Designed and opened for play in 1970 by world-renowned architect Robert Trent Jones, the awe-inspiring layout at Port Royal Golf Club is widely recognised by leading publications such as Golf Digest as one the best public golf courses in the world, while the New York Times bestowed the honour of naming it Bermuda's best golf course. Measuring anything from 5,176 yards from the Reds, to a little over 6,800 yards from the championship markers, the par 71 Port Royal is one of the more testing courses in Bermuda, but that’s not to say it can’t be enjoyed by the higher handicapper. Even on a difficult day on the course, golfers of all abilities can’t help but be bowled over by the thoroughly entertaining design and some of the most picturesque views in world golf.
In 2009, the course underwent a $15.9 million renovation spearheaded by Robert Rulewich of the Trent Jones design stable, mostly in preparation for the 2009 PGA Grand Slam of Golf, an event which pits each of the previous year’s major champions against one another through four days of exciting stroke play competition. Such is the undoubted quality of the course; Port Royal remained as tournament host through 2014 until the cancellation of the 2015 event, with champions over that span including marquee names such as Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Adam Scott and, most recently, Martin Kaymer.
Thanks in large part to support from the Bermuda Government, Port Royal’s conditioning, especially when you consider it is a public golf course, simply superb, with TifEagle greens and a state-of-the art irrigation system ensuring the course’s condition is matched only by the sweeping ocean views that can be enjoyed from nearly every hole.
The signature hole on the course is undoubtedly the par 3 16th, where players must take their tee shots from a tee set on the edge of a cliff, towards a green some 235 yards away from the championship markers. With a green perched seemingly on the edge of the world, this is one of golf’s most memorable holes and almost worth the trip to Port Royal alone.
Like many of the golf courses in Bermuda, for the most part, Port Royal weaves its way across undulating terrain that skirts the dramatic ocean-side cliffs so buggies are recommended, particularly during the warmer months of the year.
Reflecting the overall quality of the golf course, the practice facilities at Port Royal are also top class, with a 300 yard driving range that boasts target greens at distances of 75, 100,150 and 200 yards allowing golfers to work their way through their full bag of clubs before taking to the first tee. With the Atlantic Ocean serving as the most dramatic backdrop, keen golfers would be content practicing all day at Port Royal and in addition to the driving range, the club also boasts excellent short game practice areas including dedicated chipping and bunker play areas and a practice putting green.
For those travelling without their own set of clubs, hire clubs are available from the pro shop.
Port Royal is ranked as one of the best courses in the Caribbean