Orville A. T. (Tommy) Turnquest interview

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CEO Jack's Bay Club & Resort, Greencastle, The Bahamas
Posted on
January 7, 2024
by
M. James Ward in ,
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Background

Orville A.T. (Tommy) Turnquest, is a former Parliamentarian and Cabinet Minister and is the Chief Executive Officer of Jack’s Bay Resort Development Limited.

He is responsible for the coordination and execution of all development related activities for the project. In addition, he spent over 20 years in front line politic and was first elected to the Bahamian Parliament in August 1992 and again in March 1997.

Mr. Turnquest’s cabinet and governmental experience also includes having served as Minister of Tourism, Minister of the Public Service, Immigration and National Insurance, Minister of Public Works, Minister of State for the Public Service and Labour Parliamentary Secretary in the Office of Prime Minister, and Chairman of the National Hurricane Relief Committee.

Prior to entering front line politics, Mr Turnquest served as a senior banking official for eleven years with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). During that time, he was admitted as a Fellow of the Institute of Canadian Bankers (FIBC).

Orville A. T. (Tommy) Turnquest interview

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You wake up in the morning-- what's the driving passion?

I think of the vast potential of Jack’s Bay, and the positive role that it will play in the overall development of the Bahamas, particularly for the Out Islands. I have spent 20 years in front-line national politics in the country, and I know the myriad of challenges that the Bahamas faces, and the need for development.

I am privileged to be leading a legacy project that will transform South Eleuthera and not only become a beacon of excellence for the entire country but an “oasis for the soul” for our members, homeowners and guests.

When did the idea for Jack's Bay come on your radar screen and what differentiates the property from other golf related developments?

In 2014, I was invited by the Chairman of the company, Sir Franklyn Wilson, to assist in overseeing the “Eleuthera portfolio.” When I stood on the bluff overlooking Jack’s Bay and could see the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean on both sides of me, I was mesmerized, and it seems to have that same effect on everyone. This unique corner of the world truly moves those who visit.

In addition to the two golf courses, an existing 10-hole Tiger Woods and TGR Design golf course dubbed “The Playground,” and a forthcoming 18-hole Nicklaus Heritage™ course, Jack’s Bay has four miles of beautiful beaches, blue holes, hidden cave systems, a private meditation lake known as “Mystery Lake,” a sea turtle sanctuary, natural coral reefs, and the Lagoon pier with a future dry storage boat dock for vessels under 40 feet.

Visitors to Jack’s Bay also have incredible access to other outdoor pursuits such as deep-sea fishing, crabbing, lobstering, fly fishing, biking, hiking, freediving, a Sports Pavilion, and more.

These nature-based experiences and outdoor pursuits combined with the property’s rolling hills, topography, and 70-foot elevations, differentiates Jack’s Bay from other golf-focused developments. We will also maintain a low population density with roughly 50% safeguarded as open space to not disrupt the land and culture of South Eleuthera.

Orville A. T. (Tommy) Turnquest interview

What made you decide to secure the involvements of Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus respectively and how challenging was it doing so?

In 2016, we visited Blue Jack National in Houston and that led to us securing Tiger’s involvement. Jack Nicklaus was always personally interested in Eleuthera from a golfing and fishing perspective, and we had about three or four meetings with him and the Nicklaus Design team over the past eight years regarding Jack’s Bay.

However, we were never able to secure a deal until 2022 when we signed a design and branding agreement with Nicklaus, and that led to the start of the very first Nicklaus Heritage™ course in the world.

 

The 18-hole layout being created is under the new Heritage brand within the broader Nicklaus design umbrella. How and why did that specific arrangement come about?

In meeting with the team at Nicklaus, they indicated to us that Jack’s Bay offered all the attributes that would allow them to create a new top brand over their Signature Brand, that would last in perpetuity.

Are any made-for-TV golf events being planned for the site and what will be the maximum length / par for the layout?

We have not yet considered doing so but we are not ruling it out.

 

Who do you see being a member of Jack's Bay and will all memberships need approval from you?

Jack’s Bay will offer generational membership at different levels and each one will be approved on a case-by-case basis.

We are considering non-residential memberships but are committed to keeping our membership total to no more than 395 to maintain exclusivity. However, we envision all our real estate owners becoming members of the Jack’s Bay Club.

Customer / member service is routinely touted by many developments. Define the term and the approach that will be followed at Jack's Bay.

Given that Jack’s Bay will have a low population and membership density, we will be able to offer our visitors a more personalized and curated level of service with understated luxury and family fun at the forefront.

The Jack’s Bay team will also oversee both property and rental management for homeowners so that there is a consistent approach to hospitality.

We have assembled a world-class team of individuals and companies who have exceptional experience in the luxury lifestyle, golf, residential and resort space. Leading such a team has been a humbling but rewarding experience.

You can play any one course globally and joining you are three people whether alive now or dead. Where do you play and who are the three joining you for 18 holes?

While I am not a golfer myself, I’d say my dream trio would be Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, and Patrick Mahomes.

If I could make it a fivesome I’d add Jack Nicklaus and play at Jack’s Bay, of course.

If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally -- what would it be and why?

There is a reason why The Cradle Short Course at Pinehurst Golf Resort gets more play than some of the most famous golf courses in the world and that is because it is fun. Making the sport more fun and approachable is the one thing that I would change in golf unilaterally.

This trend is on full display at Jack’s Bay’s Tiger Woods and TGR Design “Playground” course where players are encouraged to go barefoot and get creative with the game. We want this course, as well as the Nicklaus Heritage course, to become a place where families can go to remember why they love the game.

 

Complete the sentence -- Tommy Turnquest is –

Passionate about development in the Bahamas, and the advancement of Bahamians.

When I was Minister of Tourism, I always thought if we established the Bahamas as an enjoyable, safe, and appealing place for locals, visitors would naturally flock there.

Jack’s Bay is headed up by deep-rooted Bahamians who understand and appreciate the attributes of the country, and it is our mandate to create a culturally rich and authentic residential community enjoyed for generations to come.

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For more info go to:

jacksbayclub.com

Orville A. T. (Tommy) Turnquest interview

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About M. James Ward

A GWAA and MGWA member, the 66-year-old from the USA has covered golf in all facets since 1980, notably the major championships and other high level events. He has played over 2,000 courses globally and has competed in USGA Championships.

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