Tierra del Sol Golf Course (tel. 297/586-0978; www.tierradelsol.com), designed by Robert Trent Jones II, is Aruba's only championship course. With its desert terrain, ocean vistas, and challenging winds, it's an interesting one, located on the island's northwest tip near the California Lighthouse. Aruba's persistent winds are a factor during most approach shots, when club selection can be decisive, but gusts can affect putts, too. The arid links are flat for the most part, the Aruba grass fairways are fairly wide for desert links, and the greens are accommodating. Although there are no hidden breaks, most putts are fast. Obstacles include sand bunkers, cacti, coral rock formations, and water hazards (referred to locally as salinas). The par-5, 534-yard 14th hole, with its crosswinds, narrow greens, and sand bunkers, may be the course's most challenging hole; play it cautiously. Views of the ocean and the California Lighthouse make hole 3 one of the most picturesque. For high-tech geeks, each golf cart is equipped with a GPS satellite dish and a color video screen that provides graphic hole and green overviews, and many other options. A morning tee time from December through March is $159; afternoon rounds drop to $124. During the summer, mornings are $124, afternoons $105. Packages are available. Guests renting Tierra del Sol villas can opt for unlimited golfing privileges. The course also offers a 1 3/4-hour No Embarrassment clinic for golfers of all levels. The $45 fee includes lunch at the clubhouse. A pro shop, driving range, putting green, chipping green, locker rooms, spa, and restaurants are on-site.
Opened in 2005, Divi Links, near Druif Beach, across the street from the Divi Aruba resort (tel. 297/581-4653; www.divigolf.com), offers a less-pricey yet elegant alternative. Although it has only 9 holes, the course allows a second pass to simulate an 18-hole round. The course has two par-5 holes, two par-3s, and five par-4 holes. Six holes play either over or alongside the numerous man-made lagoons, and each hole has three tees for different level players. Fees are $124 for 18 holes, $85 for 9 holes. The course is open daily from 6:30am to 5pm. Start before 1pm to complete 18 holes. Golf carts can be rented at the on-site pro shop, and clubs can be rented for $25; however, caddies are not available. Weekly tournaments offer cheaper greens fees and throw in rental clubs and shoes as well as a few drinks for $75. For all but the die-hard golfer, this is a great way to save a few bucks and have a good time.
Mulligan's restaurant at the clubhouse offers 360-degree views of the greens as well as an extensive menu. While eating lunch there I counted nearly a dozen flatscreen televisions, including one in the ladies' room (presumably there is at least one in the men's too). While the screens were originally intended to allow golfers to review their last shot on the 9th hole, the technology was not in place as of press time, and the annoying visual cacophony of various sports and news programs can be obtrusive.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.