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Not Your Average Golf Course

Combina golf is rich in North Caicos charm.

By Jody Rathgeb ~ Photos by Tom Rathgeb

Forget all your usual notions about golf courses or miniature golf. Fairways of grass? Forget it. Manicured putting greens? Forget it. Windmills or tiny castles or colourful concrete animals? Nope. The Combina Golf Course at Horse Stable Beach on North Caicos is something entirely different with its own North Caicos style.

Lovey Forbes and visitor Elicia Richardson play a round at the Combina Golf Course on North Caicos.

That’s because it was created by Lovey Forbes, a true son of North Caicos. In 2013 the musician and community booster dreamed up a game similar to miniature golf (some call it putt-putt), but with a much more compact form and using the island’s natural sandy soil instead of artificial greens. He drew up a plan in the shape of a spoked wheel, with one hole in the middle and twelve more evenly spaced around the circumference of the circle. Players would start in the middle and, following his numbered holes, travel in six wedges for a total of 18 holes. Lovey then created what he called Circle Putt Golf (CPG) in his beachfront yard in Whitby, raking the sand, lining holes with PVC pipe and making a “rough” from casuarina needles. Conch shells painted with the hole numbers help players through the course.

His front yard game (at one time he had three circles) was an underground hit. People who knew Lovey or tourists who stumbled upon the place could use the putters and balls he provided and enjoy the game. He would even provide a score sheet and offer to play along. The game is fun and different and offers a challenge for even experienced golfers, who quickly learn that playing on sand in a natural terrain can be tricky.

Garden trail
Meanwhile, Lovey was bringing another idea to fruition at Horse Stable Beach in 2016, where he created a walking trail through the trees which he named Casuarina Garden Trails. The area was at first an informal adjunct to the government facilities there, then received an official stamp of approval that included assistance in building a music stage at the site in 2018.

That’s when a lightning bolt of an idea struck again. Lovey decided not only to add his Circle Putt Golf to the area, but also to turn the trails into another 18-hole course. He set to work with his rake and added 18 holes meandering through the trees, with lengths ranging from 8 to 75 feet. Players start from the center hole of the CPG wheel and end there, allowing them to finish off with a round of CPG for a total of 36 holes. Lovey named this the Combina Golf Course. (He also calls his music, which blends rock, country, calypso and reggae, combina music.)

Like CPG, the longer course is on natural terrain with a casuarina “rough,” with holes marked by conch shells. There are also some gentle obstacles (a thin tree was left in the middle of one of the holes), island-style decorations, and inspirational signs along the way, reminding players to Give God Thanks, Pursue Life, Honor Your Mother, etc.

The person to contact
Lovey says that the Combina Golf Course was “designed by the spirit,” but he’s the one who does all its maintenance and is the contact person for those who want to play the game. He can be found on Facebook as Lorett Forbes, on Instagram as Lorett Lovey, or with a phone call to (649) 242-8802. He will meet players at the site with clubs and balls and explain the game. Lovey does not charge people to play the course, but happily accepts donations for its upkeep. Currently, he brings a paper sign explaining Combina Golf when he is at the site, but says he would like to get a more permanent sign so that people will know what this odd little course actually is.

Yes, it’s odd, but that’s much of its island charm. Lovey’s creation is “North Caicos” through and through. Certainly not your average golf course.



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Photographer Marta Morton was enjoying another spectacular sunset when she spotted this lovely scene—a picture-perfect clump of Old Man Cacti and the pastel colours of what she later learned were crepuscular rays (see page 18). For more of Marta’s images, turn the pages of this issue and visit www.harbourclubvillas.com.

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