The sumptuous and gargantuan $4.2 billion Caribbean resort of Baha Mar is set adjacent to the white sands of Cable Beach on the northern coast of the Bahamian capital Nassau, on the island of New Providence.
It was a foregone conclusion that such an opulent multi-hotel resort should have a golf course, and so it came to pass. The Royal Blue Jack Nicklaus Signature design, with a split personality, opened in 2017, and it’s not your typical run-of-the-mill resort course.
The first golf course appeared on this site soon after the Second World War as an element of the British Colonial Hotel’s recreational offerings. The front nine largely utilises the original land on which the old 9-hole Cable Beach course was routed and these holes are more in the “resort” mould. The back nine is where the fun starts.
Limestone outcroppings define the inward half where golfers are taken on a tumbling journey through dense jungle before reaching the signature par three 16th with its boulder-fringed island green which juts into Lake Cunningham. Look away now if you suffer from chiroptophobia. There’s an active bat cave that was found deep in the tropical undergrowth close to the 16th hole.
“It really does look like Mr. Nicklaus has changed his design style after our collaboration at Sebonack,” commented Tom Doak in The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, “with everything tee to green (and even green to tee) mowed tight, bunkers used as buffers against the rock outcrops, and a bunch of half par holes with trouble around the greens.
My favourite holes were the short par-4 5th, where there are so many bunkers it’s very hard to find the fairway, and the par-5 13th playing up and over a ridge. For most, though, the peninsula-green 16th set out in Lake Cunningham will be the show-stopper.”
If you’re visiting New Providence, you’re unlikely to be concerned about the top-end green fee, so kick back and enjoy the tropical journey.