Tucker's Point Club is Bermuda's newest luxury resort and private club. It was formerly known as the Castle Harbour Golf Club, which dated back to the 1930s. The Castle Harbour course was built by Charles Banks (on a site adjacent to the Mid Ocean Club) and it was a Bermudan favourite, possessing the most stunning opening and closing holes and blind shots aplenty. .
Gone has the old hotel and the old Banks course too. In its place a 2002 layout designed by Roger Rulewich (an architect from the Robert Trent Jones stable). The original opener is now the 17th and the original home hole, which has been changed beyond recognition, is now the 11th.
"Built from the remains of the old Castle Harbour course, Tucker's Point has languished due to the decline of the island as a resort destination." Commented Tom Doak in The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses. "The property is too hilly and severe, with a number of blind doglegs and forced lay ups off the tee. The theft of Castle Harbour's iconic 2nd fairway for a handful of mega-mansions shows where the developers' true motives lay."
I played a round here in mid-June 2019, had a wonderfully sunny and clear day to enjoy the spectacular views the course affords from numerous holes. It's a parkland layout which is extremely hilly, impossible to walk in the warmer months unless you enjoy an endurance test. I hugely enjoyed my visit here; it's the typical US country club slick service from the moment you arrive, dine well in the club house before teeing it up and enjoy a cool drink on the veranda post round. The course itself was in good condition, even though I played from the tips it’s not overly long but it does demand you to be accurate from the tee or end up playing from an incline either above or below your feet. The rough is kept low and overall condition was good, I visited the well sited bunkers several times but it was little disappointing to find several hard packed making sand shots something of a lottery. On the day I played the greens were recovering from maintenance and were heavily sanded however they still had a decent amount of pace in them and the member I played with said they are very fast in normal conditions. I felt the back 9 better of the two, it was enjoyable to hit from the elevated tees on 12 and 13, the short par 4 17th has the stunning view of the eastern end of the island and the chance to reach the green if you can hit your drive 280 yards+! I played on a Thursday afternoon and we had the course to ourselves, weekends are busier but they have marshals out to police the pace of play, a welcome addition all clubs should have. Overall definitely worth playing if you’re in Bermuda, it’s next to the Mid Ocean Club so easy to combine for a 36 hole day out.
As one would expect a walk-on pays through the nose to enjoy the course and its magnificently appointed, if rather domineering clubhouse, which has all the high-end American superior country club accessories – excellent dining room and cuisine, good bar, glorious views and even a card room, for God’s sake. There is a membership in the club for those who have a lot of money to spare, but there is no club spirit – let there be no mistake this is a business first and foremost.
I don’t think there’ll be much change out of $350 for a round including a cart (which is necessary given the terrain and the heat and humidity, but not mandatory). You need an introduction to play, although these are readily available from the Island’s hotels. As one might expect the service and staff quality is far ahead of anything else available at any other golf club (indeed establishment) in Bermuda – and the support staff who get you set up and off to play are second to none anywhere – great guys.
The course itself is a disappointment – not for lack of care or want of expenditure. It is extremely hilly, and there is little natural turf. Consequently in many places the grass is thin and unbound into the soil, and this is exacerbated by the run-off of rain from the steep hills, which seems to sweep the undersoil away, and leave the fairways rather bare. You feel this when you hit a shot off of it – somehow the contact isn’t right even on good shots. The greens are usually terrific. The design is dictated by the terrain and there’s little remarkable in a positive sense.
The 6th and 13th are the best holes, but it really does seem unnecessary to have two near identical par 5’s parallel side by side in the 7th and 15th. The 8th is I think the worst and most poorly designed short hole I have ever played. Scenically the back nine is outstanding, magnificent. The glory used to start at the short 11th but that hole’s views have been ruined by the building of the new hotel and an apartment block. The long climbs from the 11th and 12th greens to the 12th and 13th tees respectively (I did mention you need a cart – these climbs are heart-attack inducing in the heat and middle-age!) are rewarded by panoramic views of the whole island, looking westward. Both holes are into the prevailing usually brisk to fierce winds, with the 13th from the back tee setting up a most interesting and tight drive to a narrowing fairway – a very nice hole. The 17th is a driveable par 4 (300 yards) from a very high vantage point that offers stunning easterly views – this used to be the Bermuda golf promotional vista before Port Royal’s 16th was created. The 18th tee is down in proximity to the ocean, a very peaceful spot.
Funnily enough, like all Bermuda’s golf premier courses TPC is parkland and the ocean never comes into play. In nice weather you’ll have a most pleasant day at TPC, and although you’ll be poorer (but you shouldn’t play this course if that bothers you), you’ll carry away the memory of the truly magnificent vistas. But if you are a serious golfer you won’t remember it as a golfing thrill. Be warned though, the pace of play is atrocious – patrons didn’t pay all that money to hurry or fret about holding anyone else up. Budget a minimum of five and half hours if the course is busy.