Golf in Jamaica? What’s not to like? And any beach vacation (with golf) is a good vacation. When you think of a beach vacation, the most popular warm choices are Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Jamaica. All four destinations have golf, but only Jamaica combines a real laid back Caribbean holiday with some of the most spectacular golf courses you will find anywhere in the world.
Jamaica travel choices are plentiful. Air Canada has daily non-stop flights to Montego Bay from Toronto and seasonal non-stop services from other Canadian gateways. The list of Jamaican resorts could fill this entire article but a few of the better choices are Half Moon Resort, Ritz Carlton Resort and the Rose Hall Hilton Resort. There are also seven Sandals Resorts with access to the Sandals Golf Club. But you’ll need to stay at either the Sandals Royal Plantation or Sandals Grande Riviera to be anywhere near the Sandals Golf Club.
Caddies are mandatory on all courses in Jamaica. If you’ve never played with a caddy a word to the wise – ask the distance to the hole (instead of them telling you which club to play) and follow their putting suggestions – they are always right!
I have had the good fortune to play five of the following top courses in Jamaica:
This is definitely the most challenging course in Jamaica. Tom Fazio designed this course, which is 6,859 yards. The course was carved out of Rose Hall Plantation and features Caribbean Sea views on 16 of the 18 holes – some of the most spectacular golf course views in the world. Stay and play packages are available if you stay at the Ritz Carlton Resort.
The course, which was designed by Robert con Hagge is 6,637 yards, and features several holes along the ocean coastline. You can spot plantation relics along the course. Johnny Cash one owned a house beside the course. There are great views on almost every hole. It is located in Rose Hall and nearby White Witch. The Rose Hall Hilton Resort is right beside the course, and offers golf packages.
This course 7,119 yard course is classic Trent Jones, and is situated directly across the street from the Half Moon Resort. It’s a long, mostly flat course with lots of room. Half Moon makes a great vacation for golf in Jamaica.
This classic old Jamaica course is about 30 minutes west of Montego Bay. Ralph Plummer designed this course. It is 6,772 yards, lush and well groomed but very much a “country club”. Be on your best behaviour – members rule.
Sandals Golf Club
Formerly the Upton GC, Sandals purchased the club in 1992. It has a Golf Digest four star rating for courses to play while on vacation. A nice course consisting of 6,502 yards and located in Ocho Rios. I always ask for and play with the same caddie, Rudolph. I’ve now known him for years. Green fees are included with your stay at Sandals Resort. Cart and caddie charge are extra.
If you are a golf enthusiast, want to hit a ball alongside the ocean and just enjoy the views, this is the place. With its unique and laid back culture, great scenery, tropical climate, and world-class golf, golf in Jamaica has it all.