It may be steep, rather hilly and merely a short 2,684-yard layout, but the Ted Robinson Senior-designed Turtle Hill Golf Club at Fairmont Southampton is billed as one of the top five 18-hole par three courses in the world.
The club inaugurated the World Par 3 Championship in 2010, installing the Bermuda Tourism Authority and PGA Canada as tournament partners for this signature golf event (now named the Dark & Stormy World Par Three Championships), with the winner now earning a place in the line-up for the Bermuda PGA Open.
By 2020, the total purse on offer had risen to $50,000, attracting a hundred and fifty participants, including a number of noted professional players from around a dozen countries. The field also contains an impressive list of golfers who play for trophies in the Men's, Women's and Senior amateur sections.
It’s not often you play an 18 hole par 3 course, it shouldn’t be judged against a standard course but does it stand up on its own merits, in this case very much so. Routed over some undulating terrain it will ensure you hit almost every club in the bag except maybe your 3 wood and driver, great fun, a proper test of shot making and always in good condition. Some of the greens are very small so unless you have laser like accuracy from the tee on every hole you can be certain you’ll need a keen short game to make par. There’s a wide variety of uphill and downhill shots, trouble is easily found from the tee leaving you either with a difficult stance, a bunker or worse a drop. The greens vary in size and complexity, while not the fastest you’ll ever play are nice to putt on and very true, you won’t see many putts bobble. As with any course in Bermuda if you play outside of the short winter months I would recommend a buggy unless you want the round to become an endurance test. Overall if you’re staying on this end of the island or staying at the hotel definitely worth playing, it’s a fun round to compliment the more traditional courses you should play. I played there in June 2019.