My Sad List

Lucayan CC (1024x819)There are many lists around, Canada’s Top 59, World Top 100, etc.  So I was thinking about a few courses that I have loved, and will never get to play again.  Actually, no one will get to play them!

The Bahamas tops my list, and the reason is the nation just doesn’t understand modern tourism.  The Bahamian people are very proud and the Bahamas is the most prosperous country in the Caribbean.  I love the country and love many Bahamians (even my Bahamian relatives!) so maybe there’s a reason tourism isn’t what it should be.  I always felt that if Grand Bahama Island was run by Jamaica it would be so busy, and home to 400,000 people by now.

Gone but not forgotten:

Arawak Golf Club, Paradise Island:   sure there’s a new Weiskopf course built over top of the great Dick Wilson course, but in truth it’s maybe half as good as the original Paradise Island Course.

The Emerald, Freeport, GBI:  a Dick Wilson gem, I worked there when it opened, remember some great times, Doug Sanders won his last PGA Tour event there in 1071!

Lucayan Country Club:  possibly Dick Wilson’s finest course, over grown and forgotten by it’s Chinese owners.  They could care less about tourism, all they want is a harbour, a refinery and an airport 90 miles from the US coast.   Masters Champion Craig Wood worked with Wilson throughout the building of Lucayan.  So many fond memories, …… like losing a pet.

The Ruby and Shannon:  two superb Joe Lee designs, both on Grand Bahama, both returned to nature although The Ruby is on life-support, sort of, a victim of a hurricane past where the insurance was paid and the owners faded away with their loot instead of rebuilding.

West End Golf Club:  used to be a fun 27 holes, hosted an annual PGA Tour event, owned by Eastern Airlines original owners.   Paspalam grass may have saved it (they only had brackish water, even their ice cubes were bad).  Later it was “purchased” by the fraudulent land development company from Florida with great plans and other people’s money, gone now too.  West End’s last big success was back in prohibition when the town was huge, supplying UK booze to the US overnight by clipper ships.  A few Kennedys and Seagrams made fortunes there.  For some time it was also booming supplying the next generation with drugs, delivered in an hour by cigarette boat.  Now, it’s back to a sleepy little fishing village, with memories of Hemingway, Finsterwald and Trevolta.

And the last Bahamas course, Great Harbour Cay in the Berry Islands.  How could a Nicklaus and Joe Lee venture go south?   I remember a fun golf trip to Great Harbour Cay with George and Bobbi Clifton.  We were their last guests!  No bread for a week, each day something became unavailable.  Great course, now back to fishing.

I missed a few but my list is only courses that I have played.


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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.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • What about Blue Shark? The Greg Norman design that languishes in the shadows of the Albany Resort. Really solid and really lonely at the moment.

    And if the Ocean Club is only half as good as the course on which it currently sits that must have been one unbelievable track.

  • Mr. Slatter, my eyes filled with tears reading that Lucaya is overgrown! You may remember me as the junior golfer running around the course every afternoon and all day Saturday haha. I don’t play much golf anymore and last time I was home I played the Reef course with Dr. Macdougal thinking Lucaya was closed for maintenance or something. Shocking! The email address in your profile is bouncing back undeliverable… I would love to catch up somehow. Hope all is well with you and Mrs. Slatter. Take care

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