Apes Hill Club Gets a Canadian Makeover

Apes Hill Club Barbados

Apes Hill Golf Course makes the most of a hilltop site with ocean views. (Image: Apes Hill Club)

Canadian entrepreneur Glenn Chamandy has teamed with veteran golf architect Ron Kirby in a massive remodelling of Apes Hill Club in Barbados.

Already a headliner in Barbados, Apes Hill Club 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. Apes Hill Golf Course is currently closed while architect Ron Kirby completes an extensive makeover ahead of its November 2021 relaunch. As well as substantial alterations to individual holes, the US$33-million project includes 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 is no stranger to Barbados, having renovated Barbados Golf Club, an affordable government-owned municipal course he unveiled to acclaim in 2000. Now age 87, 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 Club 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.

Kirby’s remodelling of an already strong 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.

Other additions planned for Apes Hill Club 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.”

 

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