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The “Super Secret” to Playing a World Top-100 Private Course

by Craig Better

Apr52011

Mid Ocean Club

Bermuda golf vacations can include the private, C.B Macdonald-designed Mid Ocean Club...if you stay at the right hotel.

Want to play one of the world’s top-100 courses and cross it off your bucket list?

This one is located on a beautiful island in the Caribbean, it was designed by the father of American golf course architecture….and it’s private.

But that’s not going to stop you.

Armed with the following secret, you’re going to waltz right in.

And with the even juicier tidbit I just learned — the super secret, if you will — you’re going to do it ahead of everyone else.

The island I’m talking about is Bermuda, and the course is the private Mid Ocean Club, one of only 20 courses designed by the late, great C.B. Macdonald (Chicago, Yale, National Golf Links, etc).

Now, I recently gave you my 4 Big Reasons to Consider Bermuda Golf Vacations, but this was before I learned the following secrets to playing the top-100 caliber Mid Ocean Club.

In fact, the editors of Golf Odyssey say: “For serious players and connoisseurs of golf course architecture, Mid Ocean is the reason Bermuda is a must visit.”

So, here’s part one of the secret:

The Mid Ocean Club allows nonmember play on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but you have to stay at one of the hotels that can sponsor your visit.

Most of the major hotels have this sponsorship privilege, but you can’t simply call up the Mid Ocean Club and say, “I’m a guest at the XYZ hotel.” The hotel itself must call and arrange the tee time for you.

The bigger speed bump is, they can’t get you tee time more than two days in advance — not ideal when trying to plan your Bermuda golf vacation.

But here’s where the “super secret” comes in.

Tuckers Point Hotel

Tuck into the Tucker's Point Hotel, and you can get 90-day, advanced tee-time access to the private Mid Ocean Club on your Bermuda golf vacation.

You can circumvent the above tee-time rule by staying at the Tucker’s Point Hotel, which can reserve Mid Ocean tee times for its guests up to three months in advance!

If that’s not reason enough to stay at Tucker’s Point, the notoriously hard-to-please editors at Golf Odyssey say the resort is, “spectacular.”

(By the way, during the writing and editing of this post, it took every fiber of my being not to reference “double secret probation” ala Animal House. Whoops.)

Do you have any Bermuda golf experiences or tips of your own? Please share your comments below.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joe Ramsey April 5, 2011 at 11:29 am

Played Mid-Ocean a couple of years back and it was fabulous, though the pro shop was operating out of the cart storage area due to clubhouse remodeling that was ongoing. We were staying at Elbow Beach Hotel, and they booked my time. Great experience.

2 Will Tickner April 5, 2011 at 11:52 am

My wife and i stayed at Tucker’s Point last Spring 2010 and had a wonderful time at the hotel.You are right that the bonus was we were able to play at Mid Ocean twice during our stay. What a treat. Also we played at Tucker’s Point golf course twice and it is a fun resort course.

3 JH April 5, 2011 at 1:38 pm

I was fortunate enough to play Mid Ocean Club through Tucker’s Point in 2010. MOC is worth the trip and every penny to play it. It exceeded my very high expectatons. Tucker’s Point resort course is a nice warm up course.

4 Bruce April 5, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Bermuda is a tremendous destination, golf is an added bonus. There are 8 or 9 courses on the island, most worth playing simply because of the variety of layouts. The local golfers were all extremely welcoming and accommodating, in fact I was introduced to mid ocean by a member I met at another course. I stayed at the Fairmont Southhampton; this hotel has its own 18 hole par 3 golf course. Worth playing just for the views!

5 Richard Dickinson September 28, 2011 at 12:35 pm

I played Belmont Hills, Riddells Bay and the front nine at Southhampton this month while being aboard a cruise ship. All of the golf was wonderful. The locals were very friendly and accomodating. I am going back next September. My only complaint, asidefrom the extremely high green fees, is the “cartpath only” requirement.

6 Arnie July 17, 2012 at 10:21 am

Just played Mid Ocean Club yesterday. Few tips to ensure best experience. First, make sure you get a yardage book! If you have laser yardage binoculars, bring those too. For whatever reason, no one gave me yardage book and with the rolling hills (lots of those), swales and several blind shots, you will be lost on the course. They usually have 100, 150, and 200 yard markers and not on every hole. No yardage marked otherwise and often hard to tell 150 from 100 or 200 with all the hills. I shot over/under many times on a pretty good round from the tips (about 6500 yards from back tees and that will include a 240 yd par three if you play from there. All par fives reachable in 2 by bigger hitters but they are still tough if not in right spot off the drive.
Ok, good stuff outweighs any negatives and this is must play course. Views on front nine and 16-18 rival any course with only Pebble Beach area course beating this one out IMO. trickly breaking greens leave potential for 2-4 feet breaking putts and pretty good condition for island Bermuda grass (some bumps so putt firmly on uphill putts if you want to make those birders. Fast at 11 or so and this was after rain days. Downhill/downgrading putts will take off if not careful.

Try to get access to beach club as part of your day. Cannot hurt to ask. Wife and I enjoyed one of best beaches and swimming areas that sits under cliffs just past 18th hole. Spectacular!

Take a camera!

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