It’s little wonder the Dominican Republic is regularly dubbed the golfing capital of Latin America and the Caribbean*. With 30 courses – of which 20 have been designed by golf architect legends such as Jack Nicklaus, Robert Trent Jones Sr, Gary Player and Tom Fazio – and most with ocean views, perfect greens and fairways; the country’s top-class golfing reputation is undeniable.
Every year, as well as playing host to several competitions for amateurs and professionals, the country receives more than 200,000 golfing tourists – generating an economic impact of almost 300 million euros.
Most visitors play on those courses located in the east and south-east of the country, in or near the main coastal resorts. So, not only is it easy to slot a round into a holiday itinerary; non-playing holiday companions have enough on-tap entertainment to keep them busy while time is being spent putting.
At the very top end there’s the luxury estates such as Casa de Campo, Cap Cana and Punta Cana Resort & Club. While the Punta Cana region also offers a good selection of notable courses that are part of more affordable all-inclusive resorts, such as the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana, Barceló Bávaro Palace and Catalonia Bávaro – with options available for non-resident players.
While the courses are open year-round, the best time to play is from December to March when the weather is a little cooler and less humid weather. There is a benefit to playing in the summer months though – as the green fees are considerably lower.
Golf course highlights:
FOR THE THRILLS – Teeth of the Dog: Casa de Campo Luxury Resort in La Romana
Frequently cited at the Caribbean’s must-play course, Teeth of Dog features seven ocean-hugging holes and derives its name from the jagged rocky outcrops that resemble canine teeth. It’s one of three distinct championship courses – all designed by golfing supremo Peter Dye – located within the 7,000-acre Casa de Campo luxury resort in La Romana; the others being Dye Fore and The Links. For more information: https://www.casadecampo.com.do/golf/golf-courses/teeth-of-the-dog/
FOR THE VIEWS – Punta Espada: Cap Cana Estate in Punta Cana
Having hosted the PGA Champions Tour, another favourite among top golfing echelons is Jack Nicklaus designed Punta Espada. Set in the luxurious high-end Cap Cana estate, the par-72 course boasts bluffs, beaches, lagoons and jungle foliage as backdrops. Many of its fairways are flanked by stretches of white sand with eight holes right by the sea – including the 17th, which requires players to hit their tee shot right over a bay. For more information: https://www.puntaespadagolf.com/course
FOR CELEBRITY SPOTTING – Corales and La Cana: Punta Cana Resort & Club
Popular with visiting celebrities and a regular host of the PGA Tour, the Punta Cana Resort & Club has two oceanfront courses – the 27-hole La Cana (comprising three nine-holes) and the newer 18-hole Corales. Designed by the acclaimed Tom Fazio, Corales incorporates cliffs, bays, coves, inland lakes and canyons. And, as a challenging three-hole finale, players have to navigate the oceanfront ‘Devil’s Elbow’. For more information: https://www.puntacana.com
FOR THE PRESTIGE – Playa Grande, Costa Verde
Regarded as the Dominican Republic’s most exclusive course, Playa Grande occupies a scenic spot on the northern Atlantic coast within a private, mainly residential community that also includes the bold, contemporary-styled Amanera hotel. Nicknamed the ‘Pebble Beach’ of the Caribbean (even though it has 10 ocean front holes – one more than the Californian great), the course was originally designed by Trent Jones Sr before being renovated by his son Rees Jones. It is surrounded by palm trees and spreads out along cliffs to the west of Playa Grande and Playa Precioso. For more information: https://www.playagrande.com
For more information regarding golfing opportunities: godominicanrepublic.com/golf