The bluebirds sing and so will you at Tucker's Point Club golf course in Bermuda
TUCKER'S TOWN, Bermuda - Are you one of those unfortunate people who's never heard the bluebird of happiness sing? Well, come to the Tucker's Point Club golf course, home to the largest concentration of happy bluebirds on Bermuda.
That's not the only thing Tucker's Point Club has going for it. Formerly known as Castle Harbour and dating to the 1930s, the aging golf course came in for some criticism in recent years for poor design and conditioning. But since a 2002 rehab by Roger Rulewich, longtime protege of Robert Trent Jones Sr., golfers are happy as, well, bluebirds with it.
"Oh, I love it," said frequent visitor Chris Addieg, playing with Brian Looney on a late spring day. "I've played them all here, and I have to say I like this one the best."
Tucker's Point Club combines the classic beauty of Bermuda with friendly golf. The golf course is best known for its views, especially of the aquamarine waters of Harrington Sound. The course is very hilly - the locals call it the "goat hill course" - which lifts you up to those uplifting Bermuda vistas.
Many of the tee boxes and most of the greens are elevated too, so that you can see all over the island and its surrounding azure waters, not to mention some of the multimillion- dollar winter lairs of the rich and famous, including Ross Perot and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
As for the golf at Tucker's Point Club, Rulewich cranked up the bulldozer and flattened many of the fairways, eliminating the blind shots and awkward footing that prompted Castle Harbour complaints. He added five new holes, 17 new tees and 20 bunkers and installed TifEagle Bermuda grass.
Many of the fairway slopes will tend to keep the ball in play, and the greens have more than their share of soft mounds to keep the ball on or near the dance floor. It's a resort course, intended to inspire awe with its views and par or lower with its contours, but there are still some blind shots, as on Nos. 3, 10 and 15.
The Tucker's Point Club golf course is a par 70 spread out over 6,361 yards, not atypical here since land is precious on this 22-mile-long island, known for its tight concentration of quality courses.
But the layout still lingers over the hills of this rocky island, and some holes will command your attention. The holes slither like snakes through oleander and palm, rubber and spice trees, and most of the fairways and greens are bordered by thick, nasty Bermuda rough. For an island, there isn't a lot of water to contend with, and you get glimpses of Harrington Sound, Castle Harbour and South Shore.
Tucker's Point Club golf: The verdict
Tucker's Point Club is one of the newest luxury resort/private club/residential communities Bermuda. It sits on about 200 acres in Tucker's Town, adjacent to the renowned Mid Ocean, and serves as the centerpiece of a $300 million resort project.
The travel magazines are certainly impressed. Travel and Leisure Golf named Tucker's Point Club the third-best resort in the Caribbean and the most underrated, even though technically Bermuda is nowhere near the Caribbean.
Green fees are $185 weekdays, plus $28 for cart. Before you have a fit, note that everything in Bermuda is expensive, including the golf. It's a private club, though the public is allowed on. Non-members must be introduced to the club.
Bermuda stay and play
Elbow Beach overlooks the waters of South Shore and is close to the capital of Hamilton. The property has 235 rooms including the main building and cottages, all set among 50 acres of gardens that slope down to the beach, which is reserved for guests. Most of the rooms have ocean views.
The main building, painted a classic Bermuda yellow, is more than 90 years old and houses a restaurant, bar, cigar room, shops, function rooms and a business center. Butler service is available.
There is a spa with six self-contained suites featuring granite soaking tubs, bamboo flooring and pebble-lined steam showers.
Elbow Beach will do nothing if not feed you; there are no less than seven places to eat and/or drink. The Seahorse Grill has fine dining, including prime, dry-aged Angus steak dishes. The Veranda Bar, just off the lobby, is Bermuda's first rum bar. Blue Point is a poolside grill; Lido, just above the beach, has a Mediterranean-influenced menu; Mickey's Beach Bistro and Bar on the beach serves more casual food. Nightclub Deep and the Sea Breeze Terrace cocktail bar round out the roster.
June 15, 2006