MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica -- Only a couple golf courses in the Caribbean have a tournament pedigree on par with The Tryall Club.
Although the Trump International Golf Club in Puerto Rico hosts the modern-day PGA Tour, not even The Donald can attract the world-class fields the Johnnie Walker World Championship did at Tryall from 1991-95. The pictures of famous golfers, including Tryall's past champions -- Fred Couples (1991, '95), Nick Faldo ('92), Larry Mize ('93) and Ernie Els ('94) -- greet golfers in to the newly remodeled clubhouse.
It all started when Dow Finsterwald beat Peter Allis in the Shell's Wonderful World of Golf in 1962 at Tryall, a Ralph Plummer design that opened just three years earlier. A unique competition pairing Senior Tour and LPGA Tour players ran from 1985-87 before the LPGA Tour took over from 1989-91.
Although the tournaments are long gone, the 6,836-yard Tryall Club continues to charm everybody who tees it up. The par-5 third hole turns left toward the Caribbean Sea, revealing the gorgeous setting for the fourth hole. The land for this 176-yard par 3 along the rocky shore was acquired in 1992 specifically for the tournament. It's a daunting task carrying the inlet of the Flint River, while fighting off the winds off the water, to safely reach the green.
The Tryall Club then climbs into the hills and jungle for a string of one good hole after another. Tryall's isolation 12 miles west of Montego Bay, well away from the other premier golf courses in Jamaica (Cinnamon Hill, White Witch, Half Moon), isn't such a hassle once golfers discover one empty fairway after another. Who wouldn't want a private Caribbean country club all to themselves for the day?