Warwick is home to two respected golf courses—one a time-worn country club, the other a multi-million-dollar redesign that features a super driving range.
Tennis ace (and former Bermuda resident) Pat Rafter tested the links at Belmont Hills Golf Club (97 Middle Rd., tel. 441/236-6400, fax 441/236-0694, golf [at] belmonthills [dot] com, www.belmonthills.com). Once the site of the Belmont Hotel, the remodeled club, now owned by the same developers who launched the Newstead Hotel & Spa in 2008, is open to visitors. The main footprint of the former golf course remains, though some holes were reshaped and new ones created. A waterfall and two lakes, new turf to meet USGA standards, and a tee-to-green irrigation system were installed. Handicappers call it a “shot-maker’s course,” thanks to tricky pin placements and challenging greens, but you have to wait until the 17th and 18th holes for great ocean views.
Fees are $110 for 9 or 18 holes, club rental $45, golf cart (mandatory until 3:30 p.m.) $30. Dress code is strictly club-style: collared shirts and slacks for men, “Bermuda-length” shorts for men and women accepted. Soft-spiked shoes are obligatory. You can replenish your energy at a food and beverage cart, a snack shop, or the on-site Blu Bar & Grill. The club’s world-class, two-story driving range, at the property’s entrance, has self-feeding ball machines and lessons from pros ($60 for a half-hour). There is a ferry and private boat service to and from Hamilton from the Harbour Road dock.
Bermuda’s oldest golf course, Riddell’s Bay Club (Riddell’s Bay Rd., tel. 441/238-1060, ext. 101 or 102, golf [at] riddellsbay [dot] com, www.riddellsbay.com, $145 for 18 holes, club rental $40), dates back to 1922. A visit to its elegant Georgian clubhouse, set in a multi-million-dollar enclave, is like stepping into a tourist brochure of the 1950s or 1960s. The private club’s golf course, which has seen the likes of crooner Michael Bolton and Olympian Jim Thorpe, is touted as a scenic challenge, with holes mapped out over an ocean peninsula that measures 600 yards at its widest point. At a total of 5,800 yards, the 70-par, 18-hole course falls short of the island’s three championship courses (Mid Ocean, Tucker’s Point, Port Royal), but its meticulously kept greens are challenging to mid-handicappers, particularly on windy days. It’s best to commit to 18 holes, since the 9th hole finishes a good hike from the clubhouse. The club makes an effort to accommodate visitors. Call ahead to set a tee time.
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition