It is no accident that some of the greatest sportsmen in the world find golf irresistible as a way to get away from it all and test themselves against themselves for a change. Here in Barbados, Sir Garry Sobers loves his golf and is still playing regularly at the age of 86 at Sandy Lane. Sir Garry strikes the ball so purely he could easily have been a world-class professional golfer. Brian Lara and his cricket buddy Jason Holder can be seen regularly crossing swords at the Barbados Golf Club. Internationally, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Stephen Curry, Pete Sampras, Ian Botham and Dan Marino all love playing golf. Jordan so much so that he built his own golf course in Florida and hosts his own Celebrity Golf event.
It’s a way to get away from your phone, in the fresh air surrounded by nature, and one of the reasons that so many of the world’s top corporate executives are also attracted to golf. It is also arguably the best networking sport for business and meeting the right people. Where else can you get four hours with someone you want to do business with and get to know them? Mark McCormack, the creator of sports marketing and founder of IMG said, “After a round of golf with someone, you will know if you want to do business with him or her”.
The post-COVID world is thankfully now a different place and golf has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of all sports. Participation levels have increased dramatically worldwide, and more and more young trendy executives are discovering this ancient game that was founded in Scotland.
The natural bat-ball talents from their cricket heritage makes it easy for Barbadians to take up, play and enjoy golf. It has now been introduced in the schools through a programme at the Barbados Golf Club that is widely recognised as the ‘Home of Golf in Barbados’. The ‘Golf For All’ ethos, which the club was founded on, encourages players to play on a golf course that provides a well-rounded test. The designer Ron Kirby, of Old Head fame in Ireland, created a links-style test for the breeze at Durants that is ideally suited for single figure golfers, but also for beginners to learn and develop their skills. It’s the only affordable 18-hole golf course in Barbados for locals, as well as visitors staying on the South Coast who want to play golf regularly during their stay in the early morning before retiring to the beach and other activities on the island. The friendly, casual, social atmosphere while mixing with the locals is appealing to many who appreciate being able to get out and about around Barbados.
The other courses on the west coast – Sandy Lane, Royal Westmoreland, and the newly renovated Apes Hill, which has been described internationally as ‘the Caribbean’s New Masterpiece’ – are all truly world-class and as good, if not better, than anything else in the region. All three have different styles and personalities, and for those that can afford them they will not disappoint.
Barbados is now the ‘Hidden Gem’ of golf destinations in the Caribbean.