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Caribbean travel article - feature about golf in the Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic golf is the best in the world... it's official

Written by Golf Travel Writer, Photographer and Consultant Tony Smart

What an accolade, being named the world’s best golf resort… not just once, but for the seventh year running. Casa de Campo, a magnificent resort in the Dominican Republic which boasts three tremendous Pete Dye designed golf courses amongst its many luxury facilities, was – yet again - voted the World's Leading Golf Resort 2013 in the prestigious World Travel Awards.

That's quite a success rate and this beautiful place, located on the south-eastern corner of the Caribbean island, deserves the awards. The golf is superb, starting with the legendary Teeth of the Dog course which hugs the Caribbean coastline with seven holes that play over or right beside the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea, holes that, according to Dye, were “created by God.”

 

Casa de Campo Teeth of the Dog 8th green
Casa de Campo Teeth of the Dog 8th hole
Casa de Campo Teeth of the Dog 4th, 5th, 6th

 

The 7,478 yard (back tees), par 72 course was opened for play in 1971 but was completely renovated by Dye in 2005 to meet the demands of modern golf equipment. The renovation was a stunning success and the Teeth of the Dog was ranked 46th best course in the world by GOLF Magazine in the US in 2013.

The layout has a lot of strategic fairway and greenside bunkering plus some trademark Dye waste bunkers. There's even one par three, the 201-yard 13th, where the green is an island completely surrounded by sand. Avenues of trees, including many palms, line most fairways and the greens are firm, fast and undulating. And then there's those spectacular seven holes “created by God” which begin at the par three 5th and continue through the par four 6th, par three 7th, and par four 8th before taking a break until the course returns to the Caribbean at the par four 15th, par three 16th and par four 17th.

On these seven holes the Caribbean is one vast water hazard that adds to the stunning beauty of the holes, but can almost act as a magnet for your golf ball if your shots are less than accurate. At least on these par fours you don't have to play over the Caribbean, just beside it, but on all the par threes your tee shot needs to carry almost entirely over the water to make the safety of the green. These are breathtaking holes, truly God created golf. The Teeth of the Dog is a great golf course and a variety of tees, shortening the course right down to 5,914 yards from the whites for the shorter hitters, means that golfers of all skill levels can play it and enjoy it.

 

Casa de Campo Links course 15th hole
Casa de Campo Teeth of the Dog 7th green
Casa de Campo Dye Fore 10th green & 11th hole

 

Some four years after opening Teeth of the Dog Dye created his second course at Casa de Campo, the Dye Links, a 7,003 yard (back tees) par 71 inland links course that still provides spectacular views of the Caribbean and the resort. This is the friendliest of the three courses, a regular resort course with fairways surrounded by residential villas. Sand in the form of fairway, greenside and waste bunkers is the main hazard here though two man-made lakes are a big problem for five holes on the back nine. As with all three courses fairways and greens are in great condition, adding to the enjoyment of your round and giving golfers no excuse for bad shots.

The resort had to wait almost 40 years before it got its third course, Dye Fore, in 2003 and here Pete Dye added a third nine holes, Dye Fore Lakes, in 2011. The main 18 holes consisting of the Dye Fore Marina and Dye Fore Chavon nines can stretch to 7,714 yards par 72 from the back tees though it can play as short as 6,070 yards from the whites. This 18 consists of vast sweeping fairways that plunge down into valleys from the tee before rising up to an elevated green on many holes.

As the names suggest the Marina nine has some spectacular views of the resort's marina in the distance whilst the Chavon nine plays along cliffs a hundred feet or more above the wide and majestic Chavon river which feeds down to the Caribbean. Nature is in all its glory here and many peregrine falcons hover overhead, wheeling around whilst they hunt for breakfast.

To complement these superb 63 holes of golf the resort also has a Jim McLean Golf School, created by the man who is consistently ranked in the top five golf teachers in the world. McLean himself visits Casa de Campo at least once a year to give lessons and the rest of the time the excellent teaching staff are headed by the Director of Instruction, Eric Lillibridge. So if your golf swing is ruining your holiday you can always get it looked at by the best in the business.

However golf isn't the only sport this wonderful resort has to offer. Casa de Campo's theme is 'The Sporting Life' and so it also has world class equestrian/polo, shooting, tennis and watersport facilities. With all that it has to offer it's not surprising that Casa de Campo has been a favoured resort for the global elite for more than 40 years. Hollywood stars, sports professionals, heads-of-state, financial wizards and top entertainers have all made this Caribbean paradise one of their regular holiday stops. Probably because Casa de Campo is the Caribbean's most complete resort, possibly the most complete resort in the world, with golf that is to Dye for!

[March 2014]

Read about Casa de Campo The Sporting Life in the CARIBBEAN HOTELS section >>


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