Travel: Turtle Hill Golf Club at Fairmont Southampton, Bermuda

For some, Bermuda is all about the water and the beaches. For others, it’s an HQ for luxury resorts. But, for a man like me that doesn’t see the value in laying around with a drink or picking wet sand out of everything, Bermuda offers some prime golf.

There are nice, full length 18 hole destinations across the island. Still, I’d argue the purest golf fun to be found on the island has to be the Turtle Hill Golf Club at Fairmont Southampton.

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Designed by Theodore Robinson, the 18 hole par 3 course is only 2,684 yards long. You can leave your driver in the bag — or at home, if you prefer — as you’ll need noting more than maybe a five iron if you’re a man of over average shot distance.

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However, just because the course is short it doesn’t mean it’s not pleasantly challenging. Turtle Hill uses the rolling hills surrounding the Fairmont Southampton to create some nice elevation changes. It’s not merely a case of dropping your ball and hitting a lazy iron shot into the green. Most holes incorporate and uphill or downhill lie requiring the estimation of a club up or down.

Most holes offer an ocean view, and several are worthy of a postcard shot, The course is in good shape, the greens presentable and the pro shop rents out clubs while offering anything else you might need before playing a quick 18.

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As for my round at Turtle Hill Golf Club, Bermuda had a little surprise ip its sleeve. Just in time for the America’s Cup Series races, the Atlantic currents delivered some serious sailing winds. Gusts peaked around 35 mph and remained almost constant as the occasional drizzly squall passed over the island.

That’s a three club wind, and it demands adjustments of one kind or another on every hole. The most dramatic challenge came on the ninth heading into the clubhouse and the turn. The hole slopes uphill dramatically, directly into the prevailing wind. That three club wind decided to add a club, leaving me wavering to choose a weapon for a 123 hard par 3.

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A hole that long would usually need nothing more than a pitching wedge on most courses. But, I ended up honoring that four club challenge and chose a six iron. I struck it well and watched the ball sore toward the green. It didn’t seem to bite on the wind, though. Hitting that club at 120 yards or so without wind would put the ball maybe 50 yards past the hole.

When that wind finally decided to play along, my ball stopped and dropped to the green like a hand caught it and threw it down. However it worked, I drove the green. And I smiled. I assume most players smile plenty at Turtle Hill Golf Club.