Thousands of vacationers who visit this tropical American paradise each year return home feeling invigorated, relaxed and refreshed after days spent indulging in the luxuries of Caribbean hospitality that is native to the USVI. Yet while visitors to this U.S. territory never fail to pack their bathing suits and beach towels in anticipation of days spent basking on sun-splashed beaches, many leave behind what they would be well-advised to bring along – their golf clubs. It may surprise many golfers to know that in addition to being a tropical paradise, this U.S. territory is home to several superior golf courses – designed by such renowned architects as George and Tom Fazio and Robert Trent Jones – which challenge golfers of all skill levels.
There are no courses on St. John, but its two sister islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix are home to memorable links which rival top courses elsewhere in the world. St. Thomas’ Mahogany Run, a George and Tom Fazio design, boasts 18 of the most beautiful and challenging holes in the Caribbean. Golfers extol the virtues of this 6,022-yard, par-70 championship course for its sheer beauty and exhilarating play, especially on the 13th, 14th and 15th holes. This signature trio, aptly nicknamed the Devil’s Triangle, turns an already ambitious round of play into a veritable cliffside drama, where golfers must overcome a formidable stretch of Caribbean Sea that sprawls between the tee and the green.
Located just 20 minutes from the popular port of Charlotte Amalie on the north side of the island, Mahogany Run has fast become a favorite among cruise ship passengers, resort vacationers and island residents alike for its easy accessibility and variety of golf packages available. President Clinton, who tackled the course’s challenging contours during his first trip to St. Thomas in December 1996, returned for an enthusiastic second round one year later, describing play as “very challenging.”
Under the direction of general manager Kristine Macken and golf pro Nevin Phillips, Mahogany Run has just received the finishing touches to a multi-million dollar renovation project that includes a 270,000-gallon desalination plant and irrigation network designed to provide the most efficient course maintenance in the Caribbean. The new system guarantees optimal playing conditions throughout the year despite the region’s occasional dry spells, making Mahogany Run a viable golf destination year-round.
Along with eight tennis courts, three beaches, four restaurants and other full-service amenities, The Buccaneer resort on St. Croix also boasts a spectacular 18-hole golf course which sprawls across much of the property’s 340 acres from its hilltop building down to the beautiful shoreline. Known as the island’s most scenic course, this challenging par-70 course encompasses 5,810 yards worth of sloping fairways, deceptive bunkers and water hazards.
In addition to fabulous views of the Caribbean Sea, on clear days select holes offer glimpses of St. Thomas and St. John, lying 38 miles north across the sea. Designed by Bob Joyce, the course also offer magnificent panoramic vistas of Christiansted harbor to the west and world-famous Buck Island National Park to the east.