Best Caribbean Islands for Golf and Tennis

At these destinations, tee time and service take on a different meaning

 

Whether you crave birdies or kill shots, there are plenty of places throughout the Caribbean where you can take to the greens or the court. Choose the right island, and you’ll find master tracks waiting for you to tee off. You’ll have no problem finding court time, either, but only a few tennis centers rival those back home. One of them is Caneel Bay on St. John, which usually ranks in the Top 25 tennis resorts worldwide, but the absence of a golf course may limit the appeal to those seeking a one-two gaming combination. If you want both, consider one of these four islands.

Dominican Republic

Home to four of Golfweek’s Top 10 Caribbean courses, the Dominican Republic is at the top of the leaderboard. The Cap Cana resort area has three Jack Nicklaus courses, of which the Punta Espada Golf Club is the crown jewel. Widely regarded as the top-ranked course south of Miami, it offers ocean views from all holes and eight that play directly along the ocean. But that’s just the beginning. Throw in Pete Dye’s classic Teeth of the Dog at the Casa de Campo resort, the Playa Grande Golf Course by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., and Tom Fazio’s Corales Course at the Punta Cana Resort and you have a quad-fecta that’s pretty hard to beat. The on-court action at Casa de Campo is also very good, with the La Terrazza Tennis Center providing a large staff, coaching at all levels, a full-service pro shop and more than a dozen Har-Tru courts.

Dominican Republic Punta Espada, 9th Hole, Golf, best caribbean islands for golf and tennis

Crashing surf, trade winds and ocean views provide tempting distractions at Punta Espada’s 9th hole. This Dominican Republic course is considered the finest in the Caribbean. Photo: Punta Espada

Puerto Rico

Eastern Puerto Rico is the island’s epicenter for great golf and very good tennis: There are two tournament-level courses at the Trump International Golf Club in Rio Grande, the Championship and the International. This pair of Tom Kite-designs sits on 1,000 acres of waterfront and is supported by a 46,000-square-foot clubhouse and the island’s finest pro shop. Also nearby are the Fazio and Norman courses at Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach & Spa, and the father-and-son tracks at Dorado Beach by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Jr. Rounding it out is the well-regarded Rees Jones Flamboyan Course at Palmas del Mar in Humacao. The Wyndham Grand Rio Mar also hosts a Peter Burwash tennis facility with a dozen Har-Tru courts, while Palmas del Mar has the largest tennis center in the region, with 20 assorted courts and a massive pro shop.

Puerto Rico Dorado Golf Course

Puerto Rico’s Dorado Beach Resort offers three golf courses. The most challenging is the Sugarcane Course, which incorporates a number of forced carries and deep bunkers. Photo: Shutterstock

Jamaica

It would be very easy to put Barbados on any golfer’s Caribbean wish list; the presence of the revered Sandy Lane and Royal Westmoreland courses alone put it in a class of its own. But Jamaica beats out its commonwealth sibling based on variety. Not to be missed are the clutch of classics clustered around Montego Bay. The 1962 Ralph Plummer- designed Tryall Club has been named one of the Caribbean’s best, as well as one the world’s most scenic courses. It remains a must for any Caribbean golfer. Nearby Half Moon has its wonderful 1961 vintage Robert Trent Jones Sr. course, and there are Robert von Hagge’s newer White Witch and Cinnamon Hill courses, both managed by the Rose Hall group. The Tryall Club is equally renowned for its tennis program. The facility has hosted Davis Cup matches on Classic Clay courts and Nova-Cushion hard courts and has a large in-season tennis staff of pros and hitting partners. Ninety miles away in Negril, Couples Swept Away has a solid tennis facility with 10 courts, and because it’s an all- inclusive resort, lessons, court time and rentals are part of the single rate.

Jamaica Cinnamon Hill Golf

Jamaica’s Cinnamon Hill Course combines the open exposure and undulations of an oceanfront links course with sheltered inland fairways where trade winds don’t come into play. Photo: Rose Hall Developments

Bermuda

The Rock is the original island for golf getaways, boasting the most courses per square mile of any island in the region. With ocean views everywhere, it can sometimes be difficult to focus on the game, but concentration is certainly needed when taking on the renowned courses at the Mid Ocean Club and Tucker’s Point Club. Popular Port Royal Golf Course is open to all, delivering a stunning variety of ocean views and a chance to hit one of the sport’s most famous shots, the par-3 16th. Also not to be missed is the island’s elder statesman, Riddell’s Bay, a private club which dates back to the 1920s, and still delivers a memorable round. The Fairmont Southampton has attracted tennis buffs for years with a collection of six hard-court tennis courts, three of which are lighted for night play. As a bonus, the courts overlook the beach, and the resort organizes a variety of accommodation and play packages. Near the city of Hamilton, the Pomander Gate Tennis Club provides visitor memberships that give access to championship-level hard courts, coaching and a pro shop with professional racquet stringing, while the Bermuda Run Country Club’s Tennis Center boasts four Har-Tru clay courts and two cushioned hard courts. Five of the six courts are lighted for night play.

Bermuda Port Royal Sand

The Port Royal Golf Course is ranked as one of the finest public courses in the world and among Bermuda’s best. The final four holes play to a backdrop of ocean views. Photo: V. Stephen Raynor/Port Royal

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