Winding through the Blue mountains of Jamaica’s historic 4,000 acre Rose Hall Plantation, The White Witch golf course is carved out of 600 acres of lush greenery and rolling countryside that feature panoramic Caribbean vistas with breathtaking mountain views.
The course is named after Annie Palmer, the notorious “White Witch,” who was mistress of Rose Hall Plantation in the early 19th Century. The story states that the White Witch was Annie Palmer, who was born in Haiti. She later moved to Jamaica, where she was married to John Palmer in 1820. As an adult, she reportedly stood 4’11”.
John was the owner of Rose Hall Plantation, east of Montego Bay. Annie’s husband (and two subsequent husbands as well) died suspiciously, and it is speculated that Annie herself brought about their demise. Annie became known as a mistress of voodoo, using it to terrorize the plantation, and taking male slaves into her bed at night and often murdering them.
She is also supposed to have dispatched her lovers allegedly because she was bored of them. Assuming this is true it would make Annie an extreme example of a clinical psychopath although the stories are speculation at best. The legend has her being murdered in her bed during the slave uprisings of the 1830s by one of her slave lovers.
Rose Hall is widely regarded to be a visually impressive house and the most famous of the Great Houses in Jamaica. It is a Georgian mansion with a stone base and a plastered upper story, high on the hillside, with a panorama view over the coast. Built in the 1770s, Rose Hall was restored in the 1960s to its former splendor, with mahogany floors, interior windows and doorways, paneling and wooden ceilings. It is decorated with silk wallpaper printed with palms and birds, ornamented with chandeliers and furnished with mostly European antiques. There is a bar downstairs and a restaurant. Presently, Rose Hall is a museum for tourists who wish to see where Annie Palmer ate, slept and also areas of the house where she is said to haunt. Possible areas where the murders took place, e.g. in her bedroom where she suffocated one of her lovers with a pillow. Rose Hall is also known for holding seances to try and conjure her spirit and gain answers about the mysterious deaths of her husbands and fanciful legends of underground tunnels, bloodstains and hauntings that surround it. There is little evidence to support the legend other than a version written by H. G. de Lisser in his 1928 novel The White Witch of Rose Hall.
Locals are quick to say that Annee Palmer still haunts the Rose Hall Great House and the grounds of the estate — and maybe she does you have to go there and see the candle light tour.
I certainly blamed her for several wayward putts when I played her namesake golf course, the White Witch.
Play begins with an eye-opener — a 550-yard, par-5, which drops abruptly off the tee to a canted fairway, then climbs steeply past a succession of huge bunkers on the right to a small tabletop green tucked out of sightly off to the right. It is the most daunting hole on the course from the tee, and one of the prettiest I have seen.
The 10th hole is as deceptive as Annee herself, a 621-yard, par-5 doglegging around bunkers on the edge of a ravine. Fortunately it’s downhill off the tee. Cutting the corner, while risky, can pay off with a ball on the green in two if your lucky, despite the hole’s length.
The 164-yard, par-3 14th hole can be as tough as it looks, depending on the wind. The shallow peninsula green lies more than 100 feet below the tee, on the far side of water. The elevated tee provides a great view of the dogleg 15th hole, as well as the fairway of the difficult par-5 16th.
The par-3 17th hole is 161 yards slightly downhill to a small green surrounded by sand bunkers. Unless the wind throws a tantrum, this is not a hard hole. But it is among the most memorable for its beauty — white sand sharply contrasting with rich green turf and the blue backdrop of ocean. A windswept tree silhouetted against the sky provides just the right finishing touch.
16 of 18 holes offer views of the Caribbean Sea. Once you play the course you will want to come back and play it again.
|Black (W)||71||5864 yd.||128||70.2|
|Red (W)||71||5397 yd.||126||73.2|
Photos of the course