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The Mid Ocean Club is one of Bermuda's crowned jewels. (Photo: The PGA of America)

Bermuda Shorts -- A look at what makes the island unique

Print News Coordinating Producer John Kim is in Bermuda for the 2008 PGA Grand Slam of Golf, and each day he will file Bermuda Shorts, which will examine some of the things that make this such a unique and interesting island.

By John Kim, Coordinating Producer

Bermuda Shorts is a series of quick looks at what makes Bermuda unique, vibrant and a perfect setting for The PGA Grand Slam of Golf.

* The ride from the Fairmont South Hampton Hotel to Mid Ocean Club is a good half-hour long along the narrow and winding roads of the island. But the ride is a good bit shorter with the banter and knowledge of a good driver. We were blessed on this Monday with the company of Frank Alban, a superb driver and raconteur extraordinaire.

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* Alban, who often shares his island wisdom on a local talk radio show, takes great pride in sharing that Bermuda boasts the highest GDP per capita in the world. By the look of the houses and estates that dot the landscape, he needs to cite no reference material.

* The extreme wealth of Bermuda and its residents has created one of the most surreal housing markets in the world. It will cost you well over a $1 million to own your own residence here, and that is probably for a small condominium. Houses start for closer to $6 million. And there is a local law that only allows for guest workers to buy from other guest workers -- thus ensuring a strong permanent presence for native Bermudans on the island.

* The term "expat" or "expatriate" is considered insulting as it used to refer to a foreigner who invaded another's land. Thus, in Bermuda, non-native people were called "Non-Bermudan Workers" and has now transitioned to a more politically correct "Guest Workers."

* Among the most notable of the "Guest Workers" is Hollywood icons Michael Douglas and his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, who have a home on the island. Douglas, who is a member of Mid Ocean Club, took part in Monday's Pro-Am.

* The premier of Bermuda, The Honorable Dr. Ewart F. Brown, sets a high standard for the island in its love of golf. He plays at least once per week and is actively promoting golf as both a key draw for tourism and a great benefit for the islands youth. He is proud of his 17 handicap, though adds with a laugh that it might be a few strokes higher if there's a wager to negotiate.

* The scenery may be outstanding, but there's also no shortage of hazards. Twelve of the 18 holes at Mid Ocean Club feature water coming into play. The course also boasts 160 bunkers.

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