The Dominican Republic, known for its stunning beaches, luxury resorts and vibrant culture, is also a dream destination for golf lovers. This Caribbean paradise has seen a surge in golf popularity in recent years, thanks to its world-class courses and perfect weather. In recent years, it has become a renowned international golf destination and some of its most outstanding courses fall directly into the “top” category for golfers.
It was only in the early 2000s that the country began to gain momentum as a top-tier golf destination, so its relationship with golf is quite recent. The Dominican Republic has 23 golf courses, designed by some of the world's most famous golf course architects. More than half of the courses have a score higher than 8.0 according to Leading Courses users, so the offering is excellent! Geographically, almost all are located on the east side of the island, between La Romana and the hotel zone in Punta Cana.
What distinguishes the Dominican Republic as a golf destination is its tropical setting. The golf courses are surrounded by palm trees, lagoons and panoramic ocean views. One of the most impressive courses is "Teeth of the Dog" at Casa de Campo, designed by Pete Dye. This course is considered one of the best in the world and has been the venue for several international tournaments. The humidity is constant and it takes a few days to adjust, and the sun hits harder than anywhere else, so my advice is to try and play as soon as possible in the morning. Sunscreen and mosquito repellent are recommended!
Nearly half of the island's courses are concentrated in the tourist area of Punta Cana. Punta Cana is an international destination, with visitors and golfers from all over the world. Many of the resorts have their own courses and allow for alternating between beach and golf during your stay. As these are more holiday-oriented courses, you might think they are mediocre, but you will actually be surprised by the standard, in terms of both design, maintenance and attention to detail!
Being able to play from the garden of your home is a real hit: when staying at the Iberostar Hotel, they pick you up at reception and take you directly to the course.
Taking advantage of the still pronounced jet lag, I booked the first tee time at 7:10 a.m. and it was a success. Not only does it allow you to start the day on the course and observe the calm and omnipresent nature throughout the club, but it also takes advantage of the coolest time of the day.
From early morning, the caddie master team, maintenance staff and even the drinks and food Buggy that assisted us on the first fairway were more than operational, a great touch!
The course is generally very playable, with very wide fairways, making the tee-offs not too stressful. It's appreciated, as we are almost certainly on holiday and with rental clubs! The greens are generous in size, but defend themselves well with their slopes and speed. The bunkers are in good condition throughout the course.
Hole 3, with a cave acting as a bunker on the right of the green was a pleasant surprise, I'm sure you will take some pictures there!
Cocotal is a golf course that has three 9-hole courses, offering many options. In my case, I played Bougainvilla and Benjamina. They are fairly flat courses where the gardens of the surrounding houses actually serve as the rough of the course. Don't be surprised if you see people on scooters driving on the cart paths, as they are the residents of the houses themselves!
The fairways are very wide, allowing play almost all the time, except in the case of severe slice, which can happen. The Benjamina course is very nice, with a variety of holes and designs, and a successful maintenance offering more tropical views.
The Dominican Republic has become a world-class golf destination thanks to its natural beauty, exceptional golf courses, and offering of luxury accommodations. Whether you are a passionate golfer or simply want to enjoy a game in an idyllic setting, this Caribbean country has something to offer to all golf enthusiasts.
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