On day two in Bermuda we had a round of golf booked at the Port Royal Golf Club which held the PGA Grand Slam in October. We caught a taxi to the golf course and the taxi driver happened to be a member there. He said there are six courses on the island but he considered Port Royal the hardest.
It was another beautiful day and I was excited to be out on the golf course again after about a three week hiatus. The warm up on the driving range went well which doesn’t necessarily mean anything in relation to how I will play but I am always hopeful.
I actually played well shooting 90. Unfortunately all Steve’s table tennis playing had taken a toll on his elbow so he was in a bit of pain hitting the golf ball but still managed a reasonable round. The rough wasn’t long but it managed to hide the balls well that strayed there – we were likening it to the Bermuda Triangle. Steve lost a couple of balls in this rough when we were able to see approximately where they landed – do do do, do do do….
Bermuda was hit by two storms in October and we saw some remnants of the damage – trees uprooted and fencing knocked down. The first storm hit the island on the Friday before the practice round of the PGA Grand Slam on the Sunday. 1,000 people turned up to the golf course on the Saturday to clean the course up so the tournament could go ahead. The players were impressed with how they had managed to get it back in playable condition. The Pro-Am was held on the Monday and the tournament on the Tuesday and Wednesday. The television crews and players left the island on the Thursday and the second storm hit on the Friday.
The PGA Grand Slam tournament is a play off between the four winners of the majors. This year Rory McIlroy won both the British Open and the PGA Championship, Bubba Watson won the Masters and Martin Kaymer won the US Open. Because Rory won two of the majors Jim Furyk made up the numbers as a previous major winner. Martin Kaymer won the PGA Grand Slam at Port Royal in a sudden death playoff with Bubba Watson.
The views of the Atlantic from the 8th and 16th holes were amazing. I couldn’t get over the colour of the water – it was this beautiful turquoise colour. The 16th hole is the signature hole – it is a par 3 that runs along the coast line. The taxi driver told Steve that he should go back and hit from the tips where the pro’s hit from. It is 235 yards or 212 metres with the majority of that over the edge of the cliff which is covered in flora and fauna. His first shot didn’t quite carry the flora and fauna but his second shot ended up at the back of the green. I hit off the black tees which was 135 metres – unfortunately I ended up in the bunker and took two to get out – the Atlantic looming on the other side of the green was a bit intimidating. I ended up with a 5.
History of Port Royal Golf Club, Bermuda
Located in the Southampton Parish, Southampton Golf Club, as the course was originally known, was founded in 1965 under the chairmanship of Mr. Reginald Tucker, with land being purchased in July 1965 after being given the go-ahead on 15 June 1965 from G.H. Taylor Director of Public Works. The plan however was potentially jeopardised because some of the area was originally farmland and one owner refused to sell his property to the course. Undaunted, construction finally got under way in earnest on 1 December 1967, and the project was renamed Port Royal Golf Course.
The course was the creation of golf course architect, Robert Trent Jones. Design had to be changed several times initially due to land agreements, however this rerouting lead to the creation of the world famous, and much photographed, spectacular 16th hole – the tee and green of which perch precariously on cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
The course was finally completed and opened in 1970. More recently, it underwent renovation in preparation for the hosting of the 2009 PGA Grand Slam of Golf. A member of the original design team, Roger Rulewich, has headed up this $14.5 million project and the course was officially reopened on 21 July 2009.