Debbie Fairvalley is the Director of Sales for Sterling Brownell. She is an avid golfer and has a lot to say about Punta Cana below!
Move over Pebble Beach there are new “links” to be discovered and they hail from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
. I have just returned from one of THE BEST golf outings I have ever experienced! I took a quick (3 hour) flight direct from Atlanta to Punta Cana and within minutes of arrival at the airport I was on the tee of a challenging seaside course that rivals the view from the Monterey Penisula.
Casa de Campo’s “Teeth of the Dog” course has a stellar reputation of providing the best golf in the Caribbean and I am delighted to say there is now an excuse to venture out to the east coast and experience Punta Cana. There are currently 2 signature courses one by Jack Nicklaus called Punta Espada, in Cap Cana, and a P.B. Dye course called La Cana. These two alone are worth a long weekend, but the real excitement is what is coming down the road within the next few months (opening is set for March). Corales a Tom Fazio design will be the ultra chic and very exclusive country club of such notable celebrities as Oscar de la Renta, Julio Iglesias, and Mikhail Baryshnikov. I had the privilege of riding the newly sod pristine fairways of this very long (over 7,500 yards from the tips) spectacular course and can’t wait to return in April with clubs in hand! This course is private and you must be an invited member or a guest of the Tortuga Bay resort to play it. Needless to say, there won’t be long waits at the tee or suffering through 5 hour rounds as on some resort courses. Nine of the holes on Corales feature breathtaking views of the turquoise blue ocean. Couple the views with the challenging layout, long yardage, gusty Caribbean winds, white sand fairway bunkers and you have an exciting round of great golf!
Punta Espada is a “must play” immaculately groomed links course that offers eight seaside holes – all of which are memorable. Keeping your mind on your game will be tough when every hole is a “post card”. The course plays 7,396 from the tips but there are four sets of tees that make it fun and challenging even for the high handicapper.
Caddies are mandatory and offer great insight into shot placement and getting the right read on the greens. Giamberto, my caddy, cut at least 8 strokes off my game and I later found out he is quite the player himself. After our round we experienced the beautiful new clubhouse and found the amenities as elegant as any of our US private country clubs –right down to the spacious locker rooms.
P.B. Dye’s La Cana course is also his home. He has a lovely view of the 7th hole from his balcony. This course features long fairway bunkers and waste areas and an interesting contrast to the Nicklaus design. The par threes feature multi-tiered greens and present an island green as well. The fairways are wide and forgiving and the whole course feels more like “playing at the beach” (rather than the cliffside views from Punta Espada). Caddies are also available (not mandatory) but I thoroughly enjoyed the humor and gentility of John, my caddy. He was well worth the $20 + tip!
By the end of the year a new road system will allow a 30 minute drive to have you playing any of the 4 glorious courses of Casa de Campo in the morning and the great new tracks at Punta Cana in the afternoon. For a die hard 36 holer – this will be “heaven”…..
If you want a rich golf experience, an opportunity to feel as though you are playing your own private course, spectacular views, and accommodations that are “over the top” luxury then you MUST put Punta Cana on your radar for your next golf outing!
To learn more about golf in the Dominican or around the world, contact Debbie Fairvalley by clicking here. To learn more about Sterling Brownell, click here.