For years, Anguilla had but one golf course. A tiny "pitch & putt" just for hitting short shots, chipping, and putting, it was Anguilla's only course.
Today, the scene has come a long way thanks to Aurora Anguilla's International Golf Course.
Press "play" above for our tour of Aurora International Golf Club with Director of Instruction, Tom Stickney.
Forbes calls it "The Hidden Gem of the Caribbean," Caribbean Journal has labeled it one of the region's best, and Robb Report refers to its first hole as "The Caribbean's answer to the 18th at Pebble Beach."
Greg Norman designed, 7,000+ yards of 18 manicured holes stretch along the south shore of Anguilla, gazing out to vistas of the Caribbean Sea and St. Martin's majestic mountains.
Aurora International Golf Club
A PGA course, it is breathtaking. It ranks among the top 10 golf courses Caribbean-wide! In pristine condition, with sweeping views and a clubhouse that serves gourmet cuisine, it's not hard to see why Aurora International Golf Club makes the mark.
A crew of dedicated landscapers diligently maintain the greens, fairways and tees (no easy task in Anguilla, where grass is extremely difficult to nurture and sustain).
The 18th Hole
If Anguilla is Tranquility Wrapped in Blue, Aurora International Golf Club is an oasis of green wrapped by desert.
Anguilla golf is at the top of its game in more ways than beauty and challenge. There are few places in the world with a more predictable climate.
Anguilla is blessed with an average temperature of 80°F, rarely going above 90°F in the summer and below 75°F during the day in the winter. Skies are consistently sunny, with a lower humidity index than mountainous islands. Mix in cooling tradewinds out of the southeast, and playing conditions are the best in the Caribbean.
Every game begins at Aurora's impressive clubhouse...
Named after the owner, D Richard's bar and interior dining room is posh and sophisticated.
Inside D'Richard's Club House
The space opens onto an expansive outdoor terrace.
With views of the 18th hole in the foreground, the Caribbean Sea in the background and the mountains of St. Martin in the far distance, the scenery is second to none.
Views From D'Richard's
As gentle tradewinds cool the terrace, it is the perfect spot for a post-golf meal, beer and "coulda-woulda-shoulda" rehashing-of-the-round conversation.
More on D Richard's for lunch here.
But before lunching?...
To The Pro Shop
To check in for your round of golf, pop into the Pro Shop.
The Pro Shop
The Pro Shop carries a wide variety of golf gear and souvenirs. From Aurora polos, to zip ups, to caps and golf accessories, the selection is sure to please every golf lover.
Inside The Pro Shop
Once checked in and decked out in Aurora golf gear, head out to pick up your clubs, settle into your golf cart...
Or, if you would like to get in some practice time, don't miss the putting greens and...
Special Tip: For fanatics, book time at Aurora's Golf Academy. The academy is dedicated to improving your swing. In addition to lessons and clinics, the school features the Trackman system. Cutting edge video technology lets you play Aurora virtually day or night, rain or shine.
Cutting Edge Trackman System
That's not all. Aurora features world-class instruction with Director of Instruction, Tom Stickney. A Top 100 Teacher as ranked by Golf Magazine, Tom is internationally recognized for his expertise.
If you are looking to elevate your entire game, there is no better person to turn to!
Director of Instruction, Tom Stickney
Practice shots in, it's time to take a swing at the real thing...
This is a course where you constantly adjust to diversity. Holes play towards the sea, facing the clubhouse, inland (sheltered from the breeze), along the ocean, and most exciting (and frustrating) of all? The holes that play directly into the wind.
Here are some noteworthy holes at Aurora International Golf Club...
The panoramas are breathtaking. The crisp, green fairway stretches for as far as the eye can see before meeting the Caribbean Sea and St. Martin.
10th Hole Tee Box
A par 5, it's a straightforward hole measuring 548 yards from the men's tees and 530 yards from the women's (or, if you're brave, 590 from the tips). It's set back from the water and the wind line. The fairway gradually slopes down towards the green.
Welcome to one of the most scenic holes at Aurora.
The Beach at The 11th Hole
Hole 11 starts at the sea. The tee box backs onto the ocean and the hole plays away from the beach.
Tip: You have to try to allow the ball to ride the wind, which is tricky as the easterly tradewinds tend to carry your ball further than expected.
11th Hole Tee Box
The 16th hole is one of the toughest on the course.
Off the tee, you play straight into the strong tradewinds blowing in from the east. On a windy day, you have your work cut out for you. Don't be surprised if you lose your ball to the pond that flanks its right.
Your only choice is to hit the ball straight, low and into the wind with as much force as you can control. If it's traveled low and far, it won't roll into the pond. But, if your ball flutters up and into the wind, it may very well end up wet.
Pressure always comes off when you reach 18.
Hole 18 shows off the spectacular and well-kept grounds. Smooth, with that signature fresh-cut scent in the air, the course is always in immaculate shape.
One would never guess the battle with long droughts, hot sun and salt air. Its quality is a true testament to technology and the dedicated team of greenskeepers.
The 18th Hole
The bright, white clubhouse in the distance, a long stretch of pristine fairway ahead, and with the wind at your back, it is indeed a beauty. A par 4 that runs all uphill, approximately 430 yards from the tips (388 from the men's and 330 from the women's), the 18th is a spectacular finishing hole.
It is a joy to play... as long as you can avoid the bunkers that guard the front of the hole!
If it is a shorter game you seek, Aurora offers that, too. Their 9 hole, walking-only short course is a gem.
Breezy, beautifully maintained with soothing water features, it is a pleasure to play. The course has just enough challenge and variety to keep a round of golf fun and interesting.
Its design and layout makes it a top choice for golfers of all ages and skill levels.
Aurora Anguilla pushes the bar limits higher. With the addition of the 9 hole course and the introduction of the Trackman system, Anguilla golf gets better and better.
Playing Aurora should be on every golf lovers bucket list and every Anguilla's lover list, too, for that matter.
With such sensational scenery, golfer and non-golfers alike are sure to be taken aback by the breathtaking beauty of this special course.
Have your say about what you just read! Leave a comment in the box below.