I’m back, enjoying Paradise back in the Caribbean

In late November I was working on finding a position for one of my assistants at St Andrews when out of the blue I was asked if I would transfer temporarily to the luxury Raffles Canouan Island Resort. After a few minute huddle with Carolyn, I said OK and voila, I was transported from the worst winter on record in Scotland to this lovely island just west of the Barbados in the island nation of St Vincent and the Grenadines. That was at the end of November, I’ve adjusted to not wearing a sweater and rainsuit very quickly. In fact I’ve signed on until Feb 2012!

As much as I loved Scotland and St Andrews, it’s nice to be warm. And I am really happy to see that the changes we did to the TORRANCE COURSE are being recognized, the Torrance was recently ranked 20th in the Golf Digest/Golfweek rankings for modern courses in Great Britain and Ireland. And I still feel the Kittocks (former Devlin) is the better course!

Our course here is a Jim Fazio design that is truly unlike any course that I have ever played, anywhere! Our front nine is a normal seaside course, spectacular views of the reef and southern Atlantic; the back nine starts with an excellent par four and then you are transported to another world. The 11th is about 200 feet above sea level, a brilliant par four played across a ravine to a plateau fairway and then across another dip to a well protected green. And then you go up another 100 feet to the next signature hole, a dog leg left par four seeming running along the top of a mountain. To the left you have the Atlantic, to the right gorgeous views of the Caribbean. I never knew there were so many sailboats, big sailboats! One day as I made an easy bogey we counted 39 “boats”. Many other islands are in sight, Mustique, Union, Palm, St Vincent and others. For a boy from Muskoka, this is unbelieveable.

And then you go up another 100 feet to our par five 13th hole, a superb hole that runs across the top of the island with more outstanding vistas on both sides. The 14th is a par three which starts your downhill run. To the left is Mahaut Bay with its very private beach. The 15th is a driveable par four for the truly brave. It requires a carry of 276 yards, or you can play it 3 iron, 9 iron like myself. The 16th is the longest par three in daily use, 305 yards from the back tee. It plays downhill over 200 feet, breath-taking, dramatic, tough as Hell! My problem is I can’t see that far, difficult to see if I’m on the green or history! The nine finishes with a great par five 17th around our irrigation lake and then a 450 yard par four 18th. I’ve played all over the world and really have never seen a more fun combination of golf holes!

More later, have to see if I’m still connected to the blog!

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Gary Slatter

Venerable Canadian golf pro Gary Slatter discusses his opinions on the state of golf, golf course design and construction, teaching and more, based on a lifetime in the business.

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