Golfing in the Dominican Republic
Golfing in the Dominican Republic: I was thinking I could write an article about golf here in The Dominican Republic and follow the same format as many other online articles do, but then I figured, what would be the point of that? Then I realized that this might be a far more interesting article written from the perspective from someone who has lived and played golf on the island for some 28 years. In that time, the number of golf courses has grown exponentially, as have some of the resorts and the general infrastructure within the country itself.
If you’re an avid golf enthusiast, The Dominican Republic has some absolutely amazing golf courses and different destinations for you to choose from. Two of the golf courses here are ranked in the top 100 golf courses in the world, Teeth of the Dog in Casa de Campo, La Romana, and Punta Espada in Cap Cana. Several of the other courses here rank regularly in Golf Week’s Magazine for the top 50 courses in the Caribbean and Mexico, like Corales (Punta Cana), Playa Grande (Rio San Juan), Dye Fore (La Romana), Iberostar (Bavaro), and so if it’s golf you’re after, you’ve come to the right place.
This article will provide you with several hints, tips and ideas to help you enjoy your golf experience here as well as providing you with all of the useful links to all of the major golf courses and useful associations.
Of course, playing golf on a regular basis can be costly and so it’s important that you are able to find the best deals and prices as you travel around the island. You can join the Federation of Dominican Golf, or Fedogolf, and for a subscription of 5,000 Dominican Pesos enjoy a selection of discounted prices at various golf courses throughout the country. Please hit the link and look for the translate button for those links that are only in Spanish.
Living in the north coast of The Dominican Republic as I do, options are a little more limited, as the majority of the golf courses are found on the east and south coast of The Dominican Republic. Playa Dorada Golf Club however is very conveniently located and close to Puerto Plata, Sosua and Cabarete. It’s a friendly and very social club with welcoming members and regular tournaments throughout the year. Joining the club is relatively straight forward with a residency card, failing that you can enjoy seasonal discounts through Fedogolf.
Santiago’s Las Aromas Golf Club is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes drive from the north coast and makes for a pleasant day out. It is reasonably priced, has some amazing holes with some great views, but bring your golf game as it’s not the easiest of courses, but regardless, still a fun course to play. They are planning to build a new connecting highway between Santiago and Puerto Plata which should reduce the commute considerably.
If you are based on the north coast and plan on enjoying some of the golf in either Punta Cana, Bavaro or La Romana, it’s generally a good idea to head down there for 2-3 days and plan your golf ahead of time. The drive down from the north coast to the south and east coast is between 4-6 hours. It’s a long way, but a very pleasant drive with views of the Atlantic along the north coast, and of the Caribbean Sea as you connect with the southern highway to La Romana and Punta Cana. It’s important to plan ahead regarding accommodation and T times to make sure you get some good prices. Heading down there out of peak season is also a good idea if you are on a budget, and there are some decent bed and breakfast places down there if you’re not looking for the all inclusive experience.
My personal favorite golf course in the Bavaro area is Iberostar Bavaro Golf Club. It’s a friendly place, reasonably priced and with great service and value for money. If you are a resident in The Dominican Republic, you can join the club for a very reasonable price and enjoy membership rates. For me this is a perfect resort course, beautiful, well manicured and a pleasure to play if you’re a mid handicapped player. The Lakes at Barcélo Bavaro Grand is also a quality course with preferred rates for residents at certain times. It’s always important that you book your T-time in advance and confirm the rate rather than just walk in to any of these courses. Again your Fedogolf card or even better your Dominican residency card or cedula would always come in handy to get a better rate, or to take advantage of one of the offers that might be available. Punta Blanca is another good course, friendly, generally good seasonal rates and well worth paying a visit.
At the time of writing this article, Punta Espada in Cap Cana is ranked the 35th best golf course in the world. I had the pleasure of playing it on 2 occasions, both times I got my butt kicked, the wind can be brutal so if you’re thinking of playing here, make sure you bring your A game or you’ll end up not getting the best bang for your buck and you’ll end up draining your supply of golf balls. Having said that, it’s a breathtakingly beautiful golf course and well worth a visit, even if you do get your butt kicked.
Other notable courses in the area are Punta Cana Resort and Club which is home to Corales and La Cana Golf courses. I have never played Corales but walked the course during a PGA tournament and is absolutely breathtaking. I can however vouch for La Cana golf course which is another incredibly beautiful course of the highest caliber, and if you choose to play any of these courses, be sure to take your camera.
Last but not least in the Bavaro area is Hard Rock Golf Club at Cana Bay which is another beautiful course, some tight holes so make sure your are hitting it straight, but nonetheless a wonderful golfing experience with some beautiful holes.
In order to get to the Punta Cana / Bavaro resorts from the north coast, you’ll need to pass by La Romana, which is home to the world famous Teeth of the Dog golf course, ranked T 32 golf course in the world at the time of writing this article. It’s also home to the cleverly named and challenging Dye Fore golf course, so named after the golf architect Pete Dye. I’ve played Teeth of the Dog only once but it was a very memorable experience as is the resort of Casa de Campo, vacation hotspot to the rich and famous and home to Altos de Chavón a beautiful artisan village with an amazing amphitheater. Always keep an eye out for upcoming concerts here, I saw Sting, Elton John and Juan Luis Guerra and have to say that as concert venues go, I’ve never been to anywhere quite like it.
Another really nice course in the La Romana area is Las Estancia Golf Club where you’ll be able to get a good game of golf at a reasonable price, however, as mentioned previously, always book ahead of time to guarantee your price and it’s always a good idea to ask around about the general condition of the courses as they undergo maintenance from time to time.
Making your way back along the highway towards Santo Domingo, there are a couple of other courses en route and worthy of note, one is Guavaberry Resort and Country Club, designed by Gary Player and a very enjoyable course to play as is The Los Marlins course at the Metro Golf and Country Club in Juan Dolio which has good accommodation also if you are looking to spend a night.
If you’ve made it this far I do hope you’ve found this article useful. There are even more golf courses on the island but I wrote this piece with a view to those of you that might be heading from the north coast to the south and east coast to enjoy a few days golfing. We at Dominican Property Guys are pretty well plugged in throughout The Dominican Republic, and so if you do have any questions about golf, or anything else for that matter, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Remember, we’re not just about finding you a new home, but a new way of life.