Travel Tips: Hitting The Links In St Kitts
By Justin Burch
Much like other islands in the Caribbean, the tourism industry of St. Kitts has recently been courting the serious traveling golfer. With over 50 million devoted golfers worldwide and far more recreational players, Caribbean golf resorts are turning to golf as a focal point of their tourism efforts. According to published statistics, the traveling golfer, on business or vacation, both travels more often and spends approximately 35 percent more per trip than an average tourist.
Throughout the entire Caribbean, the golf industry continues to grow at an incredible rate. Within the last 10 years, many of the world's most recognized golf course architects have lent their skill to Caribbean soil, including Jack Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf, Greg Norman and Peter Dye.
In regards to St. Kitts, it certainly helps that the island's climate and environment are perfectly suited for such golf course construction. In addition to heavenly weather, everything from the jungles to the beaches remains remarkably well-preserved. With one of the centerpieces of St. Kitts tourism now in place, the coming years will see at least four new tournament quality courses. Here is an outline of what to expect in the future and some travel tips to make the most of your Caribbean golf vacation.
At the heart of St. Kitts' golf course development and tourism plans is the recently remodeled Royal St. Kitts Golf Club. Developed in conjunction with the St. Kitts Marriott Resort and Royal Beach Casino, the 6,900-yard, par 71 golf club majestically overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Designed by award-winning architect Thomas McBroom and essentially rebuilt atop an existing course of lesser renown, the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club has already established itself as the premier links-style course in the Caribbean.
To accompany the beautifully updated course, the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club also has a luxurious new clubhouse with a restaurant and bar, locker rooms and a full-service pro shop. The Royal St. Kitts Golf Club will also house the Faldo Institute by Marriott, a state-of-the-art training and education facility. If that isn't enough for you, the Marriott Hotel has 648 guest rooms and suites, three swimming pools, the 35,000 square foot Royal Beach Casino and the 15,000 square foot Emerald Mist Spa.
Slated to open in early 2007, the $14-million La Vallée Golf Course designed by Charles Howard will be a traditional links layout coupled with impressive views of the Caribbean Sea, small neighboring islands and Mount Liamuiga, the island's highest point. In the future, this St. Kitts golf club will be surrounded by private villas, a new marina and a luxury hotel.
In the Sandy Bank area, a $295 million Caribbean golf resort is scheduled to open in 2008. Besides the luxury hotel and its trimmings, the complex will include another much-anticipated championship course. With a layout designed by Rees Jones, brother of Robert Trent Jones Jr. and one of the leading golf course architects in his own right, the course is destined to be yet another gem in a growing collection of St. Kitts treasures.
The most recently announced project is the Kittitian Heights Resort at Belmont Estate in northwestern St. Kitts, only 20 miles from the capital of Basseterre. The $195 million development is scheduled to open in 2011 and will include a course designed by Ian Woosnam, the former Masters Champion.
On St. Kitts sister island of Nevis, the Four Seasons Caribbean Golf Resort is another great design by Robert Trent Jones Jr., one of the Caribbean's most active architects. Finished in 1991, the course certainly set the standard for things to come on the islands. Now, a new layout designed by renowned Canadian golf course architect Doug Carrick, scheduled to open in 2008, will carve a path through the coconut groves on the foothills of Mount Nevis.
This article was written by Justin Burch. Justin writes select pieces about vacationing in the Caribbean for the St. Kitts Resort.
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.