Say 'yeah, mon!' to golf in Jamaica

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica -- The Caribbean's third-largest island isn't the best golf destination in the region (that would be the Dominican Republic) or the island with the most courses (that would be Puerto Rico). But Jamaica, home to nine courses and two nine-holers, still offers plenty of reasons to drag your clubs south for a winter golf getaway.

If you really want to do Jamaica in style, sign up for the annual Jamaica Invitational Pro-Am "Annie's Revenge," presented by Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum. The event, run by The Golf Connection (thegolf-connection.com), which hosts pro-ams in exotic places such as Barbados, St. Kitts and the Riviera Maya in Mexico, attracted 19 teams from around the country this fall to play the White Witch and Cinnamon Hill golf courses and stay at the AAA Four Diamond, adults-only IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Rose Hall.

Rose Hall, roughly 15 miles east of Montego Bay, became the island's golf epicenter thanks to architect Robert von Hagge, who built the spectacular White Witch in the hills of the 4,000-acre sugarcane plantation overlooking the Caribbean Sea and then, in 2002, rerouted and redesigned the renamed Cinnamon Hill course to explore the shore for two holes.

Half Moon Golf Club, a classic Robert Trent Jones Sr. course that's well respected, and Ironshore Golf & Country Club, which attracts mostly local play, provide more nearby options.

Beyond Rose Hall, golfers can stay and play at The Tryall Club, an all-villas beachfront resort roughly an hour to the west. The Tryall Club golf course hosted the Johnnie Walker World Championship from 1991-95, attracting Ernie Els, Nick Faldo and other stars of that generation.

More all-inclusive golf experiences can be found at the Runaway Bay Golf Club owned by Jewel Resorts and the Sandals Golf & Country Club in Ocho Rios. The 6,333-yard Negril Hills Golf Club provides a diversion from the beautiful beaches on the western edge of the island.

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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Say 'yeah, mon!' to golf in Jamaica
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