Pro Golf Tips: How to Play Four Seasons Nevis
Three PGA Tour members weigh in on the thrilling challenges of the award-winning Caribbean course.
The Robert Trent Jones II masterpiece on Nevis is consistently rated one of the best courses in the Caribbean. It’s a challenge for amateurs, but how does it look to Tour professionals?
“It’s not every day you play 18 holes up the side of a mountain, through a virtual botanical garden, and enjoy the most incredible views of the Caribbean at the same time,” says up-and-coming PGA star Kelly Kraft. His first impressions of the course at Four Seasons Resort Nevis are matched by those of seasoned Tour player Alex Cejka. “I love the holes facing the ocean,” says Cejka, “and it’s especially nice to see wildlife on a course.”
Playful green vervet monkeys are a feature of the club (and the island), but make no mistake, these professional players come here for the golf. “As a pro, I think this course is tough because we can hit the ball farther than most amateurs,” says Kraft. “With all the elevation changes, sometimes we can’t see where our ball is landing or how far it actually goes, especially if it gets windy. If I start hitting a bunch of drivers it immediately becomes a much more demanding golf course.”
For Cejka, the course’s signature par-5 15th hole sums up the challenge. “From the pro tees it’s a 240-yard carry over a ravine to an angled fairway. It’s a semi-blind shot, so the first time I played it I relied on Sven, the Hotel’s general manager, to show me the line. When I walked down to my ball I discovered I’d hit it perfectly down the middle, but I still had a very hard second shot.” Mind you, 15 is a 663-yard hole.
Position off the tee is everything if you want to score at or around the par of 71 on this course. “Once you play the course a couple of times, you start learning where to hit it to give you the best approach into greens,” says local PGA pro Bruce Wilson. “For example, driver isn’t always the sensible choice off the tee box. My best tip is to study where the landing areas are and focus on that on the first shot.”
Then there are the greens—fast and true, but seldom flat. “A couple of greens have unusual undulations,” says Cejka. “When they’re really fast it can be very tricky.” Wilson agrees: “The greens are subtle and very hard to read because of the grain.”
Most courses are better suited either to scratch players or to mid-handicappers. The triumph of the Four Seasons Nevis golf course is that it works equally well for professionals and novices.
“I can’t wait to get back to Nevis and play again,” says Kraft. “It’s a great spot with amazing views, wildlife and a really challenging golf course.”