Paradise Island lies just off the northern coastline of New Providence in the Bahamas and until the end of the 1950s it was a rather insignificant long, thin spit of land known as Hog Island.
Along came wealthy American businessman Huntington Hartford who established the Ocean Club – complete with an 18-hole course laid out by Dick Wilson – and he persuaded the authorities to change the name of the island to its present title when the resort opened in 1962.
The business passed through a number of hands over the next three decades – including those of Donald Trump and Merv Griffin, the American entertainer turned property developer – before South African Sol Kerzner took over the reins in 1994.
Kerzner was no stranger to multi million dollar developments, having created the iconic Sun City resort back in his homeland, and he set about transforming the bankrupt property on Paradise Island into an enormous luxury resort with one of the world’s largest man-made marine residential developments and the Caribbean’s biggest casino.
Part of Kerzner’s expansion plans included the complete redesign of the golf course and so Tom Weiskopf was called in to overlay a new 18-hole track. He set some of the new holes around the old airstrip adjacent to the estate and removed much of the scrub that blocked the ocean views, allowing some new seaside tees and greens to be built.
Configured in two returning nines, fairways are routed around wetlands, waste areas and lagoons, with “Spyglass,” the 208-yard 12th one of the most memorable holes on the card. Here, the tee shot on this par three must carry an inlet to a forward sloping, well bunkered green.
Michael Jordan has been hosting his popular Celebrity Invitational charity event at the Ocean Club every year since it reopened in 2001.
May 09, 2015