The Abaco Club golf course - hole 4
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The Abaco Club golf course - hole 4
The par-3 fourth hole at The Abaco Club views the water. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Images
The Abaco Club golf course - hole 1
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The Abaco Club golf course - hole 1
The Abaco Club is in the process of installing new bunker faces, like the one seen here on the par-5 first hole. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
The Abaco Club golf course - hole 2
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The Abaco Club golf course - hole 2
The Abaco Club is a "tropical links," where shots can run into most greens, like the par-4 second, pictured here. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
The Abaco Club golf course - hole 5
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The Abaco Club golf course - hole 5
Golfers can barely see the top of the flag on the beautiful but intimidating 312-yard fifth hole, a drivable par 4 along the beach, at The Abaco Club golf course. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
The Abaco Club golf course - 7th hole
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The Abaco Club golf course - 7th hole
The par-4 seventh hole at The Abaco Club follows the scenic Winding Bay. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
The Abaco Club golf course - hole 15
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The Abaco Club golf course - hole 15
A quarry gobbles up balls hit right of the 15th fairway at The Abaco Club in the Bahamas. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
The Abaco Club golf course - hole 12
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The Abaco Club golf course - hole 12
The par-4 12th hole of The Abaco Club plays through a narrow chute in the trees. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
The Abaco Club golf course - 15th hole
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The Abaco Club golf course - 15th hole
Three bunkers frame the tee shot on the 15th hole at The Abaco Club. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
The Abaco Club golf course - 16th green
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The Abaco Club golf course - 16th green
The 16th and 17th greens of The Abaco Club overlook the Atlantic Ocean. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
The Abaco Club golf course - hole 17
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The Abaco Club golf course - hole 17
Waves off the Atlantic Ocean crash on the shore, spraying the par-3 17th green of The Abaco Club golf course. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
The Abaco Club golf course - hole 18
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The Abaco Club golf course - hole 18
The par-5 18th hole on The Abaco Club has some narrow spots. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
The Abaco Club golf course - 18th green
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The Abaco Club golf course - 18th green
The 18th hole of The Abaco Club hugs the Atlantic Ocean. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor

Get blown away at The Abaco Club in the Bahamas

ABACO, Bahamas -- Few courses in the Caribbean have been designed for the wind as well as The Abaco Club, a Donald Steel/Tom Mackenzie course located in a remote but beautiful section of Abaco, a narrow island northeast of Miami.

The Abaco Club plays like a true 7,123-yard tropical links, where shots can bounce onto tricky plateau greens. That might explain why Darren Clarke, the 2016 European Ryder Cup captain and 2011 Open Champion who holds the unofficial course record, loves the place so much.

Southworth Development, a Massachusetts-based real estate development company that purchased The Abaco Club last year, is pouring millions of dollars into the course and club to improve everything. All the bunkers have been lined with new zoysia grass, and several new ladies tees have been built as well.

Six of the first seven holes -- three directly along the beautiful Winding Bay -- play downwind, easing players into the round. The 199-yard par-3 fourth introduces the views of the water. The cool 312-yard fifth hole puts the beach right in your face. All you see is the top of the flag waving in the breeze, a tempting sign to take on the sand for a putt at eagle. The par-3 sixth turns back into the wind before the downwind par-4 seventh hole.

The inland holes into the wind are some of the toughest on the course, although they're just appetizers to the fantastic feast to finish the round. Nos. 15 and 16 -- two strong par 4s -- skirt an old rock quarry. There's no margin for error on the tee shot on 16, the scariest moment of the day. The 17th green, the end of a 204-yard par 3, is so close to the ocean that salt sprays can shower players as they putt. Narrow doesn't begin to describe the par-5 final hole.

While The Abaco Club is private, there are international golf membership opportunities or guests can visit on vacation up to three times before buying real estate or a membership. Visitors can indulge in the spa, a gorgeous beachfront bar/grill called Busters and fine dining in the Cliff House overlooking the white sand and turquoise waters of the bay. Water sports are a great distraction away from golf. Southworth plans to spare no expense to make The Abaco Club a special place.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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