bermuda Championship. The PGA Tour event is scheduled for October 28 to November 3 at Port Royal Golf Course. Bermuda Tourism Authority is the tournament’s title sponsor, while Digicel is the official telecoms partner and the Fairmont Southampton is the official hotel partner. The founding partners are Butterfield Bank, Caliburn, Hamilton Princess and Beach Club and Island Construction. Sean Sovacool, the tournament director, said: “The success of any PGA Tour event relies upon investment from the local business and corporate community. We are delighted to form partnerships with so many organisations in such a short timeframe. We are grateful to every business leader and company who have lent their support to this historic new event, the community and our participating charities.” Other sponsors are:

2019. August 17. A company run by a Cabinet minister has won a contract to import thousands of dollars worth of sand to improve a golf course’s bunkers in the run-up to a major tournament. Island Construction Services was the successful bidder after the Government issued a request for proposals as Port Royal Golf Course prepares for the first PGA Bermuda Championship in the autumn. Zane DeSilva, the president and chief executive of Island Construction, is also the Minister of Tourism and Transport. A government spokeswoman said yesterday that the firm made the best submission and was the lowest bidder. She added that all government contracts worth more than $50,000 were published. The spokeswoman said: “The tender process was open and transparent and in accordance with the financial instructions guidelines. Submissions received were reviewed and closely scrutinized by technical officers. After a thorough review, a prudent decision was made based on the best submission and lowest bidder.” No information was provided about the value of the contract or how many submissions were received. The RFP was open for ten days last month with a deadline of July 25. It said: “Following the recent announcement that Bermuda will host a PGA Tour event at Port Royal Golf Course in October, the Government is now seeking proposals from suitable qualified and experienced entities for the ‘turnkey’ importation and delivery of both bunker sand and top dressing sand to Port Royal Golf Course.” The contract details said the 3,000 tonnes of bunker sand must comply with United States Golf Association recommendations and that the colour of 1,000 tonnes of top dressing “shall be clearly identified, for approval by the ministry”. The RFP said that laboratory test reports on the size of the sand particles would be required. Samples of the sand would also have to be sent for analysis by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries “to obtain official approval to import the sand to Bermuda”. Mr DeSilva told the House of Assembly last month that he would provide an itemized list of the work to be done on the Southampton course, along with the budget for the improvements, in response to questions from Michael Dunkley, a One Bermuda Alliance MP. The Opposition member had highlighted that the sand traps lacked sand. Mr DeSilva said then: “The itemized list is being finalised as we speak. As the member with his past experience knows, these things take a little time. As soon as we have those completed, I will gladly bring all those details to this House by ministerial statement.” Mr Dunkley, during the motion to adjourn a week later on July 26, said: “If sand has to be replaced in all the traps, it’s going to be a significant expense, probably in excess of a couple hundred thousand dollars. It would take some time to get here, unless we have sand on the island and I’m not aware that we do have sand on the island.” He added that he had seen Island Construction vehicles “in the sand traps doing some work”. Mr Dunkley said then: “I would like to know what the budget will be, what contracts have been given out for the work, what’s the scope of the work that has to be done, what challenges we face with the irrigation system, with the water supply or anything like that.” Mr DeSilva was not in the House of Assembly at the time and MPs heard he had been off the island on business. Mr DeSilva did not respond to requests from The Royal Gazette for comment this week. A special report issued in October 2014 by then Auditor-General Heather Jacobs Matthews faulted a $24.5 million restoration project at Port Royal and criticized the awarding of contracts worth $1.6 million and $1.2 million to one company without being put out to tender. The report pointed out that a board member, who was also a Member of Parliament at the time, had owned the company. A Public Accounts Committee later heard that the excavation contract went to Island Construction, the only company that submitted a bid. Mr DeSilva is a former trustee of the course and at the time was an Opposition MP. The Bermuda Championship is expected to involve professionals who do not qualify for this year’s World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions event in China. It will run from October 31 to November 3 and have a $3 million purse.

2019. August 9. Thousands of dollars worth of sand is expected to be imported to fill bunkers before the first PGA Bermuda Championship in the autumn. A notice on the government website invited proposals for the supply and delivery of 4,000 metric tonnes of sand to Port Royal Golf Course. It gave a detailed breakdown of specifications and explained that submissions should include laboratory reports and that samples will be needed for tests on island. Greg Maybury, the golf course general manager, said the bunkers needed to be filled regardless of the upcoming competition and that the sand will meet US Golf Association standards. He explained on Wednesday: “Even if we weren’t having this event, we would look to have this type of sand. The sand has been depleted over the years, we needed it anyway.” Mr Maybury said that the last delivery was about ten years ago, before the PGA Grand Slam of Golf was held at the course between 2009 and 2014. He explained that play and stormy weather contributed to the loss of sand from bunkers. He said: “The sand gets blown out, we haven’t been able to replenish it, we’re putting the sand back, if you wish. Typically, golf courses fill their bunkers every year, we haven’t been able to do that.” The request for proposals was issued by the Ministry of Public Works last month. It said: “Following the recent announcement that Bermuda will host a PGA Tour event at Port Royal Golf Course in October, the Government is now seeking proposals from suitable qualified and experienced entities for the ‘turnkey’ importation and delivery of both bunker sand and topdressing sand to Port Royal Golf Course.” Project particulars showed that 3,000 metric tonnes of bunker sand must be “fully compliant with applicable USGA recommendations”. The notice explained: “Bunker sand shall be silica sand, white in colour, very angular and with a low degree of sphericity.” It said the hydraulic conductivity — the rate at which water moves through the sand — must be 24 inches an hour or more. And a “fried-egg lie test” will determine the likelihood of any balls becoming partially buried in the bunkers. Requirements for 1,000 metric tonnes of topdressing sand included that more than 60 per cent of the particles will be fine, medium and coarse, between 0.15mm and 1mm. The notice added: “The colour of the sand shall be clearly identified, for approval by the ministry.” It said: “Laboratory analysis reports for both the physical analysis and particle-size analysis of the sands from an accredited laboratory are required. Proponents must be prepared to provide additional documentation verifying the material properties and performance characteristics, on request of the ministry.” The material was expected to be delivered to the golf course no later than September. The notice added: “The successful proponent will be required to submit samples of the sands to the Department of Agriculture & Fisheries (Plant Protection Section) for local analysis and testing, to include nematodes testing, to obtain official approval to import the sand to Bermuda.” No suggested budget was provided in the notice and it was understood costs vary depending on quality and shipping arrangements. One New Jersey supplier said premium bunker sand could cost up to $40 a tonne — which is less than a metric tonne — with some damp topdressing sand priced at about $20 a tonne, although it was thought that dry sand could be a better option because of the delivery distance. Freight and delivery costs would be additional. The Bermuda Championship is expected to involve professionals who do not qualify for this year’s World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions event in China. It will run from October 31 to November 3 and carry a $3 million purse. The Royal Gazette asked for further information about the RFP, which had a submission deadline of July 25, but the Ministry of Public Works declined to comment.

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St. George's Golf Club (reopening in late 2020)

Government owned, closed for now.

St. George's Golf1 Park Road, St. George's GE 03. North of and near Town of St. George. Not on bus route. An 80 acres scenic 18 hole par 62 course over 4,043 yards, first opened in 1985. This was one of the last designed by Robert Trent Jones Senior prior to his retirement. Cruise ships pass by. Extensively renovated in most of 2006 to 6,000 yards and redesign by top British golf professional and winner of six Major tournaments Nick Faldo, by his corporation Faldo Design. The 18th hole is named after Bermuda's first Governor, Richard Moore.  One of the greens overlooks historic Fort St. Catherine.

For golfing visitors who after 2019 will be arriving at the airport on one of the commercial airlines or cruise ships, the closest cruise ship berth is the Town of St. George, about 2 miles away to the south. Until it closed, many cruise ship visitors played this course. Buses (# 1 or 3 or 10 or 11) go part of the way. 

2019. July 16. Developers are hoping to complete a comprehensive makeover of St George’s Golf Course before the end of next year. Hotelco Bermuda Holding Ltd, which is building a new hotel and residences near St Catherine’s Beach, is also revamping the former government golf course, which was closed down by the club’s trustees more than a decade ago. Now the group is asking for the public’s support in keeping motorized vehicles and horses off the course as work progresses on the reconstruction of key course features, including green and tee boxes. December 2020 is the target for the completion of the course overhaul. Meanwhile the 120-room hotel, which will be operated by St Regis, is about 30 per cent complete, according to Hotelco Bermuda’s general manager Laura Purroy. She added that the residences are about 15 per cent complete and that Hotelco hopes to have a model room and a model residence built before the end of this year. There are 128 workers on site, of whom 68 are Bermudian. Another beneficial economic side-effect of the project is that Hotelco rents 25 homes in the area to house some of its guest workers. It also buys 60 meals a day from Somers Supermart and a further 30 meals from the St George’s Club. On February 18 this year, the Hotelco team began clearing vegetation including small trees from the overgrown golf course. Five months later, the clearing work is now 90 per cent done and the team is already working on the next phase: reconstruction of key features, including tees, greens and bunkers. Ms Purroy said: “This work has been a pleasant experience for all the team, especially thanks to the kindness of the people of Bermuda and the beauty of this wonderful island. We are grateful for the support we have received from our neighbours to preserve the work already done at the course. As we advance our efforts to restore this beautiful course to its former glory, we would like to request the support of the public in refraining from driving motor vehicles or riding horses on the golf course. As work progresses, certain golf cart paths will be restricted for the transit of private vehicles. The public’s understanding in this regard will help our efforts to create a first-class golf course, which will be enjoyed by the people of Bermuda and our visitors alike for many years to come, a course for the island to be proud of.” Salomon Valles, landscape and hardscape supervisor and the chief engineer for the project, said: “It is very important to mention that this is mostly a restoration project with just two new holes and the upgrading of the greens contours done by Steve Weisser of Reeds Jones golf architects. “Our main mission is to make this golf course environmentally friendly, socially responsible and economically sustainable, and with that in mind we are going to use materials that are available in Bermuda, many of them recycled materials.” Recycled glass, for example is being used in new drainage trenches, while the sand dug out during work on the hotel is being used in golf course reconstruction work. Alexander Capitillo, the golf course redesign supervisor, said there would be a change in the route of the course, with the old 18th hole becoming the new first hole, and the 18th now being down near the hotel. He said the tenth, which follows a stretch of spectacular coastline, will be the course’s signature hole. A 120-space parking lot will also be provided, close to a practice area, ideal for players to practise their short game. The course will total about 3,600 yards and will be par-60, with 12 par-three holes and the rest, par-fours.

2019. May 27. The rebirth of the former St George’s golf course has been welcomed by an East End MP. Kim Swan, the Progressive Labour Party MP for St George’s West and a former professional golfer, said the work, being carried out for the new St Regis Hotel, had made “good progress”. He added: “It’s made a huge difference to the aesthetic of the community.” Mr Swan said: “I would go so far as to say it’s increased people’s property values in one fell swoop. It’s certainly made the area more appealing. A finished product will add a great economic benefit to the community, when you factor in that a good golf course can play between 20,000 and 40,000 rounds a year depending on the marketing.” Mr Swan highlighted deterioration of the course after it closed in 2008. Hotelco Bermuda, the developer of the new hotel, said clearance work at the course started in February and the job was 90 per cent finished. The developers will begin the reconstruction of main features such as greens, tees and bunkers, as well as starting to install a water-efficient irrigation system, over the next three months. Two new holes and a change in the play route will also be created. The course will be a par-60 to allow for a shorter play time.

With the new St. Regis Hotel being built, with completion due by 2019, the Bermuda Government has confirmed the new course will be taken out of state hands and run (although will still be owned by the government) by the hotel development company. When reopened, the course will likely be offered to both St. Regis Hotel guests and the general public.

Re-opened briefly in part in May 2011 after being closed since July 2008, as a joint venture with the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, the St George’s Club and the government's Economic Empowerment Zone (EEZ). The course was then maintained at a similar level to municipal courses in the UK. But because it was losing money for the Bermuda Government which owns the course and the latter wanted to allow for building of a planned adjacent new Park Hyatt hotel it was again closed.  The hotel development never began until April 2017, which is why the golf course has remained closed. 

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Tucker's Point Golf, Beach & Tennis Club

Tucker's Point Golf Club

Tucker's Point Golf. Photo: Bermuda Tourism

60 Tucker's Point Drive, Hamilton Parish (East End). Phone (441) 292-6970. Fax:(441) 298-4001. Originally designed by Charles Banks and Robert Trent Jones for what was then the Castle Harbour Hotel, with later amendments by Californian Algie Pulley, it began as an 18-hole course, but was cut back to 9 holes during World War 2. It became a challenging 18 hole, par 71 course over 6,440 yards with sea views, when it was opened by the Governor of Bermuda in December, 1959. It has a scenic opening hole and incredible views. But with closure of the Castle Harbor hotel, it became 9 holes from January 10, 2000. It was completely re-vamped and reopened in April 2002 as 18 holes again. Of a very high standard, it is a private club for members only, similar to the Mid Ocean Golf Club. A par 70 course.  The re-vamped Tucker's Point Golf, Beach and Tennis Club was formally opened in December 2004. Numbers 13 and 17 are new signature holes, back to back in east and west directions. # 17 has sweeping views of Tucker's Town and Castle Island.  #13 has a panorama of the entire north coast and west end of the island with spectacular vistas and sunsets. The old number 10 is now number 12, reconfigured. Number 9 has been re-laid. Rye grass, Bermuda grass and a hybrid Bermuda grass have been used. The facilities also have clay tennis courts. 

For visitors who arrive at the airport on one of the commercial airlines or cruise ships, the closest cruise ship berth is the Town of St. George, about 6 miles away to the east. Take a taxi as buses (#1) go only to nearest stop about half a mile away below the hill. Check rates directly with course depending on time of day and time of year. Private but will accept off-the-street golfers by prior appointment.  Ask about playability on the day you have in mind.  

Situated between the harbors of St. George's and Castle Harbor, Tucker's Town was so-called because it was intended by a Bermuda Governor by the name of Tucker to be a port to rival St. George's. But it was far more exposed to the weather and failed to attract many early settlers. So it was never built. In 1781, 40 acres of cotton were found growing here, which led directly to the British government encouraging the planting of cotton as a commercial crop in 1788.

The golf driving range was once a neglected, not dug-up, cemetery. Ancestors of present-day black Bermudians (the great majority) are buried there. The tiny gravesite is surrounded by a wall of fairly recent vintage. While it contains the remains of only 12 or so known graves of the last century it is believed many more black men, women and children were much earlier planted without graves or coffins in the golf greens outside the wall. The original Tuckers Town - see http://www.bermuda-online.org/seestgeo.htm then under "Tucker's Town - of which this golf course is a part - represented a Black community initially of free Blacks, and later of emancipated Blacks who struggled and successfully created a safe and isolated environment for their families by building their own school and church, and creating a community made up of land owning farmers, pilots and fishermen. Their lands were acquired by Bermuda Government (then white) compulsory purchase order in the 1920s for commercial tourism development.

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Turtle Hill Golf Club

Fairmont Southampton Golf Course

Turtle Hill Golf Club. Photo: Bermuda Tourism


Fairmont Southampton Hotel, 18 South Road, Southampton Parish SN 02
. For reservations call (441) 238-8000. Fax (441) 238-8968. The golf course is part of and adjacent to the Southampton Princess Hotel complex. An 18 hole par 54,  manageable yet quite challenging course over 2,684 yards. With superb marine and landscape views. Carts are mandatory and included in the green fees. There's a pro shop, tennis courts, bar and restaurant. Single Annual Membership; Double Annual Membership and an Initiation Fee. Members get special benefits. 
For visitors who arrive on one of the cruise ships, the closest cruise ship berth used to be (until 2007) the City of Hamilton, about 5 miles away to the east, but is now Dockyard, about 8 miles away. If you bring your own clubs, you won't be able to go by public transportation (bus). Instead, take a taxi. Buses (# 7 or 8) go only to nearest stop about half a mile away below the hill. Check rates directly with course depending on time of day and time of year. 

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Bermuda Junior Golf Association

P.O. Box HM 224, Hamilton, HM AX. A very successful local sports development program, begun in 1975 when the Bermuda Golf Association (BGA) formed the Golf Development Committee which forged the basic development for junior golf in Bermuda. 

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Bermuda Government's involvement

It invests hugely annually in public golf course expenditure. The Board of Trustees of the Government-owned golf course pays over $3 million a year in salaries at Port Royal alone, including consultants for the course.  Mechanics at the government golf courses earn over $63,000 a year while the General Manager earns over $115,500 and Assistant Superintendents earn between $80,000 and $93,000.   

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Boards of Trustees of the three Bermuda Government Golf Courses

Bermuda Government appointed under the Golf Courses (Consolidation) Act 1998. See Bermuda Government Boards

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Executive Women's Golf Association (EWGA)

Formed in 2012 to cater to female professionals looking to up their game both on and off the golf course. The Bermuda Chapter of Executive Women’s Golf Association (EWGA) held informational sessions.  Initially funded by the Department of Tourism and supported by golf directors from the Bermuda’s golf courses. The international organization consists of more than 14,000 members in over 125 countries.

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PGA Grand Slam of Golf, in Bermuda 2007-2014

The Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) organization was formed in the United States in 1916 at the instigation of Rodman Wanamaker, a Philadelphia businessman, with the stated purpose of promoting interest in professional golf, elevating the standards of the game, and advancing the welfare of its members. By the early 21st century, the PGA had a membership of more than 25,000 playing and teaching professionals. The PGA Grand Slam of Golf is for the winners of the four majors in golf — the Masters, the US Open, the British Open and the PGA Championship. It was held yearly in Bermuda from October 2007 through 2014 at considerable cost to Bermuda's taxpayers. The Department of Tourism struck a deal with the PGA of America to play the prestigious 36-hole, $1.25 million event  initially at the Mid Ocean Club (see below) from October 16-17, 2007, again in 2008 at the same place, then from 2009 to 2014 at the renovated Port Royal, instead of in Hawaii. It reached a worldwide audience of 88.9 million US homes and international viewers in more than 100 countries.

2014. Won by German professional golfer Martin Kaymer. Had a purse of a $1.35 million with the winner receiving $600,000. Second place was worth $300,000, third place $250,000 and fourth place $200,000. In 2014 it featured PGA and Open Champion Rory McIlroy, Masters winner Bubba Watson, US Open champion Martin Kymer and Jim Furyk, 

2013. Won by Masters champion Australian Adam Scott who broke the course record with a 7-under 64 to win by two shots over U.S. Open champion Justin Rose.

2012. Won by Padraig Harrington.

2013 PGA Grand Slam winner Adam Scott

Adam Scott with Premier

Bermuda 2013 PGA Grand Slam winner Adam Scott and below, with Bermuda's then-Premier Craig Cannonier. Winner is wearing Winner's Pink Jacket with Bermuda Crest, presented by Mr. Cannonier.

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Authored, researched, compiled and website-managed by Keith A. Forbes. Last Updated: July 5, 2020
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