The lux life of the Bahamas caters to romance, but #SB2k16 brought out the full bromance for PGA Tour stars Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Smylie Kaufman and Justin Thomas.
The foursome entertained thousands of golf fans with their Instagram and Snapchat updates of their vacation shenanigans at Baker's Bay Golf & Ocean Club, a private property-owners only enclave in the Bahamas. Shirtless golf, beers, boating, Olympic balcony diving -- it was the classic spring break trip.
You don't have to be a millionaire like these guys to have a good time in the Bahamas. It is a costly destination, but one worth the splurge. Here are five tips to recreate #SB2k16 during your own Bahamian golf adventure:
Bahamas Golf Trip Tip 1: Invite a favorite foursome
This is obvious, but the more you get along with your foursome, the more fun you'll have. You don't all have to be similar handicaps, but you all should have a similar passion for the game. You don't want one guy who will bail if he's "too tired" or some other lame excuse.
Bahamas Golf Trip Tip 2: Pick the right island
The Bahamas is actually a chain of hundreds of tiny islands off the coast of Florida. A handful of them offer excellent courses. I visited two islands last fall: The Abaco Club and Treasure Cay Beach, Marina & Golf Resort on tiny Abaco, and the Sandals Emerald Reef Golf Club on Great Exuma.
The Abaco Club, a private community along Winding Bay, allows the general public several chances to stay before requiring a real-estate purchase. New owner Southworth Development has invested millions in the beach club, restaurant and the excellent "tropical links" by Donald Steel. Treasure Cay, a Dick Wilson design, doesn't overlook the water like The Abaco Club, but it's close enough to the shore that wind remains a factor. Alburys ferries out of Marsh Harbour, where the airport is located, can take tourists to nearby Guana Cay, home to Baker's Bay and better yet, Nipper's Beach Bar & Grill, which is legendary for its Sunday parties.
You won't find many golf buddies trips scheduled for the Sandals resort on Great Exuma, a former Four Seasons resort that woos couples with an all-inclusive hotel that emphasizes service and great food. Greg Norman's Emerald Reef course weaves through mangrove swamps on the front nine before exploring the rocky shore on the back. All the lost balls and bogeys are worth seeing one of the most scenic courses in the world.
The crowds of tourists grow bigger on New Providence, home to Nassau, the capital city. Both the PGA Tour and the LPGA Tour have visited within the last six months. Bubba Watson won the 2015 Hero World Challenge at Albany, a private resort community home to an Ernie Els design on the southwest side of the island. Hyo Joo Kim captured the 2016 Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic in January contested on the stunning Ocean Club Golf Course near Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, a small island reachable by bridge off the northeast coast.
Bahamas Golf Trip Tip 3: Don't take the golf too seriously
Island golf can be especially difficult when the wind kicks up and the sun bakes your pasty white skin, so don't fret about your score. You're not a Tour pro like Kaufman dunking bunker shots. Don't take the game too seriously when you're on vacation and you'll have more fun. Drink a few beers. Play some tunes. Use a mulligan if you need one. I'm guessing most golf in the Bahamas won't let you play shirtless, but hey, give it a shot if you're out on an empty course.
Bahamas Golf Trip Tip 4: Enjoy life off the course
Get away from golf to appreciate the local culture. Island life can be magical if done properly. My favorite part of The Abaco Club was the nightly dinner and drinks at Buster's, the open-air bar right on the beach where everybody gathered. There's plenty of entertainment other than a fruity drink with an umbrella. Take a walk on the beach. Hire a boat to go deep-sea fishing or sailing. Snorkeling in the clear turquoise waters can be mesmerizing.
Bahamas Golf Trip Tip 5: Find time to relax
Every good vacation includes a nap or a day lounging on the beach or relaxing by reading a book at the pool. Take time to unwind. Your body and soul will thank you after too much fun the night before.