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Sandals/Beaches Golf in Ocho Rios

Oh how I missed hearing those words.

I have been to this country many times but not for several years now. There is something about the accent and the warm greetings that quickly create a bond between visitors and the people who live here.

We left Winnipeg on the morning of Saturday, November 10.

The first major storm of the year had just blown in overnight and would only get worse that day.

We worried about our plane taking off but it lifted and headed south without any difficulty.

This is the annual golf outing I take with my son Carey, a first for destinations outside the United States. Our favourite place has been the San Antonio district of South Texas with equally enjoyable stops in Florida.

Since we never know how warm the temperatures will be in those destinations from year to year it was time for the greater certainty of this southern clime.

Our first two nights would be at the Sandals Montego Bay Resort. Since Sandals is a couples resort they have no rooms with two double beds. Carey was not excited about sleeping on the cot they gave him. But Hurricane Sandy, the same Sandy that struck the New York/New Jersey areas, also brought enough havoc to Jamaica to create enough damage to the Beaches Ocho Rios resort we were supposed to stay in that it had to be closed for clean up and repairs.

Sunday would be our first day for golf, a full hour and a half away at the Beaches/Sandals course in Ocho Rios, our original first stop in our Jamaica golf tour.

We arrived for a 1 PM start under skies that turned from sunny and bright to menacingly dark in the distance, with winds blowing the clouds in our direction.

What a beautiful course is is. Well manicured and carved into rolling hills that easily rival those of Texas.

Our opening tee shots and subsequent follow up strikes keep the clouds at bay it seemed.

Then hole two brings darker skies and that calming of winds and eerie quiet that signals something bad is about to happen.

In minutes the sky breaks open with a sudden downpour that has us taking refuge under a tree until the rain passes. But it does and we carry on our play.

A hole later we find another tree for shelter as the rains, now heavier begin to penetrate our cart as our caddie uses my umbrella to keep himself dry.

The rain stops and we continue hoping it will not repeat itself. But the black sky moving towards us defeats those hopeful thoughts.

In minutes we are in the centre of a torrential downpour such as I have never experiences. We are totally ready to give up our hope of a completed first round. But the rain is so heavy that the cart path becomes flooded as we try to navigate our cart back to the clubhouse.

Red soil from the course is washed onto the paths causing the cart to spin preventing us from gaining traction. It is a long slow journey back but eventually we make it back…wetter by far than either of us have ever been on or off a golf course.

I will take a snowstorm any time…even with the freezing cold.

The Rolling Hills Sandals Ocho Golf

But golfers tend not to be quitters, and we were determined to experience this course again. So Monday morning we were off again for an early start back in Ocho Rios. Under mostly clear skies throughout the day we enjoy our first full round of golf on a course that will stay in our memories.

On virtually every hole you are either going uphill or downhill and frequently shooting off side hill lies…a challenge for those of us whose courses lack that much dramatic change in elevation so consistently.

Notwithstanding Carey’s cot, Sandals itself is always an excellent place to stay. Spacious grounds, multiple restaurants, and sand, beach, ocean, and pool, all a few footsteps away.

But we are on a tour and at the end of the day on Monday we head over to the Ritz Carlton to experience its outstanding service and golf on one of the most famous golf courses in the Caribbean, the White Witch.

Tuesday we face the daunting task of trying to conquer her complexities.

Room View from Sandals Montego Bay

If you are thinking of travel to Jamaica or any other south destination call us to book at 204 942-5000 or toll free at 800 869-6354. Book online at www.renaissancetravel.ca

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