Nestled in the Caribbean Sea, off of the east coast of the southern-most part of North America and the northern coast of South America, the Caribbean has become a year-round haven for golf enthusiasts. In general, people planning golf trips picture stunning views, warm climates, and challenging yet picturesque golf courses: the Caribbean provides this tenfold.
With warm temperatures every month of the year across its 26 nations, the Caribbean is an ideal location for any trip. But, due to the region over 120 golf courses laid out in 21 of its nations, the area has become a favourite of those looking to enjoy an idyllic golf trip.
The Caribbean exudes an aura of relaxation and fun, delivering the golf experience that many players strive for when planning the golf trip of a lifetime. While every nation in the Caribbean offers a different experience, many who plan a golf trip to the region opt to base their stay and play in one country. But, with many nations situated so close to one another, those with a bigger budget can experience many different flavours of Caribbean golf.
Here, we’ll be giving you a breakdown of the climate in the Caribbean as well as a suggestion as to the time of year to base your golf trip to the Caribbean. Then, we’re showing off the best and most famous golf courses of the region before making recommendations for the best golf courses for varying budgets of golf trips.
What’s the best season to go on a golf trip to the Caribbean?
Few locations beat the Caribbean for ideal weather all year-round. The region averages a low of around 24°C to a high of close to 29°C, making the cooler spells still warm enough to know that you’re on holiday, while the warmer spells aren’t so hot that you can’t go out and enjoy the links comfortably.
That said, many areas of the Caribbean suffer from the tyranny of hurricane season at set times of the year. The official storm and hurricane season begins on the 1st of June and ends on the 30th of November. Storm and hurricane season reaches its peak in the Caribbean in September, with August through to the start of November being a notoriously troublesome time for parts of the region.
The impact of the storms and hurricanes on holiday-makers, particularly those who seek to enjoy a golf trip, has led to many experts advising the period of December through to April – winter and spring – as being the optimal seasons to visit the Caribbean.
That said, hurricanes and tropical storms aren’t a constant threat or hindrance during the storm and hurricane season to the entirety of the Caribbean. So, if a winter-spring trip isn’t on the cards for you, a trip may still be a possibility; but be sure to thoroughly check the weather reports before planning your golf trip to the Caribbean.
The Caribbean’s most famous golf courses
Of the over 120 golf courses dotted around the Caribbean, some have emerged as famous sites for golf fans to visit and challenge in recent years. Three appear in the current Top 100 golf courses in the world while others are famous for celebrity outings to the location.
The second-highest-ranked Caribbean golf course in the current Top 100 is the Mid Ocean Club in Tucker’s Town, Bermuda. The incredible par 71 course sees players fire shots down fairways that overlook the coast while being edged by sand traps. One of the many highlights of the course is the par-four fifth hole with a tee shot to fire over what is known as Mangrove Lake.
Punta Espada Golf Course in Cap Cana, Dominican Republic is considered to be the second-best course of all 31 available on the island that the nation shares with Haiti. With the fairways and greens coddled by stunning white sand, Punta Espada offers an incredible trip alongside the shore with one of the holes taking players over an ocean cove.
According to the most recent rankings of the Top 100 golf courses, Casa de Campo in La Romana, Dominican Republic weighs in as the very best that the Caribbean has to offer. The par 72 course is better known as the Teeth of the Dog and was the originator of the nation’s newly founded persona as a prime golfing destination. With each hole offering a unique and skilled challenge alongside impeccable scenery, it should come as no surprise that the Teeth of the Dog is one of the most famous golf courses in the world.
Puerto Rico has earned the nickname of ‘the golf capital of the Caribbean’ and more than proves it with 26 high-quality golf courses and resorts dotted around the island nation. Of all of the courses, The Links at Royal Isabela stands as the most striking, taking place along the top of 200-foot cliffs for a very different Caribbean golfing experience.
Famous people tend to help venues become famous places, which is one of the reasons why the One&Only Ocean Club on Paradise Island, Bahamas has found fame. In its opening years, the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational golf tournament was held on the prestigious golf course, welcoming the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Michael Phelps, Mario Lemieux, Don Cheadle, Kurt Russell, and, of course, NBA legend Michael Jordan to compete to raise money for charity.
Planning your golf trip around your big or medium budget
There is a plethora of golf courses and experiences to indulge in when planning a golf trip to the Caribbean, so it can be difficult to hone in on just one golf resort to base your trip around. Due to the cost of flights and accommodation at the resorts, those on a medium budget would likely aim to base their trip in one nation. However, those operating on a bigger budget could go on an island-hopping adventure to experience more of what the Caribbean has to offer.
The prices and fees detailed come from the time of writing, but many golf resorts in the region offer packages at different times of the year. So, it’s worth using these details as general budgeting guidelines and then checking out comparison websites or the resort websites for package deals.
First, we’ll break down a couple of the great golf courses to base your golf trip around but will not include a Puerto Rico resort here as we have created a full article dedicated to golf trips to Puerto Rico.
Away from the larger Caribbean islands and atop the tail of smaller islands leading to South America, St Kitts and Nevis offers a grand and moderately priced golf trip opportunity. Flying into the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport, take a taxi south to arrive at the St Kitts Marriott Resort & Royal Beach Casino as not only is the classy resort a mere 11-minute walk from the Royal St Kitts Golf Club, but it also grants cheaper green fees.
With rooms at the Marriott Hotel from $199 (€173, £152) per night, green fees – which include a cart – through the ideal winter-spring months are reduced from $165 to $150 (€130, £114) for hotel guests. You can also enjoy a round of Super Twilight golf from 2:00 for $75 (€65, £57).
Mentioned earlier as one of the most famous golf courses in the Caribbean, the Punta Espada can be enjoyed for a comparatively moderate rate, especially as nearby accommodation can come at a fairly low price. After flying into Punta Cana International Airport, Punta Espada Golf Club is a mere 20-minute drive south, but you’ll want to stop off at the Xeliter Golden Bear Lodge in Cap Cana on the way. You can find rooms from $167 (€145, £127), and the Golden Bear Lodge is only a seven-minute drive from the golf club.
During the peak season (late November to early April) at off-peak hours (11:40 am to 2:30 pm), you can enjoy an 18-hole round for $295 (€256, £225) which includes the green fee, cart fee, caddie fee, range balls, booklet, and tax.
If you’re operating on a bigger budget and want to enjoy much more of the Caribbean golfing experience, have a look into doing some island hopping. As many of the islands are in such close proximity, you can get to them with relative ease.
One of the best locations to base yourself from for some island hopping is Puerto Rico. The island already boasts 26 golf courses but its capital city, San Juan, offers easy access to pretty much anywhere in the region via regional carriers, ferries, or planes.
To the west of Puerto Rico lies another golfing capital of the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic, which is less than an hour away by plane.
To get the full golfing experience on your golf trip to the Caribbean, island hopping from one of the golf hubs of the region is the best way to do so. However, if you’d rather a less expensive taste of Caribbean golfing, there are many incredible golf resorts dotted around the region.