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FrontRunners: The Missing Links

James Y. Bartlett

Peter De Savary, the developer behind Bovey Castle in England, Carnegie Abbey in Rhode Island, and the new Abaco Club on Winding Bay in the Bahamas (888.303.2765, www.theabacoclub.com), touts his Caribbean property’s Donald Steel design as the world’s first “tropical links” golf course. While short on frigid gusts, drenching rain, waist-deep marram, and prickly gorse, the course is, in many respects, true to its billing.

Like any layout worthy of the links designation, Abaco Club runs hard and fast on corrugated fairways and wild greens, and occupies a sandy site near the sea. The course may not overlook the Firth of Forth, but the gin-clear waters of Winding Bay are in view on the first 14 holes, while the last four holes traverse a coral cliff top above the Atlantic. Though not the biting kind that penetrate three layers of clothing, the ocean breezes are ever-present, forcing the golfer to make constant adjustments lest his ball be blown off course. Greens are grainy Bermuda grass, and tiers, humps, falloffs, and collection areas make reaching them an adventure.

Steel’s course should prove a fine selling point for real estate at Abaco Club, a private resort community on Great Abaco island, but golf memberships also are available to nonresidents for $75,000.

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