In 20 years of covering golf, I’ve played at, and visited, some of the most incredible golf facilities and destinations. From Canada to Singapore, from European classics to modern masterpieces of the Middle East. My wife will confirm that I’ve been on quite a number of “investigatory” trips. Sorry darling. I’m going to put my neck on the line and suggest that this September, I took the most surprising, most enjoyable and quite simply the best golfing trip of my career to date.
It’s been a busy 2023 and I’d almost forgotten that I’d been booked in to join a press trip at the end of summer to visit Apes Hill to play the Ron Kirby renovated course there. But I was very pleasantly reminded of it when I received an email confirming a rather exciting looking itinerary, including some golf and an awful lot more – As the UK was in the last days of summer… “Woh, I was going to Barbados,” (younger readers might want to substitute Ibiza in order to get the musical reference there.)
Barbados seems a distant tropical paradise but it’s closer than I’d realised. One of the more southerly and easterly Caribbean islands, the flight time from London is only eight hours, it’s just seven and a half on the way back. It doesn’t really even qualify as a long-haul flight and, after a couple of films, a bowl of pasta and the obligatory G&T (or two) we touched down in Bridgetown.
It may have been hot when we’d left London but, boy, did it feel hotter when we stepped off the plane – It certainly hit me – a bit like opening the dishwasher just after it’s finished running. Early September is about as hot as it gets in Barbados and they were enjoying a particularly hot one. The temperature there is very pleasant, year-round. And to be honest, even at its hottest (some 33 degrees centigrade), it isn’t prohibitive. I wouldn’t have wanted to be grafting on a building site but strolling round a golf course or sipping a rum punch was not a problem.
A 30-minute drive up the island (it’s only 22 miles long and 12 miles wide), we made it to Apes Hill. Situated some 1,000 feet…