To say that Apes Hill Barbados has been one of the most exciting Caribbean developments in recent years would be a considerable understatement. Ever since the property was acquired by Canadian investor and Gildan CEO Glenn Chamandy, the expectations have been nothing short of stratospheric, especially among golfers. That’ll happen, of course, when the project’s launch includes a description like “The best golfing experience in the Caribbean.”
There are obviously already some courses and communities that have earned multiple “best” distinctions over the years, but as the grand opening of this Ron Kirby design finally nears, the needle is about to snap right off the buzz-o-meter. Apes Hill Barbados members and guests were treated to an exclusive opening event back in November, and those who were lucky enough to play the course labeled it an “exceptional golf experience.”
No stranger to the natural beauty of Barbados, Kirby had no shortage of marvels to work with when he got to work back in 2019. Apes Hill sits 1,000 feet above sea level and is set within 475 acres of unmistakable Barbadian natural beauty, so the hardest part, we presume, would be conceiving something as versatile as it is breathtaking.
“When I saw Apes Hill for the first time, I noted that the hills and vistas were superb—you can see both the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean in many places,” Kirby said of this endeavor. “I knew that if I could get the holes to play with the vistas in the right position, players would more deeply enjoy the course while taking in the astounding views.”
And all types of players can enjoy this course, not just vacationing pros. Four tee boxes on each hole guarantee various levels of comfort and challenge, so the big boys can invoke their inner Bryson from the tips while beginners enjoy the views and much shorter distances.
In addition to creating an experience for golfers of all talent levels, Kirby and the Apes Hill team have also developed what might be the new blueprint for courses throughout the Caribbean. Zoysia Zorro grass has been installed on the tees and fairways, while TifEagle has been installed on the greens, all of which significantly reduce the need for fertilizers and pesticides. Additionally, a new reservoir holding up to 58 million gallons of rainwater will be the source of irrigation for the resort and its lush native flora.
While each hole likely deserves (and will eventually earn) its own poetic essay, the signature is the 16th, aka “The Cave.” This Par 3 serves as an all-in-one concept that showcases the best of the island’s natural beauty, so, you know, don’t get too upset when the group ahead stops for extra selfies.
The course is only the beginning here. Visiting golfers will eventually be able to practice in state-of-the-art facilities that will include a performance center and lighted driving range, while families will introduce younger athletes to the sport on a special short course. All the while, they’ll continue to spend the most important moments in the community’s phenomenal real estate options, including the hilltop residences and courtyard villas.