Let's do a little word-association.
If I were to say the phrase: "island golf destination," what would spring to your mind first?
The United Kingdom?
Tiny Bermuda, just 21 square miles smack in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, is not top-of-mind for most people looking to get away from it all and play golf in a tropical setting.
Which is kind of insane.
Having just returned a couple weeks ago from this intensely beautiful, over-the-top charming place, it's clear that Bermuda should move up your wish-list of golf destinations, especially if you're in the eastern half of the United States.
I don't want to overuse the word "charming" here, but that's the prevailing notion I took away from a five-day visit during which I managed to play all five of the island's 18-hole courses. Between the constantly beautiful scenery, the eclectic mix of golf courses, the lodgings at the historic Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa and the unfailing friendliness of the people, it was easy to be completely charmed by the place.
The concept of "island time" is well-known to tropical travelers. In most places, it refers to the distinctly relaxed pace of life relative to the more crowded places from which Bermuda visitors originate. Bermuda's own unique brand of island time derives from the distinctly British sensibility and feel, right down to the opposite-side-of-the-road driving scheme. Abundant beaches, ridiculously blue water and the near-omnipresence of the Dark and Stormy, the local concoction, made of Gosling's Black Seal rum and Gosling's Ginger Beet, make Bermuda a wonderfully chill place. The bottom line: if relaxation is a high priority on a future golf trip of yours, overlooking Bermuda would be a serious mistake.
Now, if you're planning to take a Bermuda golf trip sometime soon, check out these tips to make the most of your visit.
Quick insider tips on Bermuda golf trips
Visitors are not allowed to drive in Bermuda, meaning renting a car is not an option. Taxis are commonplace and plentiful, and drivers are friendly and knowledgeable about the island. Count on fares working out to a little more than a dollar per minute anywhere you want to go.
Timing is everything...
Mid Ocean Club is far and away Bermuda's best golf course, well worth playing multiple times on any trip. Just make sure you arrange your rounds there for weekdays, as those are the only days when the course accepts visitors. If you're a member of a private club back home, however, you may be able to bend those rules via a call from your home pro.
In any case, a golf trip to Bermuda without at least one round (and preferably two, so you can experience two different sets of hole locations on the course's large greens) at Mid Ocean is like a grilled cheese sandwich without the cheese. That's how essential a golf course it is for the destination in which it is located.
...So is location
Much is made of Bermuda's diminutive size, but truth be told, it's still important to consider where you'll be staying in relation to where you'll be playing and what non-golf activities you'll be pursuing (and there are many - fishing, snorkeling and general sightseeing top our list). You'll enter the island at almost its easternmost point: L.F. Wade International Airport, up by the historic town of St. George. Cambridge Beaches, however, is almost an hour away, clear across the island.
Don't forget the basics
The fact that practically everything is imported to Bermuda means that practically everything is much more expensive than it is in the US, Canada and the U.K. For example, a tube of toothpaste costs about $13 in Bermuda. We normally don't recommend verging into "overpacking," but if there's one place where you might consider packing something you may not necessarily need, it's Bermuda.
Breeze through customs
Travelers returning to the United States from Bermuda go through customs at LF Wade International Airport. Avoiding the rigamarole on the American side makes the travel experience incredibly easy, especially since a trip to Bermuda qualifies as international travel.
Have you visited and played golf in Bermuda? Please share your reminiscences and recommendations below!