Butler Cabin, Augusta National (c) Burgh Golfer

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Blue Tip Golf Course, Grand Cayman -Review

Before I get to the course review I have to sing the praise of the property.  We recently had the opportunity to stay at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman for vacation.  Before we arrived for our stay we had heard wonderful things about the resort, beach, property and service.  I am happy to report that not only was the property absolutely beautiful but the service was unmatched. 
On the property there is a nine hole Greg Norman designed Golf Course called Blue Tip.  I walked over to the course the day before I was to play to check out the pro shop and get acquainted with the layout.  As I always do on vacation I like to visit the pro shop to see what they have available and what the inventory is like.  For a resort course pro shop I was impressed with the inventory selection as well as the quality of the merchandise.  You can buy pretty much anything you need for a round of golf, with a variety of styles, colors and brands.  If you forget to pack your golf clothes do not worry they can fully outfit you for the round.
One disappointing aspect of the course was that they do not have a driving range.  That is not really a surprise since the island is not very big and space is at a premium.  However, you can warm up by hitting balls into a net next to the pro shop before you drive out to the first tee.  Near the first tee they do have a nice putting and chipping area where you can get a feel for the speed of the greens as well as, the grain.  Like most island courses I have played the grass on the greens is Bermuda which can stand up to the intense heat.  I recommend hitting a few chips and putts to become familiar with the direction of the grain before heading to the course.  Understanding the grain direction will make putting the greens much easier.  Since I did not bring my clubs I rented a set of Taylor Made woods and irons.  They have clubs for men/ women, right/ left handed and even stiff/ regular shafts.
The first thing I noticed was that Blue Tip was not your regular, lay down resort course.  This Norman design will get your attention from the first tee and challenge you throughout the nine.  The first three holes are quite challenging with plenty of water lining the fairways and greens.  There are no real bailout areas on any of these holes.  If you miss the fairway one direction you end up in the water.  If you miss on the otherside you will be in the shrubs or OB.  Most resort courses provide the player with inwardly sloping fairways to keep the ball in play.  Not here, if you miss the fairway on the wrong side the rough actually slopes away from the fairway and into trouble.  There are a number of very good holes on this course and the ninth hole is an island green that plays dead into the prevailing wind.  See photo above.
Although Blue Tip is only nine holes is has the feel of an eighteen hole layout.  With a variety of tee boxes you can play one set on the front nine and a different set on the back.  Also, please bring plenty of golf balls as you will need them.  With water on eight of the nine holes it does not take long to lose them.
If you have the chance to play Blue Tip I highly recommend it as you will not be disappointed and will definitely be challenged.