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Apes Hill - Barbados


Socrates

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On my recent trip to Barbados, I played the Apes Hill Club. In 2009, when I was last in Barbados, I was not able to get on (maybe too new, maybe too exclusive at that time), but they now allow unaccompanied guests play with few restrictions. I was expecting one thing and got totally surprised by the small clubhouse (maybe 1000 sq. ft.) and the small town course feel. You felt at ease and comfortable right away and they were totally there to help you without being over bearing. I hope they don't lose it when the new clubhouse is ready in 2 years. BTW, green fees are $280 US and while it seems high, I had no problem justifying it.

 

The course is simply amazing. A great design set into the highest part of land in Barbados. Google Earth shows an elevation change of about 300' and each 9 works its way from the bottom to the top and back down again. I don't think there is a flat hole anywhere and you are constantly working to compensate for the elevation, wind and uneven terrain. Tremendous layout of the holes that reward good positioning, but don't punish you too badly for a wayward shot (a few holes do and it is reload).

 

The course is immaculate and exceptionally well groomed. Paspalum grass throughout (tees, fairways and greens) with Bermuda rough. I don't think I had a bad lie once in two rounds. The course is just exceptional and you have to think out almost every shot. Not only do you have to contend with elevation change, you have to factor in the steady trade winds with every shot. I hit great drives that only went 200 yards uphill and into the wind and drives that went 340+ down wind/down hill. They see a fair amount of rain so there is very little roll so you better know your true carry numbers. Greens are VERY undulating and they keep the green speed down to a manageable level so it requires a good whack on the greens.

 

I played Luana Hills in Oahu which is an amazing place and Apes Hill is all of that with a better layout. Moves to the top of my list and when I return to Barbados, it's first on my things to do.

 

On to the pictures. The Apes Hill Club website has some really good ones (professional) and it is good to know that what they show was real and not photoshopped.

 

Hole #1 Uphill into the wind Par 5 Blasted a drive 200y

 

 

 

Hole #2 Simple but dangerous

 

Up & down from here!

 

 

Hole #3 Par 4 into wind

 

 

 

Hole #4 Crosswind Downhill then uphill Par 4

 

 

 

Hole #5 Great Par 3

 

 

Hole #6 Hit it hard. Long Par 5

 

 

 

 

Hole #7 Don't go left

 

 

 

Hole #8 Par 3 172y hit soft 9 iron (downwind)

 

 

Hole #9 Downwind downhill Par 5

 

 

 

 

Hole #10 Uphill into the wind Par 5

 

 

 

Hole #11 Fun hole - Easiest hole

 

 

 

Hole #12 Simply Awesome Par 3 Way above the hole into the wind.

 

 

Hole #13 A dangerous hole - trouble everywhere,

 

 

 

 

Hole #14 Better hit a draw.

 

 

 

 

Hole #15 Par 5 Just long.

 

 

 

Hole #16 Cheek squeezer.

 

 

 

 

Hole #17 Crosswind don't leak it right!!

 

 

 

Hole #18 Stand up and hit it!!! 460y Par 4

 

 

 

Vistas

 

 

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Great pics.

Was just in BDS in October. That was our 4th trip down there. Already booked in for this Oct (2014).

#16 is a intimidating hole. We walked the course back in 2010 and I remember standing on that tee saying to mysef "This wind makes this hole very, very tough."

The elevation changes are something else that's hard to portray in pics.

Have you played the Green Monkey?

R35

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[quote name='rockford35' timestamp='1391010417' post='8557739']
Great pics.

Was just in BDS in October. That was our 4th trip down there. Already booked in for this Oct (2014).

#16 is a intimidating hole. We walked the course back in 2010 and I remember standing on that tee saying to mysef "This wind makes this hole very, very tough."

The elevation changes are something else that's hard to portray in pics.

Have you played the Green Monkey?

R35
[/quote]
#16 can be tricky as you are in a hollow and not sure if the wind will carry the ball or knock it down. 1st round I fatted one into the water than left for a 6. 2nd round I hit 8 into the left side bunker. Got up and down for a par.

Green Monkey - you HAVE to be staying at the resort. They will let you play for $4000 US if you are not staying there. I'm not kidding. That's what they want. I played Sandy Lane in '09. In the proshop they have all the Green Monkey logo stuff there, but you can't buy it unless you played the course. Found Sandly Lane to be a real stuck up place. Nothing like that at Apes Hill.

Elevation changes and wind were a real challenge. 1st hole is only 495 from the whites. But it's uphill and into the wind. I hit Driver, 3 wood and still had 102y in and I hit both real good. If they ever got crazy and changed the greens to Bermuda (and fast) you'd have people walking off greens without ever holing it.

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I have a friend who is a lanscaper and works big contracts with SL. He said if I ever wanted to play, he could get us on. The only things that keeps me from doing so are 1) i go down with the family, and they are more important and 2) what you've reiterated here - Sandy Lane is full of a-holes.

Apes is much more laid back, and I would love to play it. We went by a nice shack being built and one of the construction guys told us it was Wayne Rooney's joint.

Did you rent your sticks, or bring your own? I'm flying down from Canada with a 5 year old, so bringing the tools is always tough - especially if I may only play one or two rounds at best.

Your photos have rejuventated my want to play their even more. And I did just buy a new Ogio travel bag....hmmm....

R35

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I brought mine. Except for a little bit of dragging around, it's worth the $20 each way (WestJet). They rent Callaway clubs. Looked like X-Hot, but didn't get too close to see. They asked if I needed clubs and shoes.

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I loved Apes Hill when I played it a few years back. You can rip it on most holes. Great views and reminds me of some of the Hawaii courses I've played

Paspalum is tricky to putt, breaks are minimized

Also played Sandy Lane and it was fun to see the green monkeys all over the course but the layout was a bit old school

I could not believe that GMonkey was 4g's ... as a single or as a 4some. [size=4]I played Sandy Lane with two billionaires .... and they thought it was outrageous [/size]

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[quote name='cardoustie' timestamp='1391030212' post='8559986']
I loved Apes Hill when I played it a few years back. You can rip it on most holes. Great views and reminds me of some of the Hawaii courses I've played

[b]Paspalum is tricky to putt, breaks are minimized[/b]

Also played Sandy Lane and it was fun to see the green monkeys all over the course but the layout was a bit old school

I could not believe that GMonkey was 4g's ... as a single or as a 4some. I played Sandy Lane with two billionaires .... and they thought it was outrageous
[/quote]
A few years ago, hmmm... You might have been the guy I met in the Toronto airport as we were picking up our clubs. He had played Apes and made me extremely jealous. Knew I didn't like you. ;)

I couldn't make a putt to save my life. Tried to work out the slope of the land plus the slope of the greens and failed. Still had fun though.

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Socrates,

Thank you for sharing the beautiful panoramic photographs. This cold weather has got me a bit down and it is nice to dream of a much warmer location. A few random thoughts: i) The wind looks to be howling on hole #4. ii) I really like the appearance of hole #5. iii) The 'cheek squeezer' comment made me smile and pucker. iv) That's one heck of an up and down. v) Those shots of the ocean are tantalizing.

Welcome home and stay warm.

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Wind is ever present in Barbados. The first day (even at $280 one round wasn't enough), the wind was likely 2 clubs. On the second round it was 3 clubs. On the 2nd hole that didn't have much elevation change (maybe 1/2 a club uphill) and straight into the wind, I hit 7 iron from 136 and I would have either hit an easy 9 or hard wedge normally. Downwind, downhill I felt like Rory McIlroy as I flew one 342 y on one hole (still had 112 to hole on the "easy" Par 4 though).

I really found judging the putts the hardest as I had play on fast Bermuda two days previous and really had a tough time working out the speed and the break. Some of that could have been from the intermittent showers changing the speed on the greens as some putts just died and some just sped past the hole and kept going.

My biggest problem right now is that green grass is at least 2 1/2 months away and I'm really champing at the bit to go play again. Unless I win the lottery, I can't see the wife green lighting anything extravagant for quite a while. :(

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Looks like a great course. Although I can't believe you got up and down from beside those rocks. I've seen you chip before...

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[quote name='daftmunkee' timestamp='1394141619' post='8813801']
Looks like a great course. Although I can't believe you got up and down from beside those rocks. I've seen you chip before...
[/quote]
That wasn't a chip. That was a full blown flopshot. I'm okay with those.

If I had to chip it close to save my life, my last words would be... "[b]HIT THE FLAG!!![/b]"

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