Tee times run for only an hour each day on that track, from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.,
and it handles no more than 1,000 rounds a year.
This past fall, I returned to Barbados to play the newest — and I believe best —
course on the island, Apes Hill. It is the result of collaboration between Bajan industrialist Sir Charles Williams, who runs one of the largest construction companies in
the Caribbean, and Jerry Barton’s Landmark Land Co., which has built a number
of superlative golf courses and communities over the years, among them La Quinta
and Kiawah Island.
Designed by Landmark’s house architects, Jerry Potts and Chris Cole, the lush lay-
out is the centerpiece of a golf and polo community. The course cuts across hills that
rise 1,000 feet above sea level and features meadows, dense tropical forest and coral
rock outcroppings, with the Atlantic and Caribbean serving as distant backdrops.
The design at Apes Hill takes advantage of the diverse terrain to present a wide
range of shot-making possibilities. Potts and Cole took note of the ever-present trade
winds, giving the course a “linksy” feel by allowing golfers to run shots onto the
greens. They put a premium on playing the angles, too, rewarding drives hit to the
proper side of fairways with much easier approaches.
A mix of long and short par 4s forced me, literally, to use every club in my bag,
and Apes Hill has as good a collection of par 3s I’ve ever found on one course, with
testy greens tucked in front of coral walls, along streams, beside grass-faced bunkers
and next to dense swathes of jungle.
To be sure, Mount Gay makes a trip to Barbados a very compelling proposition.
But golf is now a pretty strong reason to go, as well.
Royal Westmoreland and Sandy Lane are resorts that offer accommodations for
golfers as well as the opportunity for those who are not guests to tee it up on their
courses. Green fees at Royal Westmoreland run from $250 to $350 a person, while
those on the Country Club course at nearby Sandy Lane range from $170 to $235. The
fabled Green Monkey course, available only to Sandy Lane guests, has an individual rate
of $385 per round. (For more information, check out www.royalwestmoreland.com and
As a private golf community, Apes Hill is only open to members and their guests,
and to be a member you must own property there. But Landmark Land chairman Jerry
Barton says there is a liberal guest policy that allows for unaccompanied guest play, at
$220 per person. ( www.apeshillclub.com.)
delight is sheer; but rates are dear
one smart monkey
As chairman of Landmark Land, Jerry Barton has been in golf course development for more
than 30 years. And during that time, he has opened a number of celebrated layouts. One would
think he’d have a hard time selecting a favorite. But he does not hesitate when asked about his
latest creation, Apes Hill.
“I’ve built 50 courses, and I consider them all my children,” the bushy-eyebrowed Okie says.
“But Apes Hill is my smartest child. It’s the setting that makes it so special, on that crest of a hill in
Barbados with views of both the Caribbean and Atlantic. And I also like the quality of the golf course
design and the ways it can challenge a variety of levels of play.”
Developed with Sir Charles Williams, Apes Hill is a private golf and polo community that is being
managed by the Wentworth Club of England. Plans call for three phases. The first, which consists of
60 villas constructed around a polo field where Sir Charles and his sons, Teddy and Steve, often play,
has been completed. Phase two is made up of 470 acres that includes the recently opened golf course
and 216 building lots. Only 35 percent of that acreage will be developed, with the remaining property
staying untouched. Phase three involves an additional 350 acres and has more than enough room for
another golf course. But that part of the development is not likely to begin for years.
Lots at Apes Hill are for sale at prices that range between $460,000 and $10 million, and
semi-detached villas range from $1.1 million to $2.6 million.