Emerald Bay shines with Korn Ferry Tour

Grand Isle showcases luxury villa offerings at island’s marquee golfing event, as GIV Bahamas once again sponsors and fields winning team for Pro Am 2020

Emerald Bay once again shined bright earlier this month when it played host to the Korn Ferry Tour, an event that is rapidly becoming a can’t-miss staple in the Exuma tourism calendar.

The Emerald Bay Golf Course, an 18-hole, par 72 championship course designed by golfing legend Greg Norman, served as the centerpiece for a tournament that attracts an eclectic mix of up-and-coming talent and scrappy pros looking to get back on the PGA Tour.

On either side of Emerald Bay, book-ending a powdery, mile-long beach, was Sandals and Grand Isle Resort & Spa, both of which were jammed for the festivities. While some came as spectators, others arrived to participate in the Korn Ferry Tour’s Pro Am on Jan 9 and Jan 11th. These guests enjoyed cocktail parties, welcome gifts and a tournament where they are paired with a golf pro.

GIV Bahamas Inc., the largest owner of villas at Grand Isle Resort and a long time supporter of the tournament, fielded two teams in the competition, with one of them coming out on top as the 2020 champion.

“Grand Isle Resort has really woken my wife and I up to a place like Exuma,” said Doug Smith, a former player in the NHL and the owner of Doug Smith Performance.

“Both the resort, the tournament and Sandals were all first class. This island has changed us for the better and helped us clear our thinking. I believe it is the safety you feel in the hands of the Bahamian people, combined with the sheer beauty of the area. It was simply phenomenal.”

Doug Smith’s winning team, which included Craig Campbell, Ian Davidson and Jeff Todd, director of communications for GIV Bahamas Inc., was paired with surging pro golfer Adam Svensson. Prior to the tournament, participants in the Great Exuma Classic’s Pro Am are able to visit both Sandals Emerald Bay and Grand Isle Resort, taking advantage of the restaurants and amenities at both properties.

For Grand Isle, a special VIP party was hosted in one of the property’s four-bedroom penthouses, giving golfers a glimpse of the large, luxurious villas. While most guests come to Grand Isle as a resort guest, it also allowed golfers to see opportunities for home ownership.

“What’s great about this event is it really let’s people see everything Emerald Bay has to offer,” said Peter Nicholson, the President of GIV Bahamas Inc. “Sandals is a great partner and we thank them, along with BD Global Sports, for their amazing leadership. GIV Bahamas Inc. has supported this tournament from the beginning and I’m so pleased to see it continuing to grow.”

Held from January 12 to January 15, The Great Exuma Classic is the first event on the Korn Ferry Tour, with US$600,00 in prize money up for grabs. The Greg Norman Signature Course, surrounding both Sandals and Grand Isle, is a true test for even professional golfers, with the back nine entirely on the ocean. As in past years, the tournament was televised on NBC’s The Golf Channel.

High winds made for challenging conditions for both the Pro Am and the first day or two of the Great Exuma Classic. In the end, it was Tommy Gainey, a 44-year-old journeyman who took home the top spot.

Gainey, who in the past has earned $5.6 million in 200 career starts on the PGA Tour, turned in a final-round 69 to finish the tournament at -11. Dylan Wu and John Oda tied for second with -7, followed by Will Zalatoris and Sean O’Hair at -6.