Dominican Republic Golf Reviews:
Story by: Isabelle Cernetic
Freelance Journalist & Frequent Contributor to Golf Magazine
Photography by: Ed Stone
Teeth Of The Dog
Inaugurated in 1971, this course is not only a pioneer built during the golfing wave that gripped the Dominican Republic. By the quality of its layout, Teeth Of The Dog continues for more than forty years to figure prominently in the ranking of the best courses in the Caribbean and even Latin America. An award that first welcomes the work of Pete Dye. "I made eleven holes and God created seven" loved to repeat the American architect, not without humor. The seven holes "divine" Teeth are of course its seven holes on Sea, including several spectacular par 3’s where "God" has replaced the grass fairways by the waves of the Caribbean Sea and the coastal rocks.
Better not be caught between the "jaws" of the Dog: one side of departures slightly steep, reinforced with stone walls, on the other rather small greens ringed with sand. The inter-often results in an improvised tennis on the reefs! Yet, except on windy days when the green touch of a sudden one takes the feat - especially on the 7th and 200 meters (218 yards) -, the difficulty lies elsewhere. When put in delicate game on tree-lined fairways and bunkers dotted with sand or grass, as in narrow finish to small elevated and sloping greens. Better, in any case, do not be too aggressive towards the dog. "There will be a time when it will bite you," retorted in a smile, Gilles Gagnon, director of Casa de Campo golf. To tame the beautiful animal, the best advice is still to be guided gently from one hole to another, controlling risks while taking full advantage of the setting. In short, live and let Dye.
|The Links, built a few years later and signed the same Pete Dye, appears much more relaxing. (Photo by Casa de Campo)
Flags neighbor Teeth Of The Dog, with which it shares the same clubhouse, The Links, built a few years later and signed the same Pete Dye, appears much more relaxing. Especially as the difficulties that we were entitled to expect, given the title of the course - in the case of large roughs tricky - are absent from the track. Pete Dye has nevertheless tried to find a "spirit" links with small farms and little elevated greens, fairly dense roughs, even if they have nothing to do with the tall grass of Scotland waving at the slightest breath. Inserted in the heart of the resort of Casa de Campo, with sufficiently distant buildings and well integrated into the landscape, this slightly hilly course offers some lovely sea views while being well protected from the wind. With his productions more open game than on the Teeth, the second obviously plays golf course map accessible to all. Yet his plans water into play on five holes of the back, his sharp doglegs, its close finished greens and the diabolical slopes in places reveal a plot much more technical than it appeared at first. Here lies also the intelligence of plotting Pete Dye: more affordable golfers means that the Teeth, including its reasonable length, The Links is also a very complementary courses, including the variety of playing situations, some conducive to risk taking, also has something to appeal to low handicaps.
Third embodiment of Pete Dye at Casa de Campo, the Dye Fore is easily accessible thanks to the shuttle provided by the resort. Located on the border of the field, contrehaut (against top) of a hill, the newest actually consists of three loops of nine holes and Chavon Marina which are the usual configuration 18 holes. If it will not be possible to discover Marina, renowned for its sea holes but closed due to work, the Chavon, he is waiting for you to start the game. The contrast is also greater than with the two 18-hole resort. Perched on a plateau overlooking the Chavon Valley, this 9 hole unrolls its fairways in a natural setting that has nothing to envy the coastal route. The plunging departures, open but eventful fairways, lined with bushes or ditches, small hilltop greens well protected installed at the edge of the cliff, spectacular views of the Chavon River, one hundred meters below, more than enough to please the eye as one of the game but the wind gusts that frequently exceed 60 km / h on this site very exposed and few trees, make it particularly difficult course, or even more…according to some…the Teeth Of The Dog, yet the reference in the field. It was later learned that several Apocalypse Now film scenes were shot on the spot. What a program!
Also consists of three loops of nine holes, the Cocotal Golf Course and Country Club on the north coast of Punta Cana is the favorite golf clients gigantic resort Melia Caribe Tropical. If the three routes carry a distinct name - Hibiscus, Bougainvillea and Benjamina - rather configuring 18 holes played on Hibiscus and Bougainvillea, the green of 9 of the first, located quite far from the clubhouse, being immediately followed by the first hole of the second. Signed Jose "Pepe" Gancedo, the course was built on land once occupied by coconut plantation.
Evidenced by the name of the course or the coconut painted red, white, blue and even gold, which act as starting balls. The former Spanish player, we gladly nicknamed "the Picasso of golf course architects," knew, as usual, make the most of local conditions. No big landslides but slight undulations around the greens, vast sandy areas, including hibiscus, few water hazards and a large place to regional vegetation - coconut, palm trees and hibiscus and bougainvillea course - giving the course, in places, the look of tropical garden. Accessible to all, with a great variety of game situations, the Cocotal is a fun journey, where you can let go of his shots as much as demonstrate skill around the greens.
The first Jack Nicklaus course in the Dominican Republic is primarily a real visual shock. Fairways and greens at the edge of a rocky coast, little vegetation, except rows of coconut trees, lined up as if on parade and heckled by the wind and shrubs scattered over vast areas while stony contours in thick and thin strokes. Not to mention the lagoons fringed sandy beaches like so many lost the edge of the fairways. And the omnipresent sea, on the side holes or straight ahead, that frames the blue green greens figure. A particularly scenic route, highly worked, but who manages the feat to inspire visitors with an intense communion with nature. All the talent Nicklaus! Excellent designer, blond Bear also knows what he's talking in golf. The American architect has designed fairways with irregular shapes - many dogleg - constantly bitten by sand or water, providing updates sometimes narrow and never short game bunkers. Except on the last hole, parallel to the coastline, where crosswind is responsible for the "correct" the paths to the roughs at the foot of the coconut trees. Difficult, certainly, with also quite hard greens and delicate playing, Punta Espada yet knows how to be kind to the less experienced players. No insurmountable bunker shots, pushed or flirtations with reefs. Even less water hazards that cannot be at least partly circumvented. Others, especially if they like the risk, can play to their heart's content to get the green via some spectacular crossings. But beware of sanctions! In a rather peaceful nature, Bear also knows how to defend when he attacks.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
CASA de CAMPO
Meliá Caribe Tropical Resort
Dominican Republic Golf Information
Click here for interesting facts about the Dominican Republic.
VIEW A SHORT VIDEO ON GOLFING THESE COURSES