How fun is Apes Hill Barbados’ new, Ron Kirby-designed golf course?

By: December 8, 2022

Those of you who are not familiar with Ron Kirby’s life work. Here is a quick overview. In the early 60s, he was a design associate of Robert Trent Jones Sr.

From 1970-1986 he worked with Gary Player as a consultant. Later he sold his business to Jack Nicklaus and joined the Jack Nicklaus Design Services.

In 2003, Ron Kirby was elected a “Fellow” of the American Society of Golf Course Architects for his dedicated service to his profession and outstanding contributions to golf.

Apes Hill Barbados golf course in game

With the opening of the Ron Kirby-designed 18-hole par-72 championship course, Apes Hill Barbados‘ golf offer becomes really competitive.

To complement the work that has gone into Kirby’s ‘Caribbean Masterpiece’ and the championship layout, a state-of-the-art Performance & Training Centre – with TPI-qualified staff – and floodlit driving range is due to open soon.

Now let’s see the details of the new golf course!

Apes Hill Barbados – championship golf course

Set within 475 acres of natural, unspoiled terrain and perched on one of the highest points of Barbados 1,000ft above sea level, Apes Hill Barbados is the most elevated golf experience on the island.

Apes Hill Barbados golf course natural look

Kirby’s work – aided by Justin Carlton and Gary Shapiro, two of the finest land shapers in the industry –began in 2019 and has created a new Caribbean golfing masterpiece at Apes Hill Barbados.

The layout has been well crafted around the surrounding landscape and indigenous tropical forests, with sustainability at the forefront of the resort’s long-term DNA to make it the most environmentally responsible golf course and resort development in the Caribbean.

Fairways and tees have been re-laid using the more drought-tolerant Zorro Zoysia grass and the greens with TifEagle. Both surfaces will help reduce the number of sprinklers needed from approximately 1,800 to 800.

The resistance of these grasses to insects also further reduces the reliance on fertilization and use of pesticides, with a view to eventually becoming ‘chemical-free’.

Apes Hill Barbados golf course design draft

The construction of a reservoir that can hold up to 58 million gallons of rainwater will help fully irrigate the resort, with hundreds of trees, fruits, and vegetables being planted around the property.

The new layout stretches to 7,002 yards, although four teeing options make it playable for all levels with the shortest at 5,034. “We put four tee boxes in so that we could cover levels for every golfer,” Kirby said.

As well as the test on the ground as the holes wend seamlessly through the island’s natural surroundings, sweeping Atlantic trade winds can dictate the difficulty of your round, bringing the shorter tee boxes into play.

Apes Hill Barbados nature

A family-friendly short par-3 course – with holes ranging from 95 to 150 yards – will open in 2023 while an additional 19th hole played to an island green – in the style of the iconic one-shotter at TPC Sawgrass – and a contemporary clubhouse are set to be completed during the first quarter of the year.

Apes Hill Barbados has a range of luxury real-estate options available with pricing to be announced in the new year. Additionally, golf vacation properties allowing guests to stay and play are in development, with pricing to be announced in early 2023.