Treasure Cay – pronounced key – is located less than 200 miles to the east of Florida on the beautiful Bahamian island of Abaco. Treasure Cay Resort Hotel & Marina is at the integral heart of the quaint village of Treasure Cay with its own shops, post office and even police station. The resort is quite beautiful, but also very much down to earth where the locals drop in for lunch at the Coco Beach Bar, which is set directly on the glorious 3½-mile powdery white sandy bay.
The late American architect, Dick Wilson, who sadly died before its completion, designed the course at Treasure Cay. Wilson’s assistant, Joe Lee, who is now also a well-regarded golf course architect, finished it in 1968. The course measures a respectable 6,985 yards from the tips and it’s a challenging layout, especially when the ocean breezes freshen. The layout is tight and the bunkering relatively light but strategically considered. The outward nine runs parallel to the ocean and it’s here that you need to make your score because the back nine is tighter - with a couple of ponds in play - requiring precision and caution.
You can taste the salty sea air from the lush Treasure Cay fairways and, even though the ocean is only a couple of hundred yards away, you won’t catch a glimpse of it from the course. Instead each hole is framed by mature tropical growth with a number of gorgeous specimen trees adding further definition.
Despite its full-length 18-hole challenge, you will find the course at Treasure Cay quiet and uncrowded with sub three-hour rounds the norm. In 1999 Golf Digest had Treasure Cay flying high as the No.1 course in the Bahamas but, since then, a number of multi-million dollar Bahamian investments have pushed Treasure Cay out of the limelight. With a future cash injection, Treasure Cay could once again become one of the premier courses in the Bahamas but as it stands today it’s still an unexpected gem.
If you are visiting Abaco on a budget and want to stay at a resort that has a beautiful Top 10 beach, a pretty marina and plenty of other activities, then Treasure Cay has it all. The course has potential but it requires investment to get the playing surfaces up to a higher standard. The layout is fair with a few holes a little samey but it’s a nice track that will ask questions of even the best golfer. The best holes appear on the back nine with the 11th a great par 5 that doglegs its way around a lake but my favourite hole is the par 3 15th that requires a decent shot to carry a daunting pond to a green that is well guarded. Some of the greensites are raised and interesting. Treasure Cay could be much better but as it stands it seems a fair course to feature here as a gem.