Emerald Reef Golf Club at Sandals Emerald Bay

If you find yourself snorkeling about 200 yards off the beach at Sandals Emerald Bay on Great Exuma in The Bahamas, you’ll come across sunken treasure. There, amid the coral heads and colorful fish, are dozens and dozens of golf balls—good ones, too. They lie about 100 yards off the tee of the par-three 11th hole on the resort’s Sandals Emerald Reef Golf Club: Apparently the temptation to plunk a Pro V in the turquoise waters is just too great.

But the real treasure is on land, as number 11 begins six consecutive oceanfront holes that hug the rocky promontory. As a result, this little known Greg Norman-designed course has some of the most beautiful seaside vistas south of Pebble Beach. 

As designer and player, Norman has been known for theatrics, and he outdid himself here. For instance, the short par-four 14th starts so close to the ocean spray that you can actually hunt for seashells on the tee box after hitting your drive over the hill.

The course has its quirks. Homes sit so close to the back nine that some of the holes are a little snug, which means that the front side—winding through sand dunes, lakes, and native vegetation—offers purer shotmaking and better design. But when I had the chance for another nine, it was down to the sea I went.

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