B.J. Welch at Loterie Farm. (Photo Robert Luckock)
MARIGOT–Loterie Farm caretaker B.J. Welch disclosed that a new 9-hole golf course already under construction on the property for two months now, should open for play in April of this year. It is being designed by an undisclosed professional golfer responsible for other well- known courses in the USA.
Welch said he was forced to look into other leisure activities since the dramatic drop in the zip line business at Loterie Farm.
“We were the first with the Fly Zone but now we have Rainforest Adventures, and a new one is planned for Pointe Blanche, leaving us just with scraps,” he lamented. “That market is really saturated. It’s overkill. Before cruise ships even get here their passengers are zip lining on other islands.”
But golf he insists is hugely popular and in his opinion few people have time to play 18 holes.
“What we will have is a par three-nine-hole golf course, not mini golf, it’s a legitimate course like the one in Augusta,” Welch explained. “It’s going to be very challenging, on irregular terrain, up and down. The concept is we take the people to the top for the start and they zig zag their way down to the bottom to the ninth hole. The average distance between holes is 160 yards, the longest being 200 yards and the shortest 85 yards.
“Golf attracts people in the higher-income bracket but it’s not just that we see this as a revenue builder where they come with their families, have lunch and enjoy the facilities. The course is ready for the installation of the artificial greens. The technology is amazing in what you can duplicate. Its state-of-the-art stuff, and its ecological.”
He added Loterie Farm will in due course introduce new innovative eco-tourism activities, not to replace the zip line attraction, but to enhance the facilities in general.
Another potentially lucrative market he is delving into is encouraging helicopters from the mega yachts or St. Barths to fly directly into Loterie Farm to spend the day. Helicopters have landed at Loterie before. He is also collaborating with Belmond La Samanna to enhance their guest experience at Loterie with varied activities; historic, cultural, spiritual, educational and so forth. The main house itself has interesting history dating back to the 1900s and may be turned into a museum.
Loterie Farm will be hosting one of the parties for the SXM Festival, the “Jungle Party”, on Friday, March 15, with some five to six international DJs.