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Golf legend and course designer Jack Nicklaus returned to the site of the future Jack Nicklaus Signature Design Golf Course at Baha Mar to review the development of the course since his last visit in February 2013. During the current visit, Nicklaus carefully inspected the 18-hole, par-72 course, providing a strategy for the holes according to his vision of how golfers will play each hole. The Golden Bear's input on the strategy of the course includes features such as bunker placement and green design which incorporate the contours of the local landscape while creating a scenic golf course that is suitable for a broad variety of players. The hands-on, customized design strategy for the holes is a key feature of the Signature Design Golf Courses, the highest tier of Nicklaus Design golf courses. The Jack Nicklaus Signature Course at Baha Mar will be the only one of its caliber in The Bahamas and one of only a handful in the Caribbean. The course is on schedule to open in spring 2014. Baha Mar, the 1,000-acre resort enclave currently under development on The Bahamian Riviera, is scheduled to open in December 2014.
Junior golfers named to this year's Caribbean Amateur Junior Golf Championships (CAJGC) team have less than a week to perfect their stroke.
The July 4-9 championships will bring together the best junior golfers from around the region, vying for the top spots and a shot at the Hank James Trophy. The CAJGC will celebrate its 24th year at the Barbados Golf Club in Durants, Christ Church, Barbados. Over the five days of play, golfers will compete in the girls and boys 12-and-under divisions, 13-15 divisions and the 16-17 divisions. The Bahamas will be represented by a 14-member team, which Bahamas Golf Federation (BGF) President James Gomez believes is very strong.
"Training sessions have intensified since we have less than a week to go," said Gomez. "Things have more than taken shape with the team. We have training going on at the Ocean Club and the Lyford Cay golf courses. The 14-member team is a strong one, so I think they are going to do well.
"As you know, this year's team is split with persons from New Providence and Grand Bahama. The coach and manager are both from Freeport. Since the coach is there, he is responsible for the training on that side. The players here, in New Providence, are being assisted by Keno Turnquest, a former junior golfer who has played collegiate golf as well. Keno works at the golf course at Albany Resort, but he is responsible for training them at both the golf courses selected for training."
The team has been training ever since it was ratified by the BGF executives in February of this year. Even though there might have been some ups and downs, during the course of training, Gomez is certain that the four months of training will pay off. The head of the local federation thanked the personnel at both the Ocean Club and Lyford Cay golf courses for opening their doors to them. He believes that limited access to courses in the past has affected the team's overall results at past championships.
Last year, when the championships were hosted by the BGF at the Our Lucaya Golf Club in Freeport, Grand Bahama, several members of Team Bahamas were able to place in the top half of their divisions; however the floating trophy was captured by Puerto Rico. The Bahamas has yet to win the Hank James Trophy, since it first teed-off at the championships in 1988.
Gomez said: "Over the years the success rate has not been what we would have liked. I think it is largely due to the fact that preparation prior to the championships, in my mind, was lacking. I have a feeling that this year, our performances will be much better than in the past. The team has been together for a while training. I think with the courtesy extended to us by the Ocean Club Golf Club and the Lyford Cay Golf Club, in addition to the driving range, which is our training facility at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex, I think they are pretty adequate in terms of preparation for the championships.
"We have played against some of these players in the past. As a matter of fact, some of the more senior golfers who will play in the higher division or the 17 age group, some of them play at the senior level as well. For instance, one of the junior golfers will be playing at the senior level for The Bahamas in Trinidad and Tobago, so we do have experienced players on the team. These persons are known to each other. They have grown together in the junior ranks and have now moved on to the senior."
The 11-member senior team will leave at the end of July for Trinidad and Tobago. Play will take place at the Millennium Lakes Golf and Country Club, from July 31 - August 7.