Local golf clubs discriminating against Bahamian players
Local golf courses are making it increasingly difficult for Bahamian golfers to play the sport they love in their own country.
This sickening level of discrimination has forced many of them to travel abroad to play an affordable round of golf.
Baha Mar’s Royal Blue Golf Club is the only golf course on New Providence, where the land is owned by the Government. Bahamians have been playing there for reasonable rates from the 1960’s when local golfers fought for the right to play on the “whites only” golf course.
Baha Mar’s golf course is a joint venture with the Government of The Bahamas, which owns the land that was developed by Baha Mar. Royal Blue’s board of directors consists of three directors: two appointed by Baha Mar and one member appointed by the Government.
Prior to the 2017 General Election, golfer Chris Harris was appointed by the Government, but Baha Mar never invited him or allowed him to attend any board meetings.
He was asked to sign several auditors reports but they stopped communicating with him, so he does not know to this day whether he was replaced on the board.
Before Baha Mar bought the Radisson, Bahamians were able to play golf for $40 a round.
After the property was upgraded before the PLP Government left office, Bahamians could play a round of golf for $85 inclusive of vat.
In 2019, Baha Mar increased the rate for Bahamians to $125 then eventually to $140.
Local professionals who work at a golf property pay $55. Local professionals who are not employed at a golf property pay $140.
In comparison, foreign professionals and United States Embassy employees pay $55.
The golf properties got together and decided how much to charge locals in an effort to minimize local access.
Bahamians have no access to Albany and Lyford Cay golf properties, unless they pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to join, or $250 and $275 as a guest of members at those properties. Locals can only play at Ocean Club as a guest of a member six times annually at a cost of $140 a round.
Ironically, there are foreign professionals holding jobs at all the golf properties except Albany, while there are qualified Bahamian professionals without work in The Bahamas.
Therefore, while Bahamian professionals need a job to play at good rates, they can’t get one because foreign professionals are holding jobs at a time when there are no jobs in the golfing industry due to the coronavirus pandemic.