Dominican Republic, the undisputed “it” destination for golf, is widely known as having the most magnificent golf courses in the Caribbean and Latin America. The country boasts a growing list of world-class golf courses designed by some of the game’s most acclaimed course architects, including Pete Dye, P.B. Dye, Jack Nicklaus, Robert Trent Jones Sr., Gary Player, Tom Fazio, Nick Price and Greg Norman. In fact, seven Dominican courses were featured in Golfweek Magazine’s Top 50 courses in the Caribbean and Mexico for 2016, including two in the Top 10, with Nicklaus’s masterpiece Punta Espada taking the number one spot – a position it has held every year since 2009, when it took over from Casa de Campo’s veteran layout, Teeth of the Dog. Dominican Republic is the second largest country in the Caribbean and also one of the most ecologically diverse nations in the world. Stunning vistas – including waves crashing over dramatic coastlines, coconut palm groves, lush sun-kissed fairways, gentle mountains and exotic nature – set the scene for uniquely designed and distinct golf courses. Golf champions and hobby players alike cannot resist playing the island’s challenging courses blessed with clear blue skies, azure seas and constant beautiful weather. The country has a wide variety of both inland and coastal courses, including 86 stunning sea-view holes and 39 oceanside holes – more than any comparable destination – making it a perfect spot for golf travelers of all experience levels.
Whether you are a professional golfer or a beginner, playing golf here is a unique experience. Most clubs in the country provide clinics and lessons with some of the sport’s most elite players and a variety of accompanying golf vacation packages. These packages cater to both the serious and recreational player, offering affordable club rentals and often including accommodations, meals and drinks, as well as green fees and cart rentals. The following golf guide includes descriptions of each of the 18 golf courses – recognized by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) – and nearly 350 holes of golf open for play to tourists in Dominican Republic, so you can begin planning your first – or next – visit now.
Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the large island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the Republic of Haiti, and is the second largest country in the Caribbean, comprising an area of 18,704 square miles (48,442 square kilometers). The country has a population of 10 million and enjoys sunny tropical weather all year. The average year-round temperatures are 78°F to 88°F (25°C to 31°C). The cooler season is November through April, while it is warmest from May through October. TIME: The local time zone is Eastern Caribbean Time (GMT-0400). Dominican Republic does not observe daylight savings time. CAPITAL CITY: Dominican Republic’s historic and sophisticated capital city, Santo Domingo, is the oldest city of the New World. Santo Domingo’s Colonial City was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1990. LANGUAGE: Spanish is the official language; however, the majority of employees in hotels and tourist destinations speak relatively good English, French, German and Italian, among other languages.
CURRENCY: The Dominican peso (RD$) is the official currency. GETTING HERE: Dominican Republic currently has eight international airports throughout the country, including: Las Américas International Airport (SDQ) in Santo Domingo, Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ), La Romana International Airport (LRM), Gregorio Luperón International Airport (POP) in Puerto Plata, El Cibao International Airport (STI) in Santiago, and El Catey International Airport (AZS) in Samaná. Maritime ports that regularly receive cruise ships in the country include: Santo Domingo Port (Don Diego and Sansouci terminals), Casa de Campo Port and Catalina Island in La Romana, Cap Cana Marina in Punta Cana, Samaná Bay facilities, and the country’s newest port, Amber Cove in Puerto Plata. DOCUMENTATION : For most visitors, a valid passport along with a US$10 Tourist Card (available online or at the airport) is required to enter the country. Any person, no matter their nationality, can enter with a Tourist Card if they are legal resident or if they have one of the following valid visas in their passport: United States, Canada, United Kingdom or Schengen. For more information: www.dgii.gov.do/tarjetaTuristica/en ELECTRICITY: Operates at 110 Volts/60 Hertz, the same as North America. If needed, adapter plugs are available at most hotels. TAXES : Dominican hotels and restaurants collect 28 percent of their published prices (18 percent sales tax + 10 percent service charges). MEDICAL PRECAUTIONS : Due to the strength of the Caribbean sun and the climatic conditions of the area, it is recommended that vacationers always wear sunscreen and mosquito repellent when outdoors and drink filtered water throughout the day to avoid dehydration. For emergencies, contact 9-1-1, our National Care System for Emergency and Safety. 911.gob.do DRINKING AGE : The legal drinking age in the country is 18 years old. HOTELS : For information about Dominican Republic luxury golf vacation villas and accommodations, visit www.360Luxury.com, and the Association of Hotels and Tourism www.asonahores.com.
Punta Cana Golf
Often referred to as the Golf Mecca of the Caribbean, the glittering east coast comprised of the Punta Cana, Bávaro and Cap Cana areas boasts 189 holes of golf all easily accessible from a wide range of luxe ocean-front resorts spread across some of the world’s top beaches. This enchanting region continues to be the premier destination for travelers who seek challenging upscale golf on the world’s most memorable courses. With Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) just minutes from the area’s courses, visiting golfers can tee off soon after landing and can even play golf on their departure day if on an afternoon flight
Punta Espada Golf Club, Nicklaus’s first signature course in Dominican Republic and now one of two in the region, opened in November 2006 and continues to make top golf course lists including Golfweek Magazine’s #1 course in the Caribbean and Latin America from 2009 to 2016. Nicklaus’s gem boasts eight holes playing either alongside or over the Caribbean Sea –including the stunning par-4 17th, which requires a teeshot carry over a bay– and a further five with ocean views. The Golden Bear superbly utilizes and incorporates the area’s bluffs, beaches, lagoons and tropical foliage into the course’s design. Punta Espada also has the distinction of hosting the Official PGA Tour’s Champions Tour – The Cap Cana Championship – in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Location: Cap Cana Holes: 18 Par: 72; Yardage: 7,396 Designer: Jack Nicklaus
La Cana Golf Club
The P.B. Dye-designed La Cana Golf Club was established in 2001 as an 18-hole course, with the new nine-hole Hacienda added in 2012. The Tortuga and Arrecife nines capture the stunning Caribbean scenery with 14 ocean-view holes and four memorable holes that play right on the beach. Arrecife’s nine culminates in two spectacular fairways that skirt the azure waters and greens where you feel to reach out and touch the sea. Hacienda is both challenging and beautiful in its design as it takes the golfer inland through dense, colorful tropical vegetation. La Cana’s wellguarded putting surfaces provide a stern test for even the lowest handicappers. The course’s par-3 holes are outstanding – the 200-yard third’s narrow green is bordered front and left by a lake; the fifth is La Cana’s first hole to play aside the beach; and the 239-yard 14th’s long, multi-tiered putting surface is hidden by tall dunes, reminiscent of an Irish links. La Cana is a course that’s perfect for golfers of all skill levels and greets all with a relaxing atmosphere complemented by wide, mostly flat fairways. For more information contact our concierge service info@360Luxury.com
Holes: 27 Arrecife: Par: 36; Yardage: 3,676 Hacienda: Par: 36; Yardage: 3,768 Tortuga: Par: 36; Yardage: 3,483 Designer: P.B. Dye
Corales Golf Club
This Tom Fazio creation, the second oceanfront course at Puntacana Resort & Club, opened in 2010. Featuring six oceanfront holes set on rocky cliffs next to the Caribbean Sea, Fazio’s breathtaking and distinctive design has quickly established as one of Dominican Republic’s must-play courses. Corales boasts one of golf’s most magnificent finishes; the last three holes, called the Devil’s Elbow, culminate in a striking, U-shaped 18th that plays around a narrow, bluff-edged bay. The course hosts the Web.com Tour’s first tournament in Dominican Republic – the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship – in June each year in a deal set to run until at least 2018. C
Location: Puntacana Resort & Club, Punta Cana Holes: 18 Par: 72; Yardage: 7,650 Designer: Tom Fazio More Information At info@360Luxury.com
CABEZA DE TORO GOLF CLUB Location: Catalonia Hotels & Resorts, Cabeza de Toro Holes: 9 Par: 35; Yardage: 2,622 Designer: Alberto Sola
The Alberto Sola-designed Cabeza de Toro Golf Club is one of two courses located within the Catalonia Bávaro Resort in Punta Cana and lies adjacent to the Caribe Golf Club course. The challenging ninehole executive course is surrounded by swaying palm trees, pristine waterways and incomparable views, pampering golfers with a putting green, daily golf lessons, driving range, rental equipment, and clubhouse with a pro shop and bar.
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CARIBE GOLF CLUB Location: Catalonia 360Luxury Vacation Villas , Cabeza de Toro Holes: 18 Par: 72; Yardage: 6,650 Designer: Alberto Sola & Jack Corrie
The Caribe Golf Club is also part of the Catalonia Bávaro Resort. Designed by Alberto Sola and Jack Corrie, the well-maintained course is open from October to June and features a large lake — impacting holes 5, 6 and 15 — five lagoons and numerous shade trees. The 6th hole will challenge any golfer with its island green flanked by bunkers and edged by rocks, particularly when the wind blows in off the nearby Atlantic Ocean. Designed for golfers of all skill levels, Catalonia Caribe has ample fairways and blends seamlessly into the landscape. The course also features a nice variation of dogleg holes and an interesting mix of uphill and downhill holes.
THE LAKES BARCELÓ GOLF COURSE Location: Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort, Bávaro Holes: 18 Par: 72; Yardage: 6,655 Designer: Juan Manuel Gordillo & P.B. Dye
The Lakes Barceló Golf Course opened in 1991 at the Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort as the Punta Cana area’s first course. The Juan Manuel Gordillo design was revamped by P.B. Dye in 2009 to boost its challenge while retaining its character. Set amidst 25 lakes within a lush mangrove forest, 122 bunkers punctuate its sculpted fairways and protect its manicured greens, some incorporating Dye’s trademark railroad ties.
COCOTAL GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB Location: Meliá Hotels & Resorts, Bávaro Holes: 27 Par: 72; Yardage: 7,585 Designer: José “Pepe” Gancedo. For more information contact our concierge service firstname.lastname@example.org
Opened in 2000, Cocotal Golf & Country Club’s three nine-hole courses – Hibiscus, Bouganvillea and Benjamina – possess memorable routings designed by José “Pepe” Gancedo. The six-time Spanish champion utilizes the natural terrain of an old coconut plantation for all 27 holes, including serene lakes and swaying palm trees, with Mother Nature providing the unrelenting wind. The imaginative Gancedo’s trademark features at Cocotal include strategically placed trees, bunkers, mounds and gently rolling terrain, with generous fairways. Four sets of tees on the Hibiscus and Bouganvillea nines (three tees on Benjamina) provide low-handicap golfers with a challenging layout, while beginners and intermediate players can continually improve and have fun in the player-friendly environment on a course that is easy to walk.
IBEROSTATE BÁVARO GOLF CLUB Location: Iberostar Hotels & Resorts, Bávaro Holes: 18 Par: 72; Yardage: 6,897 Designer: P.B. Dye
Golfers of all levels will delight at P.B. Dye’s Iberostate Bávaro Golf Club. The inland course resides within the 1,800-room family-friendly Iberostar complex and graces golfers with enchanting natural surroundings such as Dye’s signature sand bunkers, lakes and rock work, all relishing among lush landscape and elevated terrain. The uniquely designed course is characterized by its sharp undulations and holes that feature cross winds, promising to put the skills of any golfer to the test. Golfers will love being served out on the course by the beverage cart attendants – who wear uniforms complete with bow ties!
PUNTA BLANCA GOLF CLUB Location: Macao Holes: 18 Par: 72; Yardage: 7,174 Designer: Nick Price
The first design in the Caribbean by three-time major championship winner Nick Price, this fairly open inland course was inaugurated in 2007 and uses salt water-tolerant paspalum grass. Although within Macao’s Punta Blanca residential development, the course is built around natural wetlands and features wide fairways with large bunkers and several lakes. Holes are edged by thick tropical vegetation, ensuring it is a challenge for all abilities.
HARD ROCK GOLF CLUB AT CANA BAY Location: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Macao Holes: 18 Par: 72; Yardage: 7,253 Designer: Jack Nicklaus. For more information contact our concierge service info@360Luxury.com
The Nicklaus-designed golf course, which opened in March 2010, presents golfers with a challenge at each hole and is playable by golfers of any skill level. The first golf course to carry the iconic Hard Rock brand, and located just inland from the beachfront Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana, winds through beautiful native tropical vegetation that extends right up to the edge of the fairways, with no rough so that straight-hitting is at a premium. The course lives up to its rock ‘n’ roll branding; each hole is named after a famous rock song and putts roll pretty fast on the slick but small, sloping greens. There are also several blind shots that add to the challenge of this 7,253-yard layout.
The southeast coast of Dominican Republic combines picturesque beaches, luxurious hotels and resorts with a variety of exciting attractions and some of the most famous golf courses in the country. Golfers can play at world-class courses designed by the Dye family dynasty, most of which are located at the Casa de Campo Resort & Villas in La Romana. Once a sugarproducing region, La Romana still charms with beautiful Caribbean waters, exotic islands, the famous Chavón River valley and palm-tree covered national parks that provide scenic backgrounds for the area’s courses.
DYE FORE Location: Casa de Campo 360Luxury Vacation Rental Villas, La Romana Holes: 27 Par: 72; Yardage: 7,714 Designer: Pete Dye
Pete Dye completed his hat trick of perfection at Casa de Campo when this course opened in 2005. Nestled right in the breathtaking Chavón River valley – where scenes from Apocalypse Now were filmed – golfers enjoy cliff-side holes dropping 300 feet to the valley below. The course also boasts 13 holes overviewing the Caribbean Sea, as well as breathtaking views of Altos de Chavón, a replica of a 16th-century Mediterranean village, and the Dominican mountains, which challenge players with 40 mile-per-hour gusting winds.
TEETH OF THE DOG Location: Casa de Campo 360Luxury Vacation Rental Villas, La Romana Holes: 18 Par: 72; Yardage: 7,471 Designer: Pete Dye.
As Pete Dye’s first Casa de Campo creation, this course first put Dominican Republic on the world golf stage in 1971. Teeth of the Dog continues to amaze golfers with pristine playing conditions 45 years later. It consistently ranks as the best course in the Caribbean and as one of the top courses in the world, making it a must-play destination for both serious and recreational golfers. Seven of its 18 holes are directly on the ocean front – four on the front nine and three on the back – making it extra tough to play due to tenacious Caribbean winds. The course was updated in 2005, adding more length to select holes and upgrading greens and bunkers. Its championship black tees measure 7,471 yards now, an increase of nearly 600 yards.
Pete Dye designed this course only a few years after Casa de Campo’s Teeth of the Dog. It first greeted golfers in 1975 and has drawn comparisons to traditional British and Scottish links courses thanks to its firm fairways and open putting surfaces that invite golfers to play shots along the ground. This moderately hilly course has several lagoons and lakes that are popular with wading birds and features tall, dense bay and guinea jungle-grass rough, as well as numerous bunkers. Most of its holes dogleg either right or left over the undulating landscape, and five holes are directly surrounded by water for an extra challenge. The Links was completely overhauled in 2012 to make it as challenging as its sister courses.
Home to Dominican Republic’s culturally-rich capital city of Santo Domingo, the south coast offers golfers a wide array of world-class courses near a thriving metropolis. As a hotbed for golf, this region caters to those who appreciate modern sophistication amid a rich historic background thanks to its Colonial City – the oldest city of the New World. If you’re looking for a golfing escape close to an energetic city, this is where you’ll need to go.
Location: Santo Domingo Holes: 18 Par: 72; Yardage: 6,737 Designer: Jack Corrie
Located just 25 minutes outside of Santo Domingo, the Cayacoa Golf Club was built in 1989 but remains a well-kept secret that many golfers enjoy. The course is spread over a hilly terrain and features long water carries, lush vegetation and some terrific par 3s. Some of the course’s higher elevations offer stunning views of the Dominican landscape and although the course is relatively close to Santo Domingo, golfers can enjoy a quiet, tranquil atmosphere with refreshing drinks and snacks on the terrace, which overlooks the 18th hole.
Juan Dolio, located less than an hour east of Dominican Republic’s capital, Santo Domingo, is an idyllic golfing escape close to the energetic city where golfers can enjoy peaceful courses in lush, tropical settings in the nearby south coast beach town. It also lies a mere 40 minutes west of the golf courses and extensive leisure amenities of La Romana. Juan Dolio is well known for its restaurants and beaches, where the large expanse of shoreline allows for a relaxing day at the beach. Its golf facilities include a tree-lined design by South Africa’s nine-time major championship winner, Gary Player, now one of the world’s foremost course architects.
GUAVABERRY GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB Location: Juan Dolio Holes: 18 Par: 72; Yardage: 7,156 Designer: Gary Player. Contact our concierge service info@360LUXURY.COM
Guavaberry Golf & Country Club was designed by Gary Player and is located a convenient 30 minutes east of Santo Domingo’s international airport near the resort town of Juan Dolio. The course was opened in 2002 and borders a tropical forest and nature preserve. Although it quickly earned a reputation as a tough course, it is playable for golfers of all skill levels thanks to five sets of tees. It features plenty of unique design attributes, including a 15-foot waterfall cascading into a quarry pond on the signature par-3 13th, where two separate greens are rotated daily, and indigenous coral rock formations on holes 9 and 18.
The north coast of Dominican Republic is defined by ecotourism, active water-sport beaches, plenty of sunshine and typical Caribbean flair. Guests can play two courses designed by none other than Robert Trent Jones Sr. while enjoying the majestic region’s romantic landscape, including nearly 100 miles of pristine shoreline. Puerto Plata – the region’s hotspot – boasts luxurious hotels and resorts, as well as plenty of cultural and scenic highlights, including breathtaking views from Mount Isabel de Torres, America’s first settlement “La Isabela”, prehistoric amber, exotic waterfalls and more. Puerto Plata’s Gregorio Luperón International Airport (POP) makes it easy for vacationing golfers not only to fly to the region but also to maximize their time on the fairways. The airport is served by flights from many destinations across Europe, United States and Canada. Santiago, an hour to the south, also has scheduled flights from a number of major US cities.
PLAYA DORADA GOLF COURSE Location: Playa Dorada, Puerto Plata Holes: 18 Par: 72; Yardage: 6,765 Designer: Robert Trent Jones Sr
It’s no surprise that this beautiful course was designed by legendary golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr., with five sea-view holes, including one right next to the Atlantic Ocean. Opened in 1976 and located in the popular Playa Dorada Resort Complex in Puerto Plata, the relatively-flat course is known for its outstanding conditioning. Fairways are wide with little rough and greens are generous but with water hazards and strategically-placed bunkers to spice things up, making it a vacation resort course that can be enjoyed by all golfers yet one that still offers a challenge. The course is just 15 minutes from Puerto Plata airport, so golfers can play on the day they arrive or leave.
WHERE TO PLAY GOLF IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC. Contact our concierge service info@360Luxury.com and search for your luxurious vacation rental villa on our website www.360Luxury.com