Rich in history, the Dominican Republic’s first tourist was Christopher Columbus in 1492. Since then, it has developed into a diverse and luxurious destination offering both Dominican and European flavours to more than one million U.S. visitors each year. At 10,000 feet, the Dominican Republic is home to the highest point in the Caribbean. It
also features some of the best golf courses and beaches in the world, the largest marina in the Caribbean and is a chosen escape for celebrities, couples and families.
With over $6.5 billion in new mega resort developments covering a combined 33,000 acres, the Dominican Republic’s East Coast has indelibly transformed into the quintessential destination for golf.
New championship golf courses, marinas and luxury resort accommodations being developed will enhance a dozen well-known and loved existing championship golf courses, igniting golf tourism and transforming the area into the new international ‘It’ destination for golf.
Luxury developments like Roco Ki and Cap Cana will feature phase one openings this year and many more golf courses, upscale hotel properties and marinas are planned over the next 12 years.
“Our vision to grow the East Coast into an upscale golfer’s paradise is unfolding with great care to reserve and showcase the area’s pristine beauty and eco-diversity,” said Minister of Tourism Felix Jimenez. “The Dominican Republic has invested $400 million in tourism infrastructure and plans to add $1 billion more in developments such as new highways, road signs and other enhancements by 2012. These efforts encourage visitors to experience the Domincan Republic with ease and savour our marvellous coastlines, lush green golf vistas and azure seas in year-round tropical weather.”
Among the already established golf courses there, the East Coast also reports an abundant amount of enhancements thoughtfully added to well-loved championship golf courses located at resorts such as Casa de Campo, Punta Cana Resort & Golf and more. Well-known designer courses in Punta Cana and La Romana boast phenomenal beauty and provide diverse golf that please an established following and attract many new loyal players.
New luxury communities like Roco Ki and Cap Cana, and also Costa Blanca near Juan Dolio, are attracting prestigious golf and hotel developments including Aman, Four Seasons, the Fairmont, Ritz Carlton and Westin luxury brand hotels. The East Coast area received 44 per cent of the record-breaking first quarter 2008 visitor arrivals at the Dominican Republic’s busiest airport, Punta Cana International Airport.
“The vision and commitment of the Ministry of Tourism in support of the East Coast’s new resort communities are drawing the top echelon of golf developers to the Dominican Republic,” said Dana Garmany, Chief Executive Officer of Troon Golf and Golf Inc.’s second most influential person in the golf industry. “The stunning golf facilities being developed along the East Coast compel the golf world to sit up and take notice. Troon Golf is honoured to work alongside such dazzling, distinctive properties,” he added.
Dominican Republic golfer’s can visit and play many courses in this quintessential golf destination:
Catalonia Cabeza de Toro Golf Club
Designed by Alberto Sola, the 27-hole course located at the Catalonia Bavaro Resort in Punta Cana is unique and challenging. www.hoteles-catalonia.com.
Cocotal Golf and Country Club
The 18-hole course, designed by six-time Spanish champion Jose Pepe Gancedo, uses the natural terrain of an old coconut plantation and includes serene lakes and palm trees in its landscape. In 2002, an additional nine-hole course opened. www.cocotalgolf.com.
Corales Golf Course
Opening in winter 2008, the Tom Fazio-designed second oceanfront golf course at Punta Cana Resort & Club will feature holes perched on cliffs along the north shore of the resort’s luxury enclave called Corales. Oscar de la Renta, Julio Iglesias and Mikhail Baryshnikov all have beachfront residences and visit often. Visit www.puntacana.com.
Dye Fore at Casa de Campo
The newest Pete Dye course to open at the luxurious Casa de Campo resort in La Romana features a 300-foot deep river gorge, Mediterranean village, mountains and the Caribbean Sea as backdrops. Although visually intimidating, the course is very playable. Visit www.casadecampo.com.do.
The Faldo Legacy Course at Roco Ki Golf Club
The Faldo Legacy Course will open this fall and promises to thrill golfers of every ability with its challenging cliffside and ocean-view holes and tropical mangroves. Troon Golf will manage this 18-hole golf facility. Visit www.rocoki.com.
Golf de Bavaro
Located at the Barcelo Bavaro Beach Resort in Punta Cana, this 18-hole course was designed by Juan Manuel Gordillo in 1991. Visit www.barcelo.com.
Greg Norman Signature Golf Course in Costa Blanca
Slated to open in 2010, this first Greg Norman designed golf course in the Dominican Republic is taking the “least disturbance” approach to preserve and protect the environment. The course will feature many vistas along the Caribbean Sea. Visit www.costablanca.com.do.
Guavaberry Golf & Country Club
This Gary Player designed course is located 20 minutes east of Santo Domingo’s airport near the resort town of Juan Dolio, Guavaberry Golf & Country Club opened in 2002 and has quickly become known worldwide as a challenging course. Visit www.guavaberrygolf.com.
La Cana Golf Course
Located at Punta Cana Resort & Club, every hole in this P.B. Dye-designed championship course captures the scenery of the Caribbean with 14 ocean-view and four oceanfront holes. In fact, the 18th hole has been said to resemble the infamous 18th hole at Pebble Beach. And, according to Dye, the 7th hole is golfer’s purgatory. Visit www.puntacana.com.
La Hacienda at Puntacana Resort & Club
The P.B. Dye course will be opening in the summer of 2008, making it the resort’s first inland course, La Hacienda. This challenging course will be irrigated with recycled water and will use the newest golf grass, Sea Island Supreme, a Paspalum hybrid. Visit www.puntacana.com.
Las Iguanas Golf Course at Cap Cana
Promising to be one of the most luxurious and largest resorts in the Caribbean, Cap Cana is just south of Punta Cana. Las Iguanas is Cap Cana’s second of three Jack Nicklaus Signature courses. This facility will be managed by Troon Golf and will open in late 2009. Visit www.capcana.com.
Links at Casa de Campo
The second course designed by Pete Dye at Casa de Campo in La Romana opened in 1975 and has been compared to traditional British and Scottish link courses. There are five holes where water makes this course an exceptional challenge. Visit www.casadecampo.com.do.
Los Marlins Golf Course
Designed by international award-winning architect Charles Ankrom and located in Juan Dolio, the championship 18-hole course is located at the Metro Country Club. Numerous artistic sand traps, lakes and mounds play well with the surrounding beauty of the Caribbean. Visit www.groupmetro.com.
Punta Blanca at Punta Cana Beach Resort
With a grand opening in May 2007, the new five-star Majestic Colonial Punta Cana Beach Resort features a casino, spa and 18-hole golf course designed by Nick Price. Visit www.punta-blanca.com.
Punta Espada Golf Course at Cap Cana
This was the first golf course to open at luxurious Cap Cana and is the first Jack Nicklaus Signature course in the Dominican Republic. World renowned golf course management company Troon Golf runs the 7,382 yard-long 18-hole course. Visit www.capcana.com.
Teeth of the Dog at Casa de Campo
Consistently ranked by golf experts as one of the top 50 courses in the world, Teeth of the Dog is located in La Romana and features several signature Dye formations, seven oceanfront holes and is considered extra challenging due to tricky sea breezes. The course opened in 1971 and recently had its teeth sharpened and lengthened. Visit www.casadecampo.com.do.
White Sands Golf Course at White Sands Golf & Beach Resort
Six-time Spanish champion Jose “Pepe” Gancedo designed this nine-hole course located in the heart of Bavaro. Nine additional holes opened in August of 2007. Visit www.whitesands.com.do.
For more information, visit the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism’s official Web site at: www.godominicanrepublic.com or call 0207 242 7778.