CHRIST CHURCH -- Barbados' first championship golf course opened here in late summer after a $7.2 million redesign.

The Barbados Golf Club originally was built in 1974 but lay vacant and unoccupied for more than 20 years.

The government, which owned the land, put the deed to the lease in the name of a St. Michael, Barbados-based firm that now consists of 380 public shareholders.

The firm, Southern Golf and Country Club Ltd., raised money and put in motion a plan to reopen the course to Professional Golfers' Association standards.

Ron Kirby, a member of the American Golf Course Architects Association, completely redesigned and reconstructed the par-72 course.

The 18-hole course now features five water holes and a series of coral waste bunkers on four holes.

Jeremiah's Restaurant, a duty-free pro shop and practice/putting greens round out the property.

The course, which is open to the public, was sanctioned by the PGA European Tour and will host a PGA Seniors tournament in 2002.

Rates through April 15 are $115 for 18 holes.

Carts, clubs, shoes and trolleys are available for rental, as well.

Nine-hole rates are 60% of listed prices.

A three-day unlimited golf pass is $261 per person, and a seven-day unlimited golf pass is priced at $580 per person.

Barbados Golf Club also works in conjunction with 15 partner hotels that offer guaranteed tee times for their guests.

The partner hotels also are offering grand opening specials providing three and seven days of unlimited golf and roundtrip transfers from the hotel to the golf course.

Package rates start at $1,228 per person, double, for a seven-night stay.

A complete list of the partner hotels appears on the Barbados Golf Club's Web site, which is located at www.barbadosgolfclub.com.

For more information, call (246) 42 T-TIME.

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