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Cable Beach Golf Club: An afternoon delight where real people golf in Nassau, Bahamas

Chris BaldwinBy Chris Baldwin,
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Cable Beach Golf Club - Water
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At Cable Beach Golf Club, it's often man vs. water. (Chris Baldwin/GolfPublisher.com)

Dirt-cheap twilight green fees make Cable Beach Golf Club one of the must-play golf courses on Nassau in the Bahamas.

NASSAU, Bahamas - Getting to talk to an actual Bahamian can be a lot harder than you'd think on the country's largest island.

Especially if you're staying on luxury offshoot Paradise Island with its casino resort/marina wonderland, filled with other tourists - almost all white - strolling along, shopping at the same American chain stores they shop at back home.

Golfers looking for at least a smidgen of authentic travel experience can break from this pattern by playing Cable Beach Golf Club in the afternoon. That's when the Bahamians who love to golf - and you're still talking upper middle class here, no one else gets the opportunity - come to play.

Everyone arrives in near mass a little after 3 p.m., lining up in front of the simple cash registers (one for cash, one for credit cards this afternoon) to pay the $35 twilight greens fee. Cable Beach's prime time regular rate is $180, which is ridiculous for the worst kept course on the island (there are only four courses total) - even if it is arguably the most charming.

For $35, though, Cable Beach is a near must-play - and well-off (by Bahamas standards) locals and tourists who are in the know flock to it.

Suddenly, you have a golf scene with a lively atmosphere. Cookie cutter air-conditioned mall life be gone.

The starter is a deaf guy who alone runs one of the most efficient shows in golf cart choreography you'll ever see. The main marshal is a local with a love and obvious understanding of golf. When it's 6 p.m. - closing time even if there's a trace of sunlight left - he comes around and tells everyone to play one more hole, rather than ordering people off.

You won't find any of the Caribbean's often suspect service here. The staff's looking out for you - while no one has their hand out. That $35 is all you're going to pay. There's no one reaching for a tip like at almost all the resorts and other golf courses.

"This is one of my favorite spots on the island," said Long Island visitor Mike Dougman, who's been coming to the Bahamas for more than a decade. "The $35 rate is the only cheap deal in Nassau ever. Otherwise, you're paying $250 at Ocean Club. And this place is real down to earth."

How down to earth?

When the complimentary shuttle back to the Sheraton Cable Beach I was depending on didn't show (a not all together uncommon experience), a Canadian roofer and a Bahamian woman working at the course drove two other golfers and me there while refusing to take even a few bucks for gas.

As ritzy as Paradise Island is, no one's offering to give you a stick of gum for free, let alone a ride.

You don't just play Cable Beach for the people and the authentic atmosphere though.

This is a rather ingenious pre-the-7,000-yard-course-craze design that can be a rollicking, fun play.

There's water on 16 of the 18 holes, and we're talking real hazards, not just pretty ponds put off to the side to only add ambiance. Cable Beach's water comes into play like a bad burrito at Taco Bell. You get into trouble and you're going to remember it.

Welcome to the lagoon!

Things really get rolling on No. 2 and don't stop until about 17. The second's a 408-yard par 4 with a raised tee surrounded by a small stone wall and set back on its own hill (forget any notion of Florida's little bump hills) looking out at a significant pond you need to clear to reach the fairway.

Bushy tropical trees lean around the edges of the hilly fairway - and even a few of the tee boxes - adding another element of danger.

It's think before you swing at Cable Beach. This is not one of those resort courses where you can blast driver away, aiming straight down the fairway, again and again.

Take No. 3, a 387-yard par 4 that makes a sharp dogleg left turn at one of Cable Beach's tall-grasses-sticking-out-of-the-water protruding lakes. Go ahead and try to cut the corner with your big gun if you insist. Just be prepared to play a breakfast ball after it crashes through the grass and plops in.

The much better play here is to hit an iron down the right side, the fatter part of the fairway, to about the 150-yard marker and then approach the green straight on from that angle.

Cable Beach maxes out at 6,423 yards, but with holes like this, it still carries just enough bite. Largely unknown course renovation architect Fred Settle Jr. actually argues in a quote on Cable Beach's scorecard that "golf should be fun."

That's unconventional thinking. At Cable Beach, the people's course on the island where the people are often forgotten, it fits right in though.

The Verdict on Cable Beach Golf Club

You wouldn't think that a course whose fairways can be worn and spotty could provide good visuals, but Cable Beach Golf Club pulls off the trick. The tall, tall grasses in the murky ponds and tropical trees that catch plenty of golf balls combine to create scenes you will not forget.

Even on No. 12, a par 3 that runs along a pretty busy road you have to cross, the pond grasses that can tower over a golfer swinging on the edge of the water rescue a hole that you'd assume would be as picturesque as Danny DeVito in a Speedo.

Most things turn out to be surprisingly first class at Cable Beach. They give every golfer a nice yardage book - even those playing on the $35 rate. It's invaluable on a quirky course with so many nooks and bends, and it's also unusual in a world where high-end resort courses often charge their customers $8-10 for a yardage book after having hit them with a giant greens fee.

Cable Beach Golf Club closed down several years ago in order for Settle to do a renovation that flipped the nines and resorted some of the luster to a course that first opened in 1929. First-timers will not believe it when they play it, but Settle actually made a number of the landing areas wider on this still-tight course.

A golfer who'd played Cable Beach back in the late 90s told me that the new layout stood as a definite improvement.

Devereux Emmet is credited with the original design, and he'd likely be pleased that it's still the only course on the island that has anything of an authentic Bahamian spirit.

Fast Facts

Cable Beach's 14th hole - a little mouse of a par 3 (151 yards) that intimidates like a mountain lion with its near island green - draws plenty of talk. But don't sleep on the 10th and 11th stretch, two short par 4s (328 and 287 yards respectively) where ordinary golfers have a blast.

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Chris Baldwin keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.

 
Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • cable beach golf club

    gina wrote on: Jan 10, 2014

    can you tell me if Cable beach golf club is open and what the email address is?
    We are staying at the Breezes resort.
    Gina

    Reply

      • RE: cable beach golf club

        brian wrote on: Jan 10, 2014

        is the cable beach golf resort open jan 10 2014

        Reply

          • RE: RE: cable beach golf club

            Joanna briffa wrote on: May 5, 2014

            I have played at cable beach golf course for last 5 years and would like to know when it will reopen. Will this be a public course? What will cost be for round of 18 holes?
            I look forward to playing Cable beach golf course.
            Thank you
            Joanna briffa

            Reply

  • distance from the port where cruise ships anchor

    Ken wrote on: Nov 29, 2012

    How far is it and approximate cost of a taxi for 4 people on Jan 1, 2013?
    Ken

    Reply

      • RE: distance from the port where cruise ships anchor

        joe nardone wrote on: Sep 7, 2013

        cost of taxi from port to course--is course still open

        Reply

  • Cable Beach Green and Club Rental Fees

    Jeffrey Steele wrote on: Sep 7, 2012

    Hi,
    Arriving in Nassau 10/7/12. Need to know :
    a). Fees for Golf Club Rental
    b). Green Fees for normal weekday/weekend tee time.
    c). Green Fees for twilight tee time.
    Thanks.

    Reply

      • RE: Cable Beach Green and Club Rental Fees

        Sue Tyner wrote on: Aug 14, 2013

        Please tell me the club rental fee. Do you rent both men and ladies clubs?

        Reply

          • RE: RE: Cable Beach Green and Club Rental Fees

            Vernon Johnson wrote on: Nov 26, 2013

            price on club rental and green fees 03/17/14

            Reply

  • July 15-20

    Chuck wrote on: Apr 28, 2012

    I managed to talk my wife to be to let me play golf while on our honeymoon in July. Looking for rates to play 18 w/cart. Also need to rent clubs. Twilight Rate vs. Prime Time Rate

    Reply

  • Golf info

    Bobby wrote on: Apr 22, 2012

    I will arrive in Nassau on the morning of June 28th. I would like info on courses,available times, prices, anywhere I could go for additional info. Any help you could you could give would be appreciated.

    Reply

  • golf fees

    Sonia Dowd wrote on: Nov 18, 2011

    We are on the Princess Ruby arriving December 5th. Can you please give me your best rate for 4 people including clubs.

    Reply

  • golf fees

    Linda Barrington wrote on: Nov 4, 2011

    We are on the Cunard ship Queen Victoria arriving 5th December. Please advise green fees and availability.

    Reply

  • Cable beach,Blue shark

    Glenn Procter wrote on: Oct 25, 2011

    Green fees for begining of Nov? conditions etc. Playing The Ocean Club too. $363.50 have to take a playing lesson for 9 holes $250 then I can play the back for the 9 hole rate.

    Reply

  • Greens Fees

    SCOTT STODDARD wrote on: Feb 20, 2011

    Need to know green fee's for the period of May 1 to May 11 2011
    Thanks

    Reply

      • RE: Greens Fees

        Lynn wrote on: Sep 9, 2011

        We'll be in Nassau 9/10 thru 9/17. I would like to know green fees for that period - different times of day - and club rental (male & female).

        Reply

  • Early April

    Cory wrote on: Feb 1, 2011

    I am traveling down there on a 3 night cruise the 1-4 of April. We will be there on Saturday the 2nd but the ship doesn't get in until 12 anyways so figuring that the ship was close to the course, We'd probably be able to get a taxi. Anyone have any suggestions? If they do not have a direct website, who would be best to call?

    Reply

  • Golf @ cable beach

    Christiana Dean wrote on: Jan 22, 2011

    Hi,
    Anyone know what the rate is begining of Feb 2011 after 3pm with clubs?
    Thanks

    Reply

  • Cable Beach Golf

    Wayne Mayberry wrote on: Dec 4, 2010

    Great course, loved the fairways. Hardly anyone was on the course. Played here Nov. 23. Discount rate is for after 2:30. $55 to play with a cart and $35 for club rentals. The clubs were Tour Edge Bazooka. I thought they were fine. Remember, the sun goes down early so be on time, and bring plenty of balls, if you don't keep it straight there is alot of water and weeds (balls sell for $3 and up in the Bahamas).

    Reply

  • I need golf info

    Bert wrote on: Nov 23, 2010

    I will be cruising to the Bahamas and docking in Nassau on the the 2nd of Dec 2010 does anyone have any fee or transportation information on getting to Cable Beach Golf Course

    Reply

  • Cable Beach Golf

    Mark Attwell wrote on: Oct 21, 2010

    Anyone know what is the current cheapest rate to play at Cable beach please for 9-10th November?
    First time to Bahamas, only staying 3 nights, I'll sneak one game in !!!

    Reply

  • Cable beach golf

    Shane wrote on: Mar 11, 2010

    the twilight price is now $100 not $35 and the club rentals are $30 and they are not very good so you may want to bring your own. Not a bad course though.

    Reply

  • Cable Beach Golf

    Debra Smith wrote on: Jan 22, 2010

    I am planning a cruise late February to Nassau. No excursions from the ship but would like to know what's the best way to get to the course? how so I contact the course as I have many questions. Any advice is greatly appreciates!

    Reply

      • RE: Cable Beach Golf

        lew wrote on: Jan 9, 2011

        Iam on a cruise 1/22/2011 called for a 10:30 T time cost $150.00 ship charges $200.00 hope this helps

        Reply

      • RE: Cable Beach Golf

        bob wrote on: Jan 24, 2010

        We are cruising the week of Feb 20th to 27th and was looking into golfing there. If you find any info let me know. You aren't sailing on the Gem out of NYC by any chance?

        Reply

      • RE: Cable Beach Golf

        bob wrote on: Jan 24, 2010

        We are cruising the week of Feb 20th to 27th and was looking into golfing there. If you find any info let me know. You aren't sailing on the Gem out of NYC by any chance?

        Reply

  • Blue Shark Rates?

    Ian W wrote on: Dec 27, 2009

    I am planning a return trip to the Bahamas in early 2010 and want to play Blue Shark in Nassau. Anyone know what the green fees are? I haven't been able to get any info on how the course is.It looks nice, but there hasn't been any reviews on it.

    Reply

      • RE: Blue Shark Rates?

        Linda wrote on: Jul 28, 2010

        My information this morning from corporate is that the course is closed and no news of when it might open in the future. If you call their direct number, all you get is a recording and the message box is full.

        Reply

      • RE: Blue Shark Rates?

        Steve Grundy wrote on: Feb 10, 2010

        Checked it out last Feb. Rates were $265. My sister in law (who lives in Nassau) recently told me the course has closed. When i went to the course last Feb. , there were only 4 cars in the parking lot (and this was on a sunny Sat. morning @ 11). The course did look very nice. We went in to price it out, and to see if there was a local rate (there is not one). Hope this helps

        Reply

  • Cable Beach Golf

    Ian Warnock wrote on: Dec 12, 2009

    Played 3 rounds at cable beach nov 2-9. had a great time,for $75.with morning tee times. course was in good shape,the greens were perfect,no complaints at all.staff were very nice,would recommend playing this course to anyone on vacation.was well worth the price,just tell them you are staying at the sheraton(for this price),they don't check.cheers ian from canada.

    Reply

      • RE: Cable Beach Golf

        Oscar wrote on: Jan 30, 2010

        I am planning on being there in Mid-April of 2010. What are the golf rates at that time???

        Reply

  • Cable Beach GC Website

    Lu wrote on: Dec 27, 2008

    Does anyone know what the direct cable beach golf course website is??? I would like to see a score card, do they rent clubs....and for how much. Can you play in sneakers or must you have golf shoes ???? Questions like that I have......can you make a tee time in the morning....will they let you play in other then a 4-some ?????

    Reply

      • RE: Cable Beach GC Website

        Tom Nyandoro wrote on: Jul 30, 2009

        They do not have a direct website, best bet is call one of the Hotels like Radisson, Whyndham, The Breezes etc on the West Side for great rates.
        Gene Nyandoro and i had a great game last week.

        Reply

  • Cable Beach Golf Club

    Capt. F. Joslyn wrote on: Dec 12, 2008

    I have played Cable Beach many times and have always found the course in very good condition, especially the greens. The staff is very friendly and very helpful in trying to accommodate all of your requests. They have a full service driving range and putting green. I have never been charged the full tourist rate due to my "local knowledge" and knowing what to say to the ladies in the pro shop. It's definitely a must play when in the Bahamas.

    Reply

      • RE: Cable Beach Golf Club

        Tom Nyandoro wrote on: Jul 30, 2009

        I agree with you on the greens.....
        Gene Nyandoro

        Reply

      • RE: Cable Beach Golf Club

        RON wrote on: Feb 24, 2009

        What is the "local knowledge" for cheaper greens fee?

        Reply

          • RE: RE: Cable Beach Golf Club

            tracy wrote on: Mar 2, 2009

            what hotels can you stay at that will get you discount rates for the cable beach golg club.

            Reply

              • RE: RE: RE: Cable Beach Golf Club

                Tom Nyandoro wrote on: Jul 30, 2009

                Most hotels in Cable Beach like Wyndaham, Radisson, Sheraton, Sandals, Breezes etc
                Gene Nyandoro

                Reply

              • RE: RE: RE: Cable Beach Golf Club

                Barb wrote on: Jun 28, 2009

                what hotel provide discount rates. what are the regular greens fees cart fees transportation to the course we're staying at the sandals resort bahamas

                Reply

                  • RE: RE: RE: RE: Cable Beach Golf Club

                    Don wrote on: Jul 13, 2009

                    Just tell them you are staying at the Sheraton, they don't check. We live on the island, so they give a discount for that too.
                    Green fees include cart (as far as I know). And they are somewhat flexible. I was quoted $80 over the phone for 9 holes midweek morning, but only charged $60 at the pro-shop signing in. They do take all plastic.
                    To get to the course, you could take the local Jitney ($1.75pp or a taxi. It's probably an $8- $10 taxi ride - although it's only perhaps a mile from Sandals.

                    Reply

                      • RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Cable Beach Golf Club

                        ROBERT wrote on: Nov 4, 2009

                        CAN YOU RENT CLUBS AND IF SO HOW MUCH FOR TWILIGHT GOLF
                        THANKS
                        BOB

                        Reply

                          • RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Cable Beach Golf Club

                            Don wrote on: Nov 6, 2009

                            Yes they do rent clubs.
                            Don't know the Twilight rate. Most stuff seems somewhat negotiable. And you may well be quoted one rate and pay a lessor amount when you check in.

                            Reply

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