Barbados is a coral island whose gently sloping hills lend themselves beautifully to picturesque fairways and challenging greens. A top Caribbean golf destination, this small island boasts four choice courses, each par-72 and with its own alluring beauty and intriguing challenge.
Apes Hill Club
This Platinum Coast course opened in 2009 to widespread acclaim. Its position at 1,000 feet above sea level rises above most of the island, opening up to sweeping sea views. The course was designed with natural landscape in mind, and it’s earned distinction as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. There’s a variety among each of the course’s holes, both in degree of difficulty and in beauty. Each of the nines start off with par fives into prevailing winds, and they each close with holes that are downwind and downhill, offering forgiveness at just the right moment. Keep your eyes open at hole 13, where monkeys are known to scamper about.
This Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed course, also on the island’s Platinum Coast, draws you in with its friendly opening holes. By the time you’ve navigated the course’s 98 bunkers, you’ll be ready to celebrate with a well-deserved pint at the elegant colonial-style clubhouse. Barbados’s beautiful geology is exposed at holes 5 and 6, where the remains of an old stone quarry have left small coral stone cliffs on display. The elevation here varies widely, but one thing remains the same from the first hole to the 18th—you’ll find beautiful ocean views and lush island greenery at nearly every turn.
The Green Monkey at Sandy Lane
Sandy Lane is renowned as Barbados’s finest resort, and at this west coast destination you’ll find three golf courses. The most impressive, the Green Monkey, is a Tom Fazio design named for the primates that call Barbados home. In fact, there’s an homage to these mischievous little monkeys at the par three 16th hole, where a monkey-shaped grass island in the bunker is sure to make you smile as you play your way through this 226-yard downhill hole. You’ll definitely want to opt for a caddy here; their tips for navigating the course may not always align with your first instincts, but more often than not they’re right.
Barbados Golf Club
This public course may not be as glamorous as the island’s other courses, but for the occasional golfer who wants to check “play 18 holes in Barbados” off their travel to-do list, it’s an excellent option. Located in the southern parish of Christ Church, this Ron Kirby-designed course circles a pretty lake. The vibe here is rather laid-back, but several of the holes still present some difficulty—namely, holes three through five on the front nine, and 10, 13, and 16 on the back. Finish off your outing with fish cakes or vegetable samosas and a beer overlooking the 18th hole at the clubhouse’s Nineteen on the Green bar and restaurant.