Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic in Nassau
So, you love the game of golf, and youâ€™d like to do something interesting, go somewhere exotic without having to fork over plane fare for the south of France.
Weâ€™re only a few days away from the opening of the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic in…wait for it, wait for it…Nassau…the Bahamas…Paradise Island, and theyâ€™re not kidding.
We were there this week and wish we could have stayed much longer. We drove through Florida, which is golf country through and through. There was PGA Boulevard, World Golf Village, Golf Hall of Fame and a million other familiar sights from Hobe Sound to Naples. I may still have a problem with golf courses that collect alligators, but Florida is obviously an enormous golf hub.
The mission, however, was the Bahamas, and I was intrigued to find this small city of Nassau much more multifaceted than expected. Of course, to create championship courses and events requires wealth, and wealth exists in abundance on this small strip of heaven in the outer Caribbean, on the Paradise Island side.From the 12th deck of a cruise ship, you can see it all, from the waterfront palms and docks that come right out of Johnny Deppâ€™s â€œPirates of the You-Know-Whereâ€ to the hammerhead sharks in the hotel swimming pool and the upper-tier sailboats in the channel and out to sea. It is along these boundaries that the greatest women golfers in the world will meet.
On the other side is the colonial city of Nassau, a cultural marvel, full of approachable, sweet-natured citizens who are nice to you even if they wish you were not there (I only saw one T-shirt that read, â€œYour vacation versus my life.â€) Original nineteenth century buildings of bright colors are still in use, magnificently quaint libraries and cathedrals dot the waterfront and other golf facilities exist where wealth is not so necessary.
If you manage to find yourself here next week, donâ€™t come dressed in only a short-sleeved shirt and shorts, although that will probably work out all right. It is January in Nassau as well, and the temperature might dip into the 60s. The sun is out much of the time, but not always, and thereâ€™s nothing about the island that can stop a dramatic weather event from sweeping over everything. Rain in the Bahamas is not normal rain, and I hope that the players will be apprised of that fact.
The air on this golf course will not have been found within a hundred miles of an oil refinery or other olfactory contaminate, and little exists in the way of noise pollution, unless it is some instrumental music from the streets downtown, or the exuberant singing of an entire student body from a local secondary school. The fact that automobiles drive on the British side of the roads neednâ€™t affect driving off any of the eighteen tees. You can find palm trees and bunkers on one side, and a lot of ocean on the other. Bermuda grass is not just an off-hand comment in Nassau, which is not new at producing golf tournaments, ever since Gary Player signed on to be the pro at AeroWac decades ago.
Ilhee Lee won this tournament last year, and sheâ€™s here again to defend. The cast is tough, and the season is new. If youâ€™ve ever wanted to show up at an LPGA event, but not in some ordinary place thatâ€™s fighting off a deep-freeze winter, this is your big chance. Less than a hundred miles off the coast of Florida, on the paradise of Nassau, all our favorites will duke it out. My biggest regret was having to come back too early and miss it all.