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THE ABACO CLUB

Developments at The Abaco Club on Winding Bay will soon elevate the exclusive Bahamian club community to even greater heights.

BY SHAUN TOLSON

ABACO, THE BAHAMAS: The daily stresses of the outside world easily drift away when you’re stretched out on a beach lounge chair with a book in your hand and the azure waves of Winding Bay gently lapping the shoreline just beyond your toes. You’re also likely to forget the frenzied pace of your daily life when paddling a sea kayak alongside a flotilla of sea turtles in the clear shallow waters just off the rocky western shore of Sugar Cay, a small island positioned near the center of the bay, only a quarter mile from the beach. And if you’re traversing the fairways and greens of the ocean-side golf course or casting flies for bonefish, maybe even trolling for blue marlin in the deep Atlantic waters not far from shore, you will almost assuredly lose track of the time.

These are some of the experiences that form the foundation of The Abaco Club, a private Bahamian sporting club community set on the easternmost shore of Great Abaco Island. At its core, the club exists as a sanctuary from the trials and tribulations of the 21st century, not to mention the bustling, always-connected world in which we live.

The Abaco Club, of course, isn’t truly disconnected, but the ambiance of the club and the lifestyle that it fosters can easily convince members and their guests that it is. In fact, that’s one of the club’s primary appeals.

“It’s the tranquility of the property,” said Tommy Southworth, president of Southworth Development, which owns and operates The Abaco Club. “It’s also the Bahamian hospitality and rhythm that our staff imparts on our members. They do a phenomenal job of not only warmly welcoming everyone who arrives, but also setting the tone, the pace, and the vibe of the club.

“You can relax here by doing a lot or by doing very little,” continued Southworth. “People live hectic, frantic, stressful lives. Our job is to give them a space to get away from that and to recharge. We offer the full spectrum for a very busy day in Abaco—bonefishing, boating, and playing golf—or for a low-key day spent entirely on the beach with a book and an Abaco Smile cocktail in hand. Walking that beach is soul soothing. It’s an hour down and back with just your thoughts and the dolphins, sea turtles and rays.”

The central pillar of the club is the aforementioned championship golf course designed by Donald Steel and Tom Mackenzie that plays host to the Korn Ferry Tour’s Great Abaco Classic. The course, which plays firm and fast, is a captivating marriage of classical Scottish links design features and idyllic Caribbean vistas. Pot bunkers, dunescapes, and tiered, undulating greens enhance the course’s difficulty on the ground; while trade winds off the Atlantic add another stout layer of defense through the air. It’s the kind of course that convinced British Open champion Darren Clarke to purchase a home at the club more than 15 years ago. More recently, Clarke has made The Abaco Club his primary residence.

“The golf course is sensational,” described Clarke. “It’s a proper golf course; it’s not easy. I didn’t want a golf course where I could hit it anywhere and shoot 63 or 64. That’s not conducive to getting myself ready to go play on Tour. I want something that’s going to be a test. If the wind blows and I’m playing off the tips, I’ve played really well if I break 70. Also, the practice facilities are as good as you can get.”

The golf course may be the nucleus of the property, but it’s the two-mile, crescent-shaped stretch of soft, white-sand beach that serves as the club’s heartbeat. Up until now, only Flippers—a quintessential Caribbean beach bar—has occupied space along the edge of that crescent of sand. Yet, all of that is about to change.

Currently, a new beachside restaurant is in development at the club, one that will serve upscale cuisine emphasizing fresh, local ingredients. As Southworth describes it, the new eatery will offer an “elegant but laid back oceanfront dining experience with Mediterranean inspired dishes and elevated Caribbean cocktails.” But that’s only the beginning.

The club is home to 95 residences—a mix of one-bedroom cabanas; 2- to 5-bedroom cottages; and luxurious beach estates. Ten estate lots, which can accommodate custom-built homes, are also for sale, along with a handful of spec homes.

However, The Abaco Club will soon break ground to build the first phase of a multi-stage development called The Cays, 36 stunning villa residences situated along the shores of Winding Bay. Ranging from just over 2,000 square feet to more than 5,300 square feet, the multi-bedroom oceanfront villas are designed to fit seamlessly into the serene landscape and will represent the club’s most luxurious, turnkey residential products to date.

“These aren’t beachfront condos in the traditional sense,” continued Southworth. “These are grand, family-friendly beach residences. Their luxury pertains not only to features and finishes, but also to the experiences they will offer residents through living and entertaining areas that blur the boundary between the inside and the outdoors. Even still, the residences’ greatest luxury may be their location, which not only provides immediate access to the beach, but will also leverage a soon-to-be-built Bay Club, home to a spectacular new oceanfront pool.

“This is for someone who wants the ultimate beach experience,” detailed Southworth. “You can’t beat the location. It’s an extremely comfortable, easy, ‘barefoot luxury’ kind of place in every sense.”

When completed, the project will introduce 36 new members to the special lifestyle that only The Abaco Club can provide—a lifestyle predicated upon exclusivity without pretension. It’s a membership perk that longtime residents like Clarke value more than anything else.

“If you want to get away from everything and just have an amazing, understated, luxurious holiday where everyone is catered to, this is the best place for it,” concluded Clarke. “It’s a special place.”

For more information, please visit: TheAbacoClub.com or call Kristi Hull, director of sales, at 242-577-3822.