Apes Hill Gets a Canadian Makeover

Golfers on a green at Apes Hill golf course, with a view of the ocean in the distance. (Image: Apes Hill Club)

Apes Hill Golf Course twists through lush jungle and a former sugar plantation. (Image: Apes Hill Barbados)

Montreal-based fashion wear entrepreneur Glenn Chamandy teamed up with veteran golf architect Ron Kirby in a dramatic US$33-million remodelling of Apes Hill Barbados.

(Last updated February 2024.)

Already a headliner in Barbados, Apes Hill Barbados is counting on a heavy infusion of Canadian cash to help it become one of the must-play golf properties in the Caribbean.

First opened in 2009, the golf club and luxury residential community was purchased in 2019 by Glenn Chamandy, the founder of Montreal-based clothing giant Gildan Activewear. Following a major renovation by golf architect Ron Kirby, Apes Hill Golf Course reopened for member play in November 2022. In addition to substantial alterations to individual holes, the US$33-million redo included the addition of a 19th hole modelled after the island-green 17th at TPC Sawgrass, a new par three course, and the opening of a Titleist Performance Institute.

“When Apes Hill became available, I felt it had the potential, with its natural gullies and views over both the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, to be the best golfing experience in the Caribbean,” says Chamandy, a longtime visitor to Barbados and a homeowner on the island.

Golf architect Ron Kirby

Golf architect Ron Kirby.

Dipping and twisting through lush jungle, an abandoned coral quarry and a former sugar plantation, Apes Hill Golf Course makes the most of a still mostly wild hilltop site on the northwest coast. Chattering green monkeys are often seen here feasting on Barbados cherries, ackee and breadfruit. Scattered throughout the property is a growing collection of luxury homes and semi-detached villas, as well as building lots for sale.

Architect Kirby, who passed away at the age of 90 in August 2023, was no stranger to Barbados, having renovated Barbados Golf Club, an affordable government-owned municipal course he unveiled to acclaim in 2000. Kirby started his design career as an associate of Dick Wilson before going on to work with Robert Trent Jones, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus. Kirby’s name is attached to more than 70 courses around the world, including Old Head Golf Links in the Republic of Ireland.

Apes Hill was originally a partnership between Sir Charles Williams, whose family came from England to Barbados in the 1600s, and Landmark Land Company, the developer of prestigious golf properties such as California’s La Quinta Resort and Club, and South Carolina’s Kiawah Island Golf Club. Jeff Potts and Chris Cole designed the original layout for Landmark.

“They didn’t do a bad job,” Kirby said of the original architects. “The routing is pretty good, but it was too difficult—the opening hole was an uphill par five straight into the prevailing wind, and it went on in the same kind of mode. My goal was to make a course that, after you played it, you wanted to play it again.”

Kirby’s remodelling of an already solid course can only strengthen the island’s reputation as one of the Caribbean’s must-play golf destinations. Barbados’ roster of top-tier resort courses includes the Green Monkey and Country Club layouts at Sandy Lane resort, and Royal Westmoreland Golf and Country Club.

Barbados and Apes Hill Club will step into the international spotlight May 3 to 5, when it hosts the inaugural ‘Barbados Legends hosted by Ian Woosnam’ tourney, the first event of the 2024 season on the Legends Tour (formerly known as the European Senior Tour).

Other additions to Apes Hill include a new pro shop in the renovated clubhouse, a new bar and veranda restaurant, an outdoor gym, a lap pool and yoga garden, and a farm shop selling pineapples, honey and other products harvested from agricultural pockets around the property.

“Golf is about more than just the golf course,” Chamandy says. “We want Apes Hill to take your breath away in many different ways—by being environmentally responsible, visually beautiful, and authentically the best of Barbados.”