PINNEY'S BEACH, St. Kitts and Nevis -- Playing the island's only golf course probably means you're staying at the Four Seasons Resort Nevis (although it isn't required to snag a tee time).
As hard as it might be for guests to pull themselves from the pool or the beach, playing the Four Seasons Resort Nevis golf course is totally worth it. The Robert Trent Jones Jr. design on Nevis dates to the early 1990s. The 6,766-yard course climbs into the tropical jungle of Mount Nevis, featuring more than 450 feet of elevation change and plenty of wild holes and scenic outposts high above the Caribbean Sea. It is a visual stunner.
The Four Seasons golfers want the course kept up, condition-wise, more like their country clubs at home. Most don't like such slow greens, but I've found that's almost a universal complaint throughout the Caribbean outside of a few pristine places like Corales in the Dominican Republic and Baker's Bay Golf & Ocean Club in the Bahamas.
First-time golfers will probably lose more balls than they want in the thick vegetation of Nevis framing a few of the holes. On the dangerous dogleg left at the ninth and the slog of a par 5 at the 10th, the sheer climb is deterrent enough that bunkers and water hazards aren't really necessary. The ride back down the mountain feels like a bobsled run on the 16th hole, a 663-yard par 5 that is one of the longest holes in the Caribbean.
Water haunts a few holes on flatter ground, such as the par-3 third and the par 4s at the fourth and 18th. The only awkward hole is the par-4 17th, where a trench crossing the fairway is used to funnel water from the mountain into the sea. Golfers who crack like Humpty Dumpty under all this shot-making pressure shouldn't fret. The pampering at the resort will put them back together again.