If you are spending time in Barbados and looking to play golf then you really should be thinking about playing Royal Westmoreland . It is an opportunity you can’t miss. Well you can but it would be a real shame. Many have declared it the best golf course on Barbados.
Last time Mr B was playing Royal Westmoreland he took notes of each tee and took photos so we could share his tips on playing the course. Before golfing holidays people often search for tips on playing golf courses, hints on how greens play and for maybe some photos, well here is what we hope is the definitive guide packed with tips on playing golf at the Royal Westmoreland Golf Course in Barbados.
Ladies and gentleman, a collaborative post from the two of us then: words from him, pics from me on playing Royal Westmoreland.
The greens are generally true and even paced, but there are lots of subtle borrows so don’t expect to score low unless you master the greens. Exposed greens can be a bit quicker but not much quicker as the surface isn’t rock hard. The grass grows towards the sea, so the grain of the green goes that way – this can be tricky on holes where you don’t see the sea!
There are multiple tee-box options. Hackers like me find the white tees enough; a decent club golfer would find the blue tees fairly gentle and the golds a slightly stiffer challenge.
Large emblazoned fairway markers are 150 to the centre, sprinkler heads have three distances (front/centre/back) in yards and the buggy track has distances to the centre.
Keep your plastic glass and refill from the chilled drinking water butts (1st tee/9th green; 3rd tee/6th green; 10th/16th tee;13th tee [I think]). The drinking water is excellent and you will need it.
Holes where I’ve seen local wildlife (green-tailed monkeys) on the course have an ‘m’. ‘M’ signifies lots of monkeys, but usually not in the heat of the day. Dusk is the best time if you want to spot them, when the course is quieter. Don’t get too close as they are wild and can really defend themselves if they feel threatened.
And talk to the starters. Ask them about how playing Royal Westmoreland is at the moment -they have loads of info and they’re really helpful.
(click these yellow headings to be taken to the panoramic photos I took, each link is a different pic)
Favour the left side. A gentle draw is ideal as the fairway runs away to the right and there is a bunker front right which makes an approach over the bunker challenging. Green pretty flat.
Favour the left side as you can get in awkward positions down the right. Gently uphill all the way so it plays longer. Don’t be “on-line but short” as you’ll find sand or end up in the trees. Much better IMO to aim left a bit and then the green opens up to your approach. Lots of bunkers. Flat green.
A lovely par 3, not taxing apart from the wind, but distance (and control of distance) is important here. Your only bail-out is short right, short left is awkward, long is a potential lost ball. Much easier to just stick it on the green! Green slopes quite a bit from back to front.
A great driving hole if you’re straight enough, with a fairly accessible green. A drive down the right favoured as there is a greenside bunker on the left.
Depending on the wind direction (and your skill level) this can be fun/challenging/a card-wrecker! Use the right half of the fairway but don’t get too greedy. The fairway bunker on the right hand side can leave a blind uphill third of 130 yards. If you go too far left, you’ll leave another blind approach. If I had the length/accuracy, I’d drive to just before the downslope and then hit a fairway wood/rescue/v long iron and chase it up the hill.
Pin position is crucial here; if it’s middle/front on the left side (looking from the tee) then it can be on a huge slope. Further back and it’s more benign. People over-clubbing on the third tee (or very unlucky with the wind) can join you on your green.
A quirky hole but won’t trouble a half-decent golfer, just hit your tee shot 200+ and you’ll have a gentle shot to the sheltered green. The bunker in front just costs you one, not tough to escape from. Slightly wayward approaches are gathered in by the walls so don’t panic unless you really lose control!
Gentle par three from an elevated tee, bail out is short and right. When the wind blows, club selection can be more challenging….just don’t go left and short. If you do end up in the dip, there is a drop zone-use it! The green is pretty flat but remember to check where the sea is -the grain of the grass can influence the roll of the ball considerably.
Favour the right from the tee as this improves the line into the green. If you can hit it 200+ down the right-centre, the run and slope will leave you in a lovely position.
If you go left, your second can be blind to a bunkered green so a shot laid up to the right can be lower risk than a full-frontal assault.
A decent drive of 200+ down the right centre will leave a straight shot to the green. There is water to the right of the fairway but it’s not really in play unless you hit a right howler.
In some ways it’s a bit unremarkable, but Adrian will rent (!) you some golf balls on the tee, and the halfway house (bacon sandwiches and tea mmmmmmm) sits by the green.
Green is pretty flat but watch out for the grain.
The tee is overlooked by an England cricketing great and you MUST NOT GO LEFT here unless you can hit it a very long way indeed. Play it as a proper dog leg and hit it 180 Middle-right and then look at the green.
The tee shot can be fun into the wind. 😉 The green looks shallow but it’s deeper than it appears-check a sprinkler head or the score card for details!
This is a lovely uphill par 4 that just seems to go on forever. Play to the back of the green as the slope will kill you otherwise. Again, subtle borrows in the green will mean a good score here is a really good score.
This is a lovely par 3 to an elevated green. It’s tough enough from the front tees (solid 160 yards uphill with no room short or left) but really quite intimidating from the back ones. Again, the bail out is right, and the drop zone is over there too. Don’t have a “Tin Cup” moment here as the wind can be stronger up top than it appears!
Green is quite gentle so if you pop it on, a birdie is a realistic chance.
Open your shoulders on this one and give it a lash, overlooked by a current England footballing star’s villa. This is a lovely par 5 meandering down the hill.
Longer hitters go straighter, shorter ones favour the right and then the left with the 2nd shot.
Basically, if you can boom it down the middle, you could be on in two as the prevailing wind is helping, but you must approach the green from the left hand side to avoid firing over the bunkers.
There’s a lot of room on this hole, but only on the right of the fairway, left be demons!!!
This hole is really dependent on the wind, as (lovely though it is) there’s not much going on until the green. Heavily bunkered (some steep ones at that), the green is quite shallow so you need accuracy on your approach. If you can hit the green in regulation, a par should be no trouble.
A deceptively simple looking par 3, this one really comes alive when the wind blows, which it does fairly often.
The prevailing wind pushes anything with even a hint of fade* into the gully where Adrian might find it, but you won’t. Anything left leaves an ‘interesting’ chip back across……towards the gully again.
Short and you are (you guessed it) in the gully.
Just knock it on the green, get your par and wonder what I’m on about!
*nasty horrible slice
This hole is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde. With the wind against you, it can be a challenge getting halfway up the hill (for me, anyway), then you have to take on the hill (playing blind) or play out to the right and come back left to the green.
As with 11, play for the back of the green as there are bunkers in front, but there is a road behind so be careful.
If the wind’s at your back, it can be less tricky to get to the green, but you’re only halfway as this green has trapped a few people. I think it’s the fact that I’m shattered by then, that the green is windswept so a bit crustier than some of the others and has borrows that I can’t see, but a two-putt here always makes me happy.
This is the second of the closing three holes (obviously) but it’s lovely. Again it’s an ‘open your shoulders’ hole with a big generous fairway, which I have occasionally hit.
The green looks shallow but it’s not really, but as it’s elevated you can’t see much of it.
I can’t say which is the best way to play this hole as I don’t know, but a good tee shot is obviously a good start.
This is a daunting tee shot but it shouldn’t be really. There are just three things you need to do. Go straight, carry 120(?) yards and don’t over hit it.
If you can carry 160 and have a gentle fade, you’ll see your ball scamper down the steps towards the green. Don’t be tempted to fly the palm trees on the right as the ball can kick right (into the gully) or skip down all of the steps into…..you know.
My favourite line is to aim at between the two right hand bunkers with a 3 wood. Straight and it should leave a 140 yd approach to a slightly lower green. Left and it’s longer but doable, right and the ball will feed down the hill, getting closer all the time.
When you aim at the green, left and or short is bad, there is room right and long, but not much.
It’s a great finishing hole, especially with a 4 on your card!
Then it is time to sit in the Clubhouse and reflect on the fact you just finished playing Royal Westmoreland whilst looking back up the ninth fairway
Not a bad way to spend a morning, we think you will agree.
If you are playing Royal Westmoreland any time soon please do let us know if you have any questions, we would love to hear from you! And if you want to see other posts we have written during our decade of holidays on the island, just search Barbados in the search box.