Bermuda Golf Courses Review
20 Oct 2013
by Pete Wlodkowski of AmateurGolf.com

see also: Mid Ocean Club, All Course Reviews


Mark Twain spent found inspiration on the Islands of Bermuda, penning articles that he would send by telegraph to San Francisco for publication, and holding court at the Hamilton’s Princess Hotel (now the Fairmont Hamilton Princess) where he liked to stay.

He famously said, “You can go to Heaven. I would rather stay in Bermuda.”

Twain may not have been much of a golfer (remember he also said that golf was “a good walk spoiled”) but the golf in Bermuda is, in fact, heavenly.

I recently had a chance to enjoy several of Bermuda’s best, while attending the PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Port Royal Golf Course. Here is a rundown of the courses I played, with a brief mention to those I didn’t have time to tackle:


The crown jewel of Bermuda golf courses was designed by famed Scottish architect C.B. Macdonald and opened for play in 1921. Examples of classic hole templates like Biarritz, Redan, and Cape are peppered through Mid Ocean’s links-style landscape, which has been restored to play more like it did in 1921 by the removal of over 1000 trees. Mid Ocean is a private club, but guests of major hotels like the Fairmont Southampton or Fairmont Princess can be introduced through the hotel’s concierge. Mid Ocean is ranked 47th among all courses outside the USA. As you drink a “dark ‘n stormy (Goslings Black Seal rum and ginger beer) after the round, you can smile at the course’s early mission – it was founded to escape the reaches of prohibition.


Port Royal Golf Course 
Bermuda The famed 16th hole at Port Royal Golf Course (amateurgolf.com photo)

Sure, Port Royal is home of the famous 16th, a 235-yard par 3 along ocean cliffs where Lucas Glover famously said after winning the 2009 PGA Grand Slam of Golf “man I’ve never been so nervous on a shot.” The 8th at Port Royal is another beauty; this time instead of playing alongside the aquamarine waters they frame the entire backdrop. The rest of the course, which was originally designed by Robert Trent Jones and opened in the early 70s, was recently remodeled by Trent Jones protégé Roger Rulewich, who did much of the shaping during the original project. The result is a public course that stands up to Tour player standards, much like Torrey Pines in San Diego. No golf trip to Bermuda would be complete without visiting Port Royal.



Directly across from Mid Ocean lies another classic layout that originally opened for play in the 1930s and for years had been known as Castle Harbour. Roger Rulewich presided over the club’s redesign in 2002 and today the enjoyable par 70 layout (which puts a real premium on an accurate tee ball and good iron play) is another must play on the island. A perfect day of golf would be to play Tucker’s Point and Mid Ocean on the same day, with lunch at the Tucker’s Point clubhouse, overlooking the course and ocean. The Rosewood Tucker’s Point resort is one of the most luxurious places to stay on the island; it offers unlimited golf packages and the option to include access to Mid Ocean Club.


Turtle Hill Golf Club 
Bermuda Turtle Hill - Hole No.2 (amateurgolf.com photo)

Turtle Hill is ranked No. 5 among the world’s par 3 courses for good reason. The well-manicured layout has one interesting hole after another. Some are uphill, some are downhill, and many have views of the gorgeous waters of the Atlantic below. Cameras may come out on the 5th tee, for example, but you should put them away quickly to concentrate on the precision downhill mid-iron shot required to hit the green. Turtle Hill is fun to play alone, or with your family.

But the best way to enjoy the fun of “taking dead aim” eighteen times may be to bring a few groups out and have a big skins game, as Padraig Harrington recently did the day after the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Director of Golf Anthony Mocklow runs the Bacardi World Par 3 Championship, a 54-hole test of iron play and short game that brings talented pros and amateurs to Bermuda each March.

Riddell’s Bay Golf & Country Club and Belmont Hills Golf Club are par 70 courses located fairly close to each other along the Hamilton Harbour in Warwick. Riddell’s Bay (the oldest course in Bermuda) was designed by pioneering American architect Devereux Emmet (who designed Congressional CC’s Blue Course, among 100s of others) and opened for play in 1922. I will surely make it a point to test my game at Riddell’s Bay the next time I visit Bermuda, having enjoyed a classic Devereux layout at Leatherstocking Golf Club in New York earlier this summer. Belmont Hills Golf Club is part of the Newstead Belmont Hills Resort, which also features golf packages. The course has a 14,000 square foot double green, the only one on the island. To check out a video travelogue of my trip, click on the image below.



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