FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Grand Cayman, BWI, The North Sound Club

Jun 1, 2011
2011 / June 2011

The North Sound Club, formerly the Links at SafeHaven Grand Cayman — the only 18-hole championship course in the Cayman Islands — was designed by Roy Case of New Jersey National and Carenage Bay Canouan Grenadines fame. He’s known for creating great golf on environmentally sensitive land and working with the natural topography. At North Sound, one hole takes you by the ocean and the others pass saltwater ponds in an open layout filled with native mahogany and coconut trees and bright-colored bougainvillea.

Hurricane Ivan devastated Grand Cayman in 2004, destroying the course by dumping saltwater on it and killing the grass. The clubhouse was also damaged, and cart paths and carts vanished. The course was fully restored and reopened in 2007, with salt-resistant paspalum replacing the Bermuda grass. It hosted the Caribbean Open in 2008.

North Sound is run by PGA golf professional Jason Deerwester, who recently left the rain-soaked Pacific Northwest to enjoy Grand Cayman. The course boasts 180 members and about 20,000 yearly rounds. Full-time residents include more than a thousand iguanas of all sizes and colors who sun themselves on the course.

Hole 4 “Lakeside” (425 yards, par 4)
This No. 1 handicapped hole plays long, with prevailing winds and challenging landing areas. Your drive should slightly favor the right side for a better approach to the green; you also have to clear a large lake. Your second shot must avoid a second body of water on the right and an outcropping of trees and brush on the left. Plenty of second shots get lost in the overgrowth. Behind the green, more water is ready to catch overpowered shots.

Hole 6 “Big Bend” (535 yards, par 5)
Jason says you can cut the corner on this dogleg, but his shot from the tee was out of my league. I nailed a drive into the wind and had a slight tail to my ball, sending it slightly right and making the hole a little longer. At this point the hole turns left toward the green. Avoid the water on the left just beyond the palm tree line that runs the length of the hole. I was fortunate to tag a 3-wood to place within a sand wedge to the green, but missed my shot and carded a double bogey.

imagephoto: Francis X. Gallagher

Hole 8 “Mo” (385 yards, par 4)
Holes 7 and 8 take you into what I call “Iguana Alley.” The creatures are all over the course, but they seem to congregate here. Careful on the tee box, as the pond on the right is not visible and is within your reach; ease up with a 3- or 5-wood from the tee. Without this knowledge, I slammed a low “screamer” over the hill on the left of the fairway. Thinking I’d be in the middle of the fairway, I was surprised that my ball was nowhere in sight. I finally found it on the bank of the pond next to a large, sunning iguana. I shooed away “Mr. Lazy” and took a sand wedge, coming up slightly short but within two-putt range for par.

Hole 9 “Small Island” (175 yards, par 3)
One of the course’s oddities is the front nine’s beginning and ending with par 3s. This one is no disappointment, especially when the wind is in your face as it was my first day. My demise was the large pond; my first ball found “Davy Jones’ Locker’‘; but the second, taken with the power of two more club lengths, made the green.

Hole 11 “Sound” (235 yards, par 3)
I’m going to get a lot of raised eyebrows on this one, but with the wind coming off the sound, I didn’t give a second thought when I grabbed the driver. I slammed my tee shot, landing squarely on the green; the ball rolled to the right. With less wind on the second day, I hit a 3-wood and came up short. This hole is also about beauty. Look out over the azure water before you move on — it’s the only ocean hole on the course.

Hole 16 “Mitchell” (345 yards, par 4)
My father’s middle name was Mitchell, so it is fitting that I review this hole. It is ranked the No. 2 handicapped hole — perhaps because of the water you must clear on your drive or perhaps for the second pond on the left that caught my rolling drive the first day. But let’s talk about the second day. I took a far different and more rewarding approach. This time, my drive favored the right side of the fairway, landing on the edge and within a pitching wedge to the green. The green slopes from front to back with sweeping views of the channels and the million-dollar homes and their “toys” floating at their docks. Stay away from trouble and Mitchell will be your friend.

Hole 17 “Devious” (320 yards, par 4)
As the hole says, I was a little devious. Instead of following the contour of this dogleg right, I hit a long ball straight left of the flowering bougainvillea. From here, I had a sand wedge to the green, making par and never touching the fairway. Jason says he has been asking the greens keeper to let the grass grow behind those bushes so that it is more of a punishment for guys like me. Don’t do it!

For those who tend to hit a slice or fade, there is a pond right where you will land. I hit a “fun ball” drive, which landed to the right a foot away from a coconut tree. I manhandled a sand wedge, clearing the water and just coming up short. A fun par-able hole from either angle.

Hole 18 “Waterloo” (545 yards, par 5)
You might think you have engaged in the battle of Waterloo if you don’t control yourself here. With water along the right side and the dogleg hugging it all the way around the green, this hole is not the friend of the slicer. My tee ball was straight and true but not exceptionally long. The key here is to keep your senses and cut off the distance with a squarely hit 3-wood across the elbow of the lake to about 100 yards from the green. From here, you are home free to the elevated green, which has a bunker on the left and back. The green is shaped like one of the Grand Cayman’s sting rays — a great finishing hole to a must-play course. Make sure you have a local Ironshore Bock beer served by Jackie at the clubhouse bar.


The North Sound Club

SafeHaven Drive
Grand Cayman, BWI
tel 345 947 4653

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

#globility

Insta Feed
Daily
Jun 21, 2021

The Franklin London Launches Afternoon Tea Inspired by Victoria & Albert Museum’s “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser”

The Franklin London – Starhotels Collezione, located in the heart of Knightsbridge, launched a new afternoon tea inspired by the “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser” exhibit at the nearby Victoria & Albert Museum. Diners booking the tea also have the option to book an offer including a pre-reserved ticket to the in-demand exhibition.

LGBTQ+
Jun 18, 2021

Show Your Pride with Essentia Cocktails

Pride Month is in full swing and to celebrate the community, make a colorful cocktail everyone will enjoy. These colorful ingredients will get the party started during Pride or any time of the year. Start this recipe the night before to create the rainbow ice cubes.

Norway
Jun 17, 2021

Up Norway Sustainable Tour: The Discovery Route

Up Norway, Norway’s travel curator, partners with sustainability experts to offer travelers a new tour. The Discovery Route, called the “world’s most sustainable journey,” combines personal wellness with the wellness of the environment.

SPIA 2021 Winners Crowned at Gala Ceremony at W Hotel, Palm Jumeirah

The Sports Industry Awards returned with a bang last night as 200 guests packed the W Hotel Great Ball Room for the gala ceremony.

eFlyer Reviews
Jun 16, 2021

Marriott Dallas Uptown Review

Driving into Dallas during a rainstorm, we were eager to arrive at our destination. The valet parking at Marriott Dallas Uptown is underground and ideal for inclement weather. We took the elevator to the lobby and made our way to the registration desk. The staff wore masks, but still managed to convey a warm greeting. On the wall behind them hung a colorful piece of art made partially from reclaimed wood that depicts neighborhood scenes. The new hotel covers an entire block in a residential area and opened earlier this year.

eFlyer Lead
Jun 16, 2021

Studies Show Business Travel Confidence Returning

Business travel is on the brink of returning, according to three new reports. The latest monthly Traveler Confidence Index developed by Travel Again shows business traveler confidence soared in May, with 42 percent now fully ready to travel, up from just 20 percent in April. An additional 31 percent are planning some type of business travel for summer, with 74 percent willing to travel domestically for business in the next 90 days. However, employers may not be as ready, with only 22 percent of business travel respondents with current business travel plans.

Sports Industry Awards returns to Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah for 8th Edition

The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.

Daily
Jun 16, 2021

Best Cities for a Staycation

Although travel restrictions are beginning to lift, many Americans aren’t ready to travel yet, but still want to get out and explore something new. WalletHub, a personal-finance website, recently conducted a study to find out the best cities for a staycation this summer.