Half Moon is a sprawling complex with the true Caribbean feel lacking in many newer resorts. Located only 15 minutes from Montego Bay Airport, the resort has hosted VIPs from royalty to celebrities. When I visited with my family in August, we were often the only people on our little stretch of beach where the water temperature must have been in the high 80s. Accommodations range from original cabins that have been painstakingly renovated to newer Hibiscus Suites — two-story, two-bedroom villas.
If (like me) you cannot live off the grid, be sure to request a room with high-speed Internet access when you make your reservation.
The resort’s full meal plan allows access to all restaurants on the property, the shopping center, the golf course, room service and even the minibar. The Spa at Half Moon is undergoing a massive renovation including construction of a new building. Other diversions for non-golfers include horseback riding, ATV adventures, swimming with dolphins, tennis, hiking, shopping and sightseeing.
But this column is about golf, so let’s get to that. Originally built in 1962 and home to dozens of games and tournaments through the years, the course at Half Moon was recently renovated to the tune of $2 million. The renovation took into consideration the original design by Robert Trent Jones Sr., but added new tee boxes to address all skill levels. The renovation design was created by renowned architect Roger Rulewich who had to accommodate the new highway — up from two lanes to four — that runs along one side of the course. Tee boxes had to be moved and some holes had to be changed to deal with this encroachment. The new layout does an excellent job of keeping golfers clear of the highway and includes several new bunkers in deference to the original Jones Sr. design. Golfers who prefer to walk will be interested in knowing this course is widely considered one of the best walking courses in the Caribbean.
The course, located across the street from the resort, features a clubhouse with all the necessary facilities and a great outside bar — The 19th Hole — for post-game cocktails.
Hole 4 (350 yards, par 4)
This is a dogleg left where you need to clear a ravine to get near the green. It’s best to play it safe and aim straight ahead at the tall palm tree. From here you will have a shot of about 90 yards to the green; the ball will tend to run off toward the back, even with the upward sloping green. The hole was renovated to include less fairway slope and trees were removed from the ravine, making it more playable.
Hole 6 (453 yards, par 4)
This is a long par 4, but reachable in two with perfect shots. This is another renovated hole. The tee box has been moved and more trees will be planted to keep the expanded highway out of view. Your tee shot must land between two fairway bunkers perfectly positioned to catch an errant drive. If the pin is left, you need to carry a bunker at the green and stick your ball, as they tend to roll off toward the back.
Hole 8 (204 yards, par 3)
Prevailing winds off the ocean tend to make this hole play longer. Add about two clubs to what you normally would hit. Three traps around the left side and one on the right protect the green, making this hole a challenge.
Hole 9 (440 yards, par 4)
A narrow opening from the tee box makes for a challenging drive. Hole 9 is the No. 1 handicap-ranked hole on the course and it’s a long par 4. There is a large fairway bunker on the right to catch big drives off the tee and brush and palms on the left for you wild hitters. At the green, bunkers man the right front and the left backside.
Hole 10 (564 yards, par 5)
You will need to bring your “A” game for three great shots. Fairway bunkers come into play from the white tees, but are probably not reachable from the blues. Avoid the left side of the fairway and its rough on your second shot, as errant shots can be lost in the brush. According to my caddy, it’s better to miss right on your approach, as there is more room and less trouble. At the green, there are two bunkers on the right and left and one in the back for those who shoot over the green.
Hole 14 (450 yards, par 4)
At 450 yards from the blue tees, this is a monster of a dogleg right. Try to cut the corner and you will significantly increase your chances of getting par on this hole. Aim over the palms on the right landing with a high iron to the green. Make sure you take heed of the prevailing winds when selecting your club and beware of the traps waiting for you on each side.
Hole 16 (164 yards, par 3)
Don’t let the yardage fool you. You will need to consider the prevailing winds when selecting the club for your shot. Two traps on either side guard the green. Proper club selection (usually more than expected) will help you score well on this hole.
Hole 18 (428 yards, par 4)
This is a good finishing hole with a dogleg right and two fairway bunkers placed to catch your drive from the tee box. The approach to the green will offer you a mid- to high-iron, but beware of the pond that collects mountain spring water for irrigation, and the ravine that runs along the entire front of the green. If your ball falls in, there is no way out. There is a large bunker on the right of the green that is slightly elevated and runs uphill toward the back.
HALF MOON GOLF CLUB
Montego Bay, Jamaica, West Indies
tel 876 953 2211, fax 876 953 2731
Read This Next
November 2006 Cover
2006 / November 2006Nov 1, 2006
FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.
Diego Rivera’s America Presents the Most In-Depth Look at Artist’s Work in More than 20 Years
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, located in Bentonville, Arkansas, presents Diego Rivera’s America, the first major exhibition focused solely on the Mexican artist in more than 20 years, on view until July 31. Crystal Bridges is the second and final stop for the exhibition, the only remaining opportunity for visitors to experience Rivera's expansive vision of America.
Exclusive Savings: Cruise Along the Danube River with Global Traveler
Exclusive Sailing with Global Traveler
San Antonio, Texas, Preserves Architectural Beauty for Future Generations
In San Antonio, Texas, old buildings are seldom destroyed. When they fall into disrepair, they are instead repurposed and restored to maintain the city’s history and traditions for future generations to appreciate. Whether it’s a former brewery or bank transforming into a chic hotel or a candy factory evolving into stylish lofts, this Texas city embraces both history and sustainability.
Here’s How to Arrive in Style to the World’s Most Unforgettable Hotels
Make a grand entrance to these equally grand hotels:
Put Yourself First in Arizona
Putting yourself first has never been easier.
SponsoredJun 1, 2023
Protected: MORE TO TRAVEL
There’s more to travel than just getting there.
Park Hyatt Tokyo Prepares for Its New Look
London Concours Displays Golden Age Coupes
eFlyer ReviewsMay 31, 2023
Homer and Janet by Homer Review
The Marais District, covering swaths of Paris’ 3rd and 4th arrondissments, has a distinctively gritty glamour that reveals it to be one of the city’s great incubators for new French food, fashion and lifestyle trends. It is here Moïse Sfez took on the challenge of creating street food establishments Homer in 2017 and Janet by Homer in 2022, doing it in such a way they both transcend the novelty of being regional American comfort food offered at stylized lunch counters matching up with New England lobster shacks and New York delis. Overwhelming local response and Sfez winning the 2018 Lobster Roll World’s Championship title in Portland, Maine, solidified him as a Paris restaurateur and one of France’s hottest culinary stars.
Plan Your Escape to Arizona
Indulgent escapes are made even more enjoyable by fast, easy access — and that’s what Arizona offers. Quick, non-stop and direct flights to one of two international airports put all the luxury of The Grand Canyon State within easy reach.
eFlyer NewsMay 31, 2023
Air New Zealand to Introduce Skynest Sleeping Pods on Ultra-Long-Haul Flights in 2024
Starting September 2024, Air New Zealand introduces its new Skynest full-length sleeping pods on its ultra-long-haul routes. The new feature will begin on routes between New York and Chicago.