Barbados is now one of the Caribbean’s top destinations to play golf after the opening of its latest world-class course.
The Apes Hill resort has been added to the four existing high-end golf courses on the island. For such a tiny island, Barbados has a remarkable number of excellent public courses. Many Caribbean islands have only one stellar course, yet Barbados now rises to possibly second to the Dominican Republic in number of standout golf designs open to the public.
Apes Hill is on one of the highest spots on the island, a breath-taking piece of property with views of both the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. New owners and management used the pandemic down time to radically redo the course, and brought in the late Ron Kirby, an acclaimed golf course architect who passed away in August, shortly after finishing the new Apes Hill.
The views, elevation changes, dramatic exposed limestone and coral rock are still as dramatic as ever, but the course is much easier to play now. The fairways are wide, especially landing areas off the tee, there are no blind shots, and while many approaches and tee shots clearly have a preferred side, the most unpleasant aspect is the numerous monkeys the island is famous for.
As a result of all the changes, Golf Inc magazine named Apes Hill a ‘2023 Development of the Year’, and at the 2023 World Golf Awards in Abu Dhabi, the resort cleaned up, winning in four categories: Best Golf Real Estate Venue, Best Eco-Friendly Golf Facility; Best New Golf Course Barbados; and Best New Golf Course Caribbean.
The emergence of Apes Hill as a golf resort is ongoing, with the imminent opening of a new main restaurant, clubhouse and par-3 nine-hole course, all in time for the Christmas season.
The existing restaurant is the open-air 20th hole, the bar and halfway house, and the food, a mix of Barbadian specialties such as fish cutter sandwiches and flying fish dishes combines well with an international menu. The property is vast, with an emphasis on sustainability and farming. There are also greenhouses and nurseries.
Apes Hill grows its own tropical fruit, produce, and even has bee hives to make honey. Drought resistant grasses take less water, fertilizer is made on sight from seaweed and compost, and a 58-million-gallon reservoir captures rainwater and allows the golf course to be completely independent of Barbados’ water utility.