Usually, getting to a destination is the most difficult part of a trip; at The Abaco Club, an international sporting club on Winding Bay in the Bahamas, the hard part is leaving.
“Welcome to Paradise” is how David Southworth, founder and CEO of Southworth Development, greets newcomers here. Even before you reach your residence, via a personal golf cart, you already feel the sense of being in paradise building.
The setting is relaxed with low slung buildings and iconic Bahamian architecture surrounded by lush vegetation. In the background, turquoise waters sparkle and flashes of rose red can be spied as Bahamian parrots streak through the trees.
No matter your vision of paradise — golf, tennis, boating, cave diving and snorkeling excursions or just relaxing on two miles of pristine beach — this club has it all. The golf course, consistently rated No. 1 in the Bahamas, is a true Scottish-style links course set hard by the sea with classic links features including pot bunkers and sloping greens. Pros such as PGA champion Darren Clarke often use the extensive practice facility to perfect their short game.
The club setting, which restricts the number of visits from non-members, adds to the overall laid-back ambiance. Real estate offerings include cottages, estate homes and cabanas. Two new condo buildings are planned. Also, in the works is a second members’ clubhouse and dedicated boat slips at Little Harbour.
Divers worldwide come to Abaco to explore the blue holes and potentially the most extensive island underground cave system in the world.
Our visit to the island included a winding trip through a pine forest with the Friends of the Environment to visit Dean’s Blue Hole, the second deepest in the world. Another day, we explored the cays and harbors around the Sea of Abaco, where we swam with turtles and met the swimming pigs of No Name Cay.
Along the Winding Bay beach, the club’s waterfront director has a range of water toys including kayaks, paddleboards and snorkels at the ready, and special events are planned every day.
Whether in the open air at Flippers Beach Bar or taking in the panoramic views from the relaxed elegance of the Cliff House, dining often turns into a convivial experience. It’s no surprise that Flippers’ signature drink is the Island Smile. Fish tacos at Flippers and fresh lobster at the Cliff House are favorites.
The last night of our visit was ribs night, one of the special events at Flippers, with live Shake ‘n Scrape music and a surprise visit from the island’s Junkanoo troupe.
Regretfully, we had to leave the next morning, but we carried with us the last exuberant notes of that night. — Camilla McLaughlin
Photos courtesy of The Abacos Club; Left bottom photo courtesy of Home ©Aaron Usher III