BERMUDA -- Port Royal Golf Course just might be one of the top five municipal layouts in the world. Obviously, Bethpage Black and Torrey Pines are two of the best, but Port Royal delivers the best of both worlds from those former U.S. Open sites.
It features ocean vistas better than Torrey Pines and it plays tough-as-nails just like Bethpage Black.
A massive $14.5-million facelift completed in 2009 raised the bar at Port Royal. The government-owned course has hosted the PGA Grand Slam of Golf the past two years and will again pit the four major winners (or their subs) against one another this October.
Roger Rulewich, who helped design the course with original architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1970, returned during the redesign to recarpet the greens with TifEagle Bermuda, install new irrigation and remove more than 1,000 trees to open up stunning coastal vistas. Port Royal rolls across some dynamic hilly land, where elevated tees and greens demand serious shot-making.
The par-4 15th tee sits next to the Whale Bay Battery, an old fort dating to the 1800s. The par-3 16th clings to the shoreline cliffs, a heart-stopping adventure. "You are overtaken by the scenery," said Brad Carpenter, who recently played Port Royal Golf Course while on vacation with his wife.