But what about golf? A decade ago there was only one course of note in
Barbados, an 18-hole track called Royal Westmoreland that Robert Trent
Jones Jr. laid out in 1994. However, three superb courses have opened
since the turn of the century, all in the west coast parish of St. James.
I first played Royal Westmoreland, where Ian Woosnam has a home, in
the fall of 2006. On that same trip, I played the Tom Fazio-designed Coun-
try Club course at the nearby Sandy Lane resort, where Tiger and Elin
married in 2004. I was instantly smitten with the layout of both courses.
Royal Westmoreland winds through coral canyons and over grassy hills,
offering sweeping views of the Caribbean and lots of downhill tee shots over
gaping ravines. Sandy Lane was just as enticing with its swathes of bougainvillea, the red and magenta-colored flowers bursting from the dull green
scrubs like stars from a clear, dark sky. I also marveled at the famed green
monkeys scampering around the groves of almond and mahogany trees.
I didn't get to play the other 18-hole layout at Sandy Lane, another
Fazio design named after those monkeys (whose fur is not really green
but sometimes gives off a hue of that color). That’s because only guests at
the resort, where rooms average $3,500 a night in the winter, may tee it up
there, and I was staying elsewhere. But I did drive a golf cart around the
Green Monkey and fell hard for how Fazio deftly worked it in and around a
coral rock quarry, making some holes feel as if playing in an amphitheater. a
It starts with a cup of strong coffee on the terrace of a beachside villa. A round of golf
quickly follows, at Apes Hill, Royal Westmoreland or either of the Sandy Lane courses.
Then, it’s lunch, and a repast of flying fish and a cornmeal concoction called “cou cou,”
which is the national dish. Being in Barbados, I treat myself to a little Mount Gay rum
and fresh fruit juice before heading to the beach for some reading, swimming and, of
course, napping. I amble back to my villa around 5 p.m., my skin warmed by the sun, my
lips tasting of salt from the sea and my hair tousled by the trade winds. After a shower
and one more Mount Gay, I grab a cab to one of the island’s great restaurants, either the
aptly-named eatery in St. James, The Cliff, which is considered Barbados’ best, or the
nearby Tides, a seaside bistro whose terrace juts onto the beach. If it’s Friday or Saturday
though, I go into Bridgetown, the nation’s capital, for Ostin’s Fish Fry, where locals and
tourists alike gather to munch on fish cakes served from open-air stalls. Then, it’s back
to the villa for a good night’s sleep, dreaming of doing it all over again the following day.