Port Royal Golf Club, one of Bermuda's public courses and host for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf October 19-21, 2009, is located in Southampton Parish on the South Shore. Port Royal Golf Club has consistently been ranked as one of the best public courses in the world, thus it’s not really surprising that it’s also the most popular of Bermuda’s golf courses.
Port Royal has recently undergone some fairly extensive renovations, renovations its original designer, Robert Trent Jones, would certainly have approved of. Most significant of these, the fairways, roughs and tee boxes have all been re-sewn with 419 Bermuda grass and a new irrigation system has been installed to keep everything in superb condition the year round.
Many of Port Royal Golf Club’s bunkers have been redesigned; the tees have been rebuilt; and TifEagle grass has been established on the greens making the faster with a more consistent roll. The overall yardage has been increased by some 280 yards for a total of just over 6,840 yards making Port Royal the longest tract in Bermuda. All this, along with stunning new view of the ocean, make the layout a serious international venue.
Your round starts with a tough par 4, dog leg right of 432 yards and from there it proceeds, twisting and turning as meanders along through woodland, meadow, seashore and cliftop offering some of the most spectacular vistas on the island along the way.
The 4th – a shortish par 4 of 403 yards – handicapped 1 - is the toughest hole on the course. It’s a slight dog leg right, which in itself is not so much of a problem, especially if your natural tendency is to fade the ball. But that, unfortunately, IS the problem. Mr. Jones foresaw your beautiful fade and placed bunkers in the crook of the elbow of the dog leg at 235 yards and 263 yards, right where it’s sure to finish. Then, of course, there’s the green itself: bunkers to the front left and right and to the right rear – again in just the right place to capture that nicely faded ball.
Number 11, handicapped 2, is also a score killer. It plays straight down the middle, but the fairway is narrow and there’s a nasty patch of rough right in the landing area at about 200 yards out from the back tee, 160 yards from the white tee, and it stretches for 20 or 30 yards. If you play short of the rough, or if you can carry it – a drive of more than 250 yards - fro there, all you have to do is hit the small, elevated green – simple enough, except for the five bunkers that guard it right and left.
The 15th is yet another spectacular ocean-side hole. At only 384 yards off the back tee (337 off the white tee), it would seem to be not too much of a challenge. Hummm… Not so I’m afraid. With trees all the way along the fairway to the right, and nothing but ocean and spectacular drop-offs bounding the left side, you simply have to hit the fairway with your tee shot if you’re to have any chance at all of making a par.
And, talking of spectacular, there’s nothing quite so heart-stopping as Port Royal’s signature hole: the Par 3, 176-yard 16th. Yep, the view is stunning, but it’s one of those delightfully intimidating stretches where there’s nothing between the tee (you) and the green but ocean and rocks (see photo). And then, even if you manage to negotiate the “gap,” the large is green is heavily guarded on all sides by bunkers strategically placed by the erstwhile Mr. Jones.
Finally, we come to the finishing hole; handicapped 8, it’s toughie, a par 4 measuring just 405 yards off the back tee. From an elevated tee, the 18th is uphill all the way. The temptation is to under-club. If you do, the hole could mean a disastrous finish to an otherwise respectable score, always supposing you made it through 16 with the same ball you started with. So, the game-plan at 18, then,is to take at least one more club than you otherwise would. Oh, and don’t be long – the back of the green is heavily bunkered.
The Club House:Finally, when the golf has been played, the clubs stowed away, and the shower taken, all that’s left is to talk about the game we just played – what went wrong, what went right – over a pint or two best draft beer. And, I can tell you this, there are several club houses I’ve seen with more spectacular views than those from the Port Royal Clubhouse, but not many. The food is typical golf club fare: steaks and such for dinner (with chips, of course) and it’s open for breakfast and lunch too. Afternoon tea, anyone?
Typically Bermudan (British, if you like). Proper golf attire must be worn at all times: no jeans, T-shirts, short shorts or shirts without collars, even on the driving range and especially in the clubhouse.
PGA Grand Slam of Golf: Port Royal Golf Course will again host the PGA Grand Slam of Golf October 19-21, 2009.
- Regular $180 per round, including cart and practice balls.
- Sunset, usually after 3pm depending upon the season, starts at $70 per round, including cart.
- Practice balls are $6.
- Club rentals – $50
How to get There:
The closest airport is Bermuda International Airport. The airport is served by most major US airlines, including United, Delta, US Air, American, and Northwest, and by Air Canada and major airlines from Europe and the United Kingdom.
Look for the best airline and car rental deals with these two aggregators, which provide travelers with an up-to-date search tool to compare prices on airfares and car rentals of all ratings:
Port Royal Golf Course
5 Middle Road
P. O. Box SN 189 Southampton, Bermuda SN BX.
Phones: Office 441-234 -0974 (fax) 441-234-3562. Pro Shop 441-234-0972; Tee Times 441-234-4653; Golf Pro (fax) 441-234-3630; Restaurant/Bar 441-234-5037; Tennis Courts 441-238-9430 or 238-9070.
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