Grand Bahama Open adds to northern island golf resurgence

Another major golf tournament, the Grand Bahama Open, was held in April at the Lucayan Reef Golf Course.

There is a long way to go, but the climate is most encouraging for the resurgence of golf in Grand Bahama.

Those who became associated with the game just over the last three decades or so would understandably not be familiar with the glory golf days in Grand Bahama. There was the time however, when Grand Bahama boasted six 18-hole courses and one of nine holes. I refer to the Shannon, Lucayan, Reef, Ruby, Emerald and West End 18-hole courses. The Fortune Hills Course afforded players shorter rounds as preferred, over nine holes.

Today, just one facility, the Lucayan Reef Golf Course, is capable of hosting an 18-hole tournament, and it is in bad shape. Fortune Hills retains its nine-hole monopoly.

The situation is not palatable at all. Nevertheless, the Bahamas Golf Federation (BGF) through the amazing efforts of BGF Northern Division Director Ambrose Gouthro and his associates such as Allen Gardner, have been fostering an exciting trend of competitions. They and other private individuals and organizations are coordinating meaningful events annually, now, and the prospect for the future of golf in Grand Bahama looks quite good, despite the one 18-hole course reality.

The one positive aspect for golf in Grand Bahama as it relates to playing venues, must be maximized. The Lucayan Reef Golf Course is owned by the Government of The Bahamas.

That speaks volumes! The time is appropriate for golf leaders in Grand Bahama to seek an audience with the Minister of State at the Grand Bahama Office of the Prime Minister, Senator Kwasi Thompson. I have found the senator to be balanced. He recognizes the plight of the Grand Bahamian golf fraternity and it is my belief, he will be accommodating.

There is great golfing promise in Grand Bahama for sure.

A highly successful Calvin Cooper Memorial was just concluded last weekend. The Jonathon Gouthro Memorial is scheduled for March 9, and as aforementioned, the BGF’s Northern Region is gearing up for the open.

“This event attracts golfers from the United States and Canada, as well, of course, as islands in our country other than just New Providence and Grand Bahama. It’s a flighted event and the various flights pay tribute to past stalwarts of the game,” said Northern Division Chief Ambrose Gouthro.

Without a doubt, the Grand Bahama Open adds to the resurgence of golf in the area.

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.

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