The Exuma Islands – Golfer’s Paradise
For some people, taking a vacation in the Caribbean islands means endless days of sun on the beach. For others, it promises relaxing hours on the lush greens of a golf course.
The Great Exuma golf course at the Emerald Bay Sandals resort offers picture-perfect links on environmentally-friendly seashore paspalum grass, under a cloudless blue sky - you can work on your game on a championship golf course. Travel & Leisure Golf magazine named this course "The Best Golf Course in the Caribbean." When the Four Seasons at Emerald Bay closed its doors temporarily, so did the golf course, but the property was bought by Sandals in early 2010 and the golf course was re-opened.
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The 18-hole championship golf course, designed by golf legend Greg Norman, is considered one of the world's greatest ocean-side clubs. On the day of the opening, Greg, whose nickname in golf circles is "The Shark", shows up looking fit, and states that the 7,001-yard Emerald Bay "is going to be my favorite place to play day-in and day-out. The back nine is scenically wonderful, but I love playing the front nine; there are so many great holes out there. I think we've achieved a great balance in the golf experience we can offer here."
During the initial game on the Exuma golf course, sports writers and photographers trailed The Shark. The reports that soon followed declared that the course would become famous for its layout over the peninsula, the almost constant wind, and its waste bunkers filled with sand and rock! Not to mention the blind bunkers. You get spectacular scenery plus a shot at skill-testing holes.
The Exuma Islands begin about 35 miles southwest of Nassau. The bright white beaches are generally fairly quiet because the word has not yet spread. The Exuma Islands do not welcome cruise ships; however, the marina at Stocking Island has become a favorite in the boating world as an exciting stop on the journey down the coast. The island chain is about 7.5 miles wide and stretches for about 100 miles south. Many consider it the most scenic of the Bahamas Islands.
From the International airport on Great Exuma (George Town International) it is about a 10 minute drive to the Exuma golf course at Emerald Bay. It is about a 30 minute drive to George Town and about another 20 minutes to the bridge linking Great Exuma to Little Exuma, where you can find historical remains from early settlement days. History buffs will find Hermitage Plantation fascinating, as it is the last standing replica of the first estates.
There is a group of more than 700 islands and cays known as the "Out Islands" in the Bahamas. Although Paradise Island has long been a busy tourist destination with Nassau‘s big hotel and casinos, Great Exuma has kept a laid-back atmosphere and is most popular for its marinas and luxury villas. The Exuma golf course has made this island a favorite stop for golf enthusiasts who are looking for an exceptional experience and a challenging game.
Check out www.exumabahamas.org for more info on planning a trip to Great Exuma for some golf.