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Golf: Baker’s Dozens

James A. Frank

Peter Whalen, the head pro at the new Baker’s Bay Golf & Ocean Club in the Bahamas, predicts light traffic for the community’s Tom Fazio–designed course. "We’re projected to do around 1,800 rounds a year," says Whalen, adding that this figure translates to about five rounds per day. "So we have no excuses for not being in perfect shape."

The fortunate few who get to play the Baker’s Bay course will be the owners and guests of this ultraprivate 600-acre resort community on Great Guana Cay, a tiny island in the Bahamas’ Abaco chain. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, the community is one of the latest projects from Discovery Land Company, the developer behind Gozzer Ranch in Idaho and Kuki'o Beach Club in Hawaii. Baker’s Bay to date consists of the golf course, a clubhouse, a few multimillion-dollar homes, a swimming pool, a spa and fitness center, a megayacht marina, and a village of shops and restaurants. The community will eventually include a movie theater, a bowling alley, and tennis courts; 365 private homes (sites and finished residences are available from $800,000 to $8 million); and a 70-acre nature preserve—all ringed by six miles of beach.

Opened in June, the golf course borders the Sea of Abaco on one side and the Atlantic on the other. Water is almost always in view on the course, whether it be the ocean or one of the three hazards on the front side. At the ninth tee, a small bar dispenses the liquid courage needed to attack the hole: a stout par 3 that plays along the ocean and is buffeted by brisk breezes. (Baker’s Bay’s scorecard indicates prevalent wind directions, both summer and winter, for each hole.)

The back nine at Baker’s Bay offers a surprising amount of elevation change, which is used to dramatic effect. From the 13th tee—the highest point on the cay—views extend to all horizons. Hole 14 is a terrific short par 4 with an elevated green that is drivable but is punishing if missed. The final hole is reminiscent of Pebble Beach, a long par 5 with a deep green and the ocean crashing on the left side.

Fazio, who also completed the Corales course in the Dominican Republic last year, has designed nine courses for Discovery Land, including Estancia in Arizona and Iron Horse in Montana. Whatever the terrain, the company’s golf concept "is to showcase the natural beauty," says Whalen, "and Baker’s Bay is no exception."

Also hewing to the company line is Baker’s Bay’s comfort station, a lounging area that, like those at other Discovery Land properties, is outrageously well stocked—with drinks, sweets, snacks, and even freshly barbecued local seafood. A fortunate few, indeed.

 

Baker’s Bay Golf & Ocean Club, 242.365.5802, www.bakersbayclub.com

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