Listen to those who know Jamaica best tell their stories of why you may want to go there on your next vacation, especially if you golf.
2 Minutes Michaela Barnes Account Supervisor Finn Partners
10 Minutes Kieth Steen Director of Golf Course Operations White Witch and Cinnamon Hill
17 Minutes Guy Steuart Chairman Half Moon Resort
29 Minutes Ewan Peebles Director of Golf Tryall
36 Minutes David Barber Director of Marketing Tryall
There are not a plethora of golf tracks in Jamaica, but most of them that are there, are quite spectacular.
The White Witch course is worth playing for the view alone. But there is no lack of challenge on most holes to satisfy golfers of every level.
As fellow travel writer Erik Matuszewski of Forbes online magazine described, “The views at the White Witch were stunningly impressive, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more nerve-wracking opening tee shot in golf, especially when the wind is howling at 800 feet above sea level”.
During my 4 day stay we would also golf the Cinnamon Hill, Tryall, and Half Moon courses.
In addition to the spectacular vistas offered, the Cinnamon Hill course, over its18 holes, is a trip through Jamaica’s history.
The course is cut out of what used to be a large sugar plantation. On the 2nd hole you are looking head on to the very Great House of the then plantation owner, Annie Palmer, which had previously caused me such putting nightmares at her namesake golf course.
The poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning is buried in the old cemetery along the 4th hole. Along the 7th hole you will go by an imposing aqueduct, built in the mid 1700’s.Behind the dramatic 15th green is the waterfall that was the backdrop for scenes in the James Bond movie “Live and Let Die”. And you can walk the line directly to the front entrance of what was the home of the man who was once the king of country music, Johnny Cash.
Tryall is not a golf course you or I can just choose to golf on. It is a private course owned by the less than100 multi-millionaires who own property on the large estate. However you can golf it anytime you like if you rent one of these palatial homes when the owners are away. Most of the homes range from 5 to 7 bedrooms, and for approximately $20-$25 M USD per week in high season you can enjoy the services of the butler, maid, chef, and groundskeepers whose services are all included in the price. It’s a lot of money, but if you do the math, five couples sharing comes to about $2000 USD per person, not that much different from a high end all-inclusive resort.
One cannot live by golf alone. One of the most memorable meals was shared at what might be viewed as a ‘hole-in-the-wall’ restaurant. The fresh off the grill Jerk Chicken and other Jamaica specialties, served alongside a couple of Jamaica’s famous Red Stripe beers at Scotchies were exceptional. After a game of golf it doesn’t get much better than that. We got used to searching out good Jerk Chicken options.
Over the years I have golfed in Jamaica many times. It was the first Jamaica experience for Marty Kaufman, Travel Editor for Golfweek magazine, who had this to say, “With regard specifically to the golf, it was better than I anticipated. This was my first visit to Jamaica, and I was struck by the diverse topography of the courses. One moment you might be playing on a seaside hole, and a few holes later you’re up in the hills trying to navigate really rugged terrain.”
For me personally it may have been my 10th trip, but whenever it happens I will equally enjoy the 11th.