One of the top golf courses on Bermuda has closed.
Thanks to the tip from reader Brad, who sent The Royal Gazette's article about the sudden closure of Riddell's Bay Golf and Country Club, the oldest course on the tiny fish-hook-shaped British territory, which sits isolated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean more than 600 miles off the coast of North Carolina.
Riddell's Bay opened in 1922 along a narrow peninsula, which at its widest measures only some 600 yards. Its beautiful views offset its awkward shape and short routing. The 5,857-yard, par-70 course features only one par 5 and three par 3s. From that article:
One longstanding member at the club, which had been in operation since 1922, said: "It's like a lot of golf courses -- they're suffering, and it's just a question of cash flow from operations. The balance sheet is all right because they have valuable property there." The source added that members "won't be delighted" at the closure. But he said: "Hopefully it's not a permanent thing and someone will see the value of the club and open it again."
The source added that members "won't be delighted" at the closure. But he said: "Hopefully it's not a permanent thing and someone will see the value of the club and open it again."
Riddell's Bay, a private club that allowed some hotels to book guest tee times, got mostly three- and four-star reviews on Golf Advisor. In the most recent review from 2015, user uFDGU2666FD gave it four stars, writing:
"This course is well worth a game ... thoroughly enjoyed it and the scenery is beautiful."
Bermuda's golf scene took a hit that same year when the PGA Grand Slam of Golf opted to leave the island after a solid run from 2007-2014. Mid Ocean Club, a private club that allows some public access, played host to the Grand Slam the first two years before the redesigned Port Royal Golf Club took over from 2009-14.
The PGA Grand Slam of Golf was a made-for-TV exhibition match run by the PGA of America, showcasing golf's four major champions, although in recent years the game's best players frequently opted out, requiring replacements. The PGA of America cancelled the event permanently earlier this year.
Visiting golfers shouldn't fret too much. Bermuda, with its pink-sand beaches and year-round temperate climate, remains a premier island getaway.
There are two other outstanding courses to play besides Mid Ocean, a World Top 100 classic by C.B. Macdonald, and Port Royal, an ultra-scenic, government-owned course renovated by Roger Rulewich for $14.5 million in 2009. Turtle Hill Golf Club at the Fairmont Southampton might be the world's most gorgeous 18-hole, par-3 course, and Tucker's Point Club sits adjacent to the posh Rosewood Tucker's Point.
I, for one, can't wait to get back for more fish chowder -- a Bermudian specialty topped off by spicy sherry pepper sauce and dark rum -- washed down by the Dark & Stormy, the island's signature drink loaded with Goslings Rum and ginger beer.