Jamaica Golf Guide
Jamaica is blessed with all the qualities of a world-class golf destination. In addition to excellent year-round weather, the topography, lush vegetation and scenic beauty of our tropical island also encourages creative golf course designs by imaginative golf course architects. Jamaica is also famous for its caddies: lively, entertaining, experienced, dedicated - with an uncanny ability to track down wayward shots and to read the breaks on even the trickiest greens. We invite you to play our courses for an unforgettable golfing experience:
Montego Bay is the island's golf capital boasting five championship golf courses, premium hotel accommodations, an international airport served by several major airlines, beaches and other recreational, shopping and entertainment facilities.
The former Ironshore Golf & Country Club is a links-style, par-72 course. Once referred to as Jamaica's gem in the rough, it's a demanding course with plenty of doglegs and bunkers to challenge your A-game. Since January 2000, SuperClubs has been polishing that gem. A beautifully decorated new clubhouse was built and a massive course renovation completed. The greens are in their best condition in 20 years, locals say. The 6,570-yard layout delivers what is expected - an entertaining golf experience, with several water encounters and a number of interesting blind shots. Fairways are separated by tall, frilly Australian pines, as well as flowering hibiscus and bough.
Designed by the renowned Robert Trent Jones Sr., the course opened in 1961 and since has firmly established itself as one of prized courses that the Caribbean has to offer. Measuring a massive, 7,119 yards from the back tees, it has been selected as host venue for several professional and amateur tournaments, including the Jamaican Open and the Dunhill Cup. The course boasts some of the trademark Jones features, including runway tees and use of the land's movement or the 'figure eight' routing that cleverly changes angles just enough to cause bewilderment on the windy days. The greens also demand special attention: while they are very playable, their shape and contour often force the better golfer to work the ball to get their approaches close to tucked pins, while leaving an opening for the novice player to run the ball in.
One instinctively marvels at the parcel of land on which Robert von Hagge-designed Cinnamon Hill GC (formerly Three Palms) at the Rose Hall Resort and Country Club. On an island blessed with lushness and topographical character and short on acreage, the layout moves from an open, windswept front nine into the lower elevations of the Blue Mountains on the back nine, where dense foliage traps the fairways of the incoming holes. Boasting interesting, serene, descriptive and sometimes downright intimidating names each hole has its own intriguing characteristics and is sure to leave behind a memorable experience. The surrounding scenery at #15 "Mountain Falls" is so striking, that a scene was shot here for the James Bond film Live and Let Die. The course is built on what was once a 400-acre plantation, and remnants of the area's history, including aqueducts, gravestones, and ruins of historic homes, offer a crumbling reminder of a land that once breathed a life of its own, long before golf.
Locals are quick to say that Annie Palmer still haunts the Rose Hall Great House and the estate- including the course built there on the grounds. The White Witch Course, designed by the team of Robert Von Hagge, Rick Baril and Mike Smelek, opened in August 2000 as the centerpiece of the Ritz Carlton Rose Hall Resort. Instead of traditionaltropical terrain, the layout is mountainous and rugged. The 6,718-yard course sticks to the high ground where there are cool breezes and ocean views on 16 holes. This elevated route can be intimidating, with its carries over jungle-like terrain, but the course intertwines with the mountains and provides golfers with some of the best views of the coastline.
Tryall's 18-hole, Ralph Plummer-designed championship course has played host to such prestigious international events as the Johnnie Walker World Championship, last won by Fred Couples in 1995. With holes that kiss the shoreline and flirt with the edges of jungle ravines, it is probably the most celebrated golf course in the Caribbean. The course stretches 6,772 yards from the ocean-side up into forested hills, past coconut groves, and back down to the sea along a route lined with flowering plants and magnificent trees. The signature par-three 4th hole incorporates the natural challenges of the Caribbean Sea and the Flint River, while the memorable par-four 7th hole provides a dramatic tee-shot through the stone pillars of the historic aqueduct that feeds the adjacent waterwheel. Tryall's homeowners, many associated with the club for generations, have preserved the atmosphere of charming gentility that has been "modernized out" of many other historic properties.
Nestled in the hills minutes away from Negril's famous seven-mile white-sand beach, golf enthusiasts will find this relaxed resort's hidden gem– the Negril Hills Golf Club. Famous for its elevated tees and greens, undulating fairways and emerald ponds, this layout promises an enjoyable round that's a perfect break from Negril's sand and sea. Built in 1993 by Robert Simmons, this 18-hole course spans 6,333 yards, cut into Negril's low, rolling hills. This topography makes for fast play, with snaking fairways and mildly sloping greens. It also reveals fleeting views of Negril's distant golden sands and calm seas. Along the fairways, coconut and other tropical trees dance in the soft sea breezes wafting in from the coast. This course is characterized by water hazards, boasting nine ponds that all come into play. Marshlands and sandtraps also lurk throughout the course, waiting to claim wayward balls.
SuperClubs Runaway Bay
On the main Street in Runaway Bay, twelve milesoutside of Ocho Rios and 42 miles from Montego Bay, you will find the SuperClubs Runaway Bay GC. The par 72 course was designed by Major John Harris from Britain and opened in 1960. From the Blue Tees, the course measures a long 6,870 yards with a slope rating of 124. The combination of the wind gusting up to 35 miles per hour, long rolling fairways with large flat greens and breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea, guarantee that golfers can expect an exhilarating experience whether they are beginners or accomplished players. The PGA-quality golf course has hosted many an international event including the MatchPlay games between the United Kingdom and the West Indies, the Jamaica Open and the World Cup of Golf Superqualifier tournaments.
Sandals Ocho Rios
Formerly known as Upton Golf Club, the Sandals Golf & Country Club was established in 1951 as a 9 hole course located 700 feet above sea level in Upton, a few miles east of Ocho Rios. The original 9-hole layout which, designed by P.K. Saunders, was expanded in the early 1960s to 18 holes. In June 1992, Sandals Resorts purchased the property and set about creating one of the most elite golf courses in Jamaica. The greens were rebuilt with Tifdwarf Bermuda grass and the fairways resurfaced with Bermuda grass. Although comparatively short– 6311 yards, par 71 from the Blue Tees, the course makes for a challenging 128 slope.
Carved into the rolling hills near Mandeville more than a century ago, the Manchester Country Club is Jamaica's and the Caribbean's oldest golf course. Boasting 140 years of history, it is easily the most unique in Jamaica with its nine greens and 18 tee locations. Founded as a Country Club in 1865 and soon after the Scots invented the game of golf, a golf course was built on the site. It is situated in the middle of the town of Mandeville, the capital of Manchester and has one of the most breath-taking scenic wonders, provided by the course's 2201 foot elevation. Although it is a private members club, it is open to the public and is one of Mandeville's main tourist attractions.
Located 9 miles outside Kingston, Caymanas GC rests in the foothills of St. Catherine and overlooks the parish's verdant cane fields, stretching all the way to Kingston Harbour. Designed by well-known Canadian architect, Howard Watson, in the 1950s, the course's hilly environment is brilliantly incorporated in the layout. Several of the 18 tee boxes are elevated while the fairways undulate in accordance to the topography of the craggy limestone hills. Stately Cotton and Guango trees line the fairways and guard the greens throughout the course's 6,844 yards, creating daunting natural hazards. Strategically placed bunkers and ponds also make for more challenging play. The Club, which hosted several Caribbean Championships, including the Jamaican Open, the Jamaica Classic and Shell's Wonderful World of Golf, is sloped at 123 from the Blue Tees and measures 6,844 yards.
Located in the heart of one of Kingston's nicest residential areas, Constant Spring was built in 1920 by Scottish architect Stanley Thompson, a mentor of Robert Trent Jones, making it one of Jamaica's oldest golf courses. It is a tight, short course with a breathtaking view at the 13th tee, and the challenge of driving to a narrow plateau of fairway beyond a steep valley. It has hosted all of the island's top players, many of the socially elite and more than a few concerts during its long history.
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