AlbanyNew Providence, New Providence
- Address127 S Ocean Rd, New Providence, The Bahamas
The ultra exclusive Albany resort was developed by businessman Joe Lewis and his private investment company, the Tavistock Group, in association with a number of high profile investors from the world of golf, including Tiger Woods and Ernie Els.
The Big Easy was further involved architecturally, as Greg Letsche from his golf design company routed the fairways through a 565-acre real estate development which lies close to Lyford Cay in the south west of New Providence island.
Officially opened in December 2010, the links-style course measures over 7,400 yards from the back tees, configured as five par fives and five par threes with the remaining holes laid out as par fours. Five tee positions on every hole allows non professional members to enjoy a shorter, though no less enjoyable, round at Albany.
The Big Easy and his design team transformed a basically flat site by building a series of lakes then using the excavated material to form the framework for the false sand dune formations which now separate the fairways. Sand dredged from the deep-water channel into the resort’s marina was then used to cap these man-made dunes.
Feature holes include the par three 2nd (which Ernie Els likens to the 13th at Muirfield, one of his favourite holes), the short par four 14th (with a split fairway tempting golfers to go for the green off the tee), and the par three 17th, where many the tee shot will be devoured by the lake that wraps itself round the left of the green.
In 2014, the World Challenge was hosted at Isleworth Golf & Country Club after a fourteen-year stint at Sherwood Country Club in California. In 2015, the event moved outside the US for the first time to Albany, where Bubba Watson became champion. The Hero World Challenge (hosted by Tiger Woods) has been staged on New Providence ever since.
Tom Doak commented as follows in The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses: “If you own a 150-foot yacht, and a course under 7,300 yards just doesn’t float your boat, then pulling up alongside the big boys at Albany’s harbor would be just your cup of tea. But you may not remember much about your round when you’re done. With low fairways set between sandy wastes on one side and dune grass waving on the mounds opposite, the holes here tend to blend together. They’d have been better off with ¼ of the landscaping budget, so they would have had to choose which holes to jazz up, instead of just doing them all.”
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Ernie Els grew up on the outskirts of Johannesburg, where he excelled at cricket, rugby and tennis. His prowess at tennis was such that he won the Eastern Transvaal Junior Championships aged thirteen.