Faldo Bermuda course joins throng of other Caribbean projects

 

No question about it, golf development in the Caribbean is showing signs of life.

A version of the moribund Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Anguilla has begun to stir, Greg Norman has been scouting locations for a golf course in Jamaica, and the Kittitian Hill resort community is already coming out of the ground on St. Kitts.

There’s also evidence of a pulse at other planned resort communities in the Caribbean, among them Tavistock Group’s Harmony Cove in Jamaica, Sunrise Rock on Aruba, and Seven Hills Beach Resort on St. Croix. And don’t forget about the parade of new courses that will slowly but surely be built in Cuba.

So let’s list another project: the long-planned revival of St. George’s Golf Course on Bermuda.

In 2007, Nick Faldo was commissioned to redesign and rebuild the 4,043-yard, municipally owned layout, which was to serve as a drawing card for a privately owned resort overlooking St. Catherine’s Beach, in the northeastern tip of St. George’s Island. The course was closed in 2008, and the resort’s developers, Bazarian International Financial Associates LLC, expected to begin the remaking in 2009.

“This project will be the catalyst to put Bermuda where it belongs,” Carl Bazarian said at the time.

It was a nice plan that was unfortunately stymied by the Great Recession.

Now, however, work on the new Faldo “signature” course could begin in early 2012.

That’s the word from both Bazarian and Steve Smyers, a Lakeland, Florida-based architect who’s ghost-designing St. George’s with Faldo. The course has re-opened, with limited staffing, and Smyers reports that Bazarian is close to getting permits for the resort’s planned hotel.

“It takes forever to get these things permitted,” says Smyers. “But the developers have a lot of time and money invested in it, and they don’t want to let it die.”

By all accounts, the original St. George’s track, designed by Robert Trent Jones, was scenic and enjoyable but ultimately a push-over, suitable only for vacation play. Faldo and Smyers intend to give it some teeth. The layout will be stretched to 5,800 yards when played conventionally and to 6,900 yards in a routing that will be used for tournament play.

“We are going to change things pretty dramatically,” Faldo said in 2008.

Adjacent to the course, Bazarian intends to build a 100-room Park Hyatt hotel, 110 condos and 30 fractional units that will be “branded” by Park Hyatt, a spa, a private beach club, and other attractions.

Faldo, who’s based in Windsor, England, has co-designed two other courses with Smyers: Bella Collina Golf Club in Montverde, Florida and Chart Hills Golf Club in Kent, England.

This story originally appeared in the World Edition of the Golf Course Report, in a slightly different form. For a sample copy of the World Edition, call 301/680-9460 or write to WorldEdition@aol.com.

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