Golf: Blow-Dried Beauty
The prevailing trade winds blow from the northeast as head pro Hale Kelly steps to the 10th tee of the Temenos Golf Club on Anguilla. “You need to hit over there,” says Kelly, gesturing at a creek a good 30 yards beyond the fairway’s left edge. “The main element you have to deal with here is the wind.”
Kelly’s statement applies to all 18 holes at the Temenos Golf Club, which opened in November as the first course on Anguilla. Designed by Greg Norman, the layout hugs the southwest coast of this northern Leeward Island, where it receives a constant thrashing from the gusts that blow through the Anguilla Channel. But for the builders of the Temenos Golf Club, which will be part of a 286-acre, St. Regis–managed resort scheduled to open in 2008, the region’s lack of water presented a greater challenge than its abundance of wind.
The black-bottomed cumulous clouds skimming the volcanic peaks of St. Martin, set across the narrow channel from Temenos, illustrate Anguilla’s deficiency: The 35-square-mile island sits in the shadow of St. Martin’s mountains, which wring out most, if not all, of the moisture from the clouds. By the time they pass over Anguilla, the clouds provide nothing but a few moments’ relief from the tropical sun.
It seems as though a golf course—especially one built with water features on 13 holes—would fare no better on Anguilla than did the European farmers who suffered through droughts and famines while attempting to establish plantation systems here in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. But at Temenos, Manhattan developer Flag Luxury Properties countered the arid climate with a reverse-osmosis facility that can produce 1 million gallons of freshwater per day—more than enough to sustain the future resort and keep the 7,200-yard golf course green. (Those interested in playing the course before the resort opens can stay in one of three villas that St. Regis manages on the island.)
Salt water also figures prominently at the Temenos Golf Club. Drives on the 390-yard first hole plunge 40 feet to a fairway framed by the Caribbean and the mountains of St. Martin. Mangrove thickets and salt marshes line eight of the course’s interior holes, and on the 16th, players enjoy sweeping views of Merrywing Salt Pond. (Because seawater is pumped into the pond, which otherwise would be stagnant, it is beginning to take on the turquoise hue of the Caribbean.) The 430-yard 18th demands a drive between thickets and over water before an approach to an elevated green in front of Temenos’ just-completed clubhouse.
Back on the 10th hole, after a safe drive, Kelly faces perilous second and third shots on the 590-yard par 5. “The dogleg left turns you right into the teeth of the wind,” he says. The creek, 15 yards wide and filled with freshwater from the reverse-osmosis plant, crosses in front of a 20,000-square-foot double green that is shared with the par-3 second hole. A timid lay-up would necessitate a substantial third shot to a green that slopes far away from the 10th pin—ingredients for an uphill putt of extraordinary length. However, notes Kelly, at least the wind would be at his back.
Temenos Golf Club