By Kim Swan, J.P. Teaching Professional
The winter months in Bermuda have always been unofficially and officially considered as our golf season. A great time for snow bound golfers to spend quality time golfing in Bermuda and where else, but playing one of the world’s greatest public golf courses, Port Royal.
In the winter months, back in the day, I fondly remember the good works of Bermuda’s great golf mastermind, the late John Mason, who’s brainchild – The Bermuda Golf Classic – which succesfully attracted a title sponsor and became The Lobster Pot Classic at The Castle Harbour Resort and with it the irrepressible host the late Fritz Reiter – we indeed had many great years golfing and socializing with our friends from overseas. That is where I learned my golf trade, and soon thereafter in the 1980’s in February, I created the Bermuda Valentines Mixed Foursomes Golf Tournament which attracted hundreds of visitors to our shores for two decades. There are other such events that – along with our Bermudian hospitality – made Bermuda a winter golfing paradise.
Hence, February has long been the height of the local golf season for Bermuda – ironically, in a former era – Bermuda was the winter golf wonderland for the rich and famous from North America and Great Britain. It was our world renown golf courses that were an integral part of the tourism product in the winter months. Comparatively, with the introduction of more modern irrigation systems today, Bermuda golf courses such as Port Royal benefited in the warmer months, with the prolific growth of cruise ship passengers between April – November, we have seen these months transformed to the new golf season in Bermuda for masses of visitors. At Port Royal we see the benefits of the golfer onboard the cruise ships berthed in Dockyard.
Lest we forget the reason our remote Bermuda golf courses captivated the attention of golfers globally in the winter – with great architects like Port Royal’s Robert Trent Jones Sr. others like Emmet Deveraux, Charles Blair McDonald, Seth Raynor, Roger Rullewich and Charles Banks which are names associated with developing Bermuda’s other great courses offering challenging but fair golf conditions; make a good reason to lure golfers away from cold winter weather conditions in Northeast America, Canada and Great Britain. These visitors will travel by air, take up residence in mainly in hotels and/or guest houses and potentially spend exponentially six times that of a cruise passenger while on island. Therein lies a major opportunity for us in every February in Bermuda.
Now we must attract sufficient numbers of golfers to our shores between to appreciate great golfing conditions between October to April – with February being a key month to encourage a winter golf getaway to Bermuda.
We at Port Royal Golf Course, as Bermuda’s premium public golf facility, are ready to play host to the resurgence of the winter golf pilgrimage to Bermuda – the public is invited to enjoy our full service golf facility.