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GOLF IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC


All initial reviews are by the same low handicap amateur golfer (Bo), just like many of our readers.
This approach was adopted so we would have "real world" benchmarks and consistent reviews of every major golf course in the Dominican Republic.

Catalonia Caribe Golf Club


Course Information  More Reviews
 
Name: Bo (DR1)  Handicap: 12  Review Date: August 25th 2007  Tee Time: 10:30
General:
Fairways are surrounded by a 1st cut of rough from which the ball is easily played. Beyond the 1st cut, the rough is mowed down between fairways and you may be able to find and play your ball.

As this is a young course (9 months) some areas still have blue stakes for a free drop to protect new trees and flower beds. It will be a lot tougher when those stakes are removed.

Nice driving range and putting green next to the 1st tee.
Course layout:
The course has a nice variation in style of holes with doglegs and up- and down hill fairways. Don’t be discouraged by the narrow fairways of the first 3 holes. The course opens up for the driver later on.

There are no cart paths so you drive right onto the course and next to the tees. This may wear the course when more people play.
Maintenance:
Greens and tees are in great shape but tees are very small. It may be tough to keep them this nice when the course gets populated and divots start to take their toll. Fairways have a few patches of brown grass but that may be the sign of the season as I've seen it elsewhere. Sand in bunkers was compact but not packed.
Service:
Professional and attentive staff in pro shop, reception and caddy shack. I didn't use the club house changing facilities. There were no caddies available but there were people helping you fit your bag on the cart.
Drinking water is only available at the club house so stock up before you head out.
Price:
US$75 / 18 holes in the off season. Cart and range balls included. Residents can play 18 holes for US$25. Catalonia Caribe Golf Club joins the FEDO golf program shortly. Pro/regular rental clubs available at US$20/15.
19th hole:
Terrace bar with a view to the 9th and 18th green. No menu, only a few snacks available.
Any type of beer is US$3.
Value for money rating:
Catalonia Caribe Golf Club was a pleasant surprise. It was challenging and the greens were really nice and at a very fair price it was surprising that I was the only golfer there on a Saturday morning. Only two more golfers had started on the front 9 when I finished. It was tough to find the course though as no signs on the main roads in the area advertised the golf course or showed you how to get there.

There are plans of adding more tees, both back and front and that will only add to the experience that you're able to get the challenge you're looking for.
Hole Descriptions & Photos:
Click a camera icon to see larger images and descriptions.
1st hole, par 4, 364 yds:
A straight par 4 with a narrow fairway will test your accuracy from the beginning. Watch out for cars on the road. With a big bunker on the left of the fairway this hole will make the players aim between some palm trees. A wide green protected by sand on the left awaits your second shot.
2nd hole, par 5, 494 yds:
Very tall trees define the margins of the narrow fairway, also defended by a bunker on the right. The distant green is situated between two more bunkers and behind a palm tree.
3rd hole, par 4, 342 yds:
Probably the hardest hole of the front 9. An uphill tee shot that usually leaves the player without a clear vision of the green. A hidden lake on the right makes the green entrance a little more complicated than what the golfer sees. The palm tree at the top of the hill is a great reference to play this hole.
4th hole, par 4, 352 yds:
A little cut to be played from the tee to avoid the two bunkers on the left is enough to turn this noble par 4 into a pretty easy hole. The big trees on the right rough may become big trouble for those missing the fairway on that side. Sand to the left of the green.
5th hole, par 4, 297 yds:
A long iron from the tee might be the best option to face this tricky par 4 that goes along the big lake. The dog-leg left situates the green in the middle of two lakes that will require precision from the fairway if you don't want your ball to get wet. The sloping green makes this one of the most demanding holes on the course.
6th hole, par 3, 117 yds:
Not many options for golfers who have to hit the island green of this nice Par 3. The bunkers front and back may become your allies when stopping the ball from rolling into the water.
7th hole, par 5, 490 yds:
The tee shot will be the key of this par 5. Placing the ball between the lake on the right and out of bounds on the left will turn the hole into a very good chance of success. When reaching the green, club selection is everything to hit this shallow sloping green.
8th hole, par 3, 194 yds:
The hardest par 3 of the course requires a long tee shot to a pretty wide open green. The main challenge is to hit the ball straight enough to avoid the trees and the bunkers situated on each side.
9th hole, par 4, 342 yds:
The bunker on the right and the trees on the fairway may complicate this straight par 4. The narrow entrance to a big green makes golfers concentrate on the approach to the green which is guarded by sand left and right.
10th hole, par 4, 384 yds:
Not much room to hit this drive. Again watch out for cars on the road. Palm trees on the left and the out of bounds and large fairway bunker on the right may cause some trouble to those who use the wood of the tee. The long and narrow green is protected by sand left and right.
11th hole, par 5, 557 yds:
This dog-leg left par 5 can be really long if the wind is in our face. The combination of long and accurate shots is the only way to manage this hole. The elevated unprotected green can not be underestimated because of its big breaks.
12th hole, par 4, 320 yds:
Probably the easiest hole of the course. A short par 4 where carrying the big bunker on the right is the only big challenge. If the pin is hidden all the way back on the green, the approach shot becomes a little more demanding. There are deep bunkers front right and back left.
13th hole, par 4, 392 yds:
The hardest par 4 on the course does not require anything but power. An uphill approach usually against the wind, a two tiered green protected by two big bunkers on the left and out of bounds on the right makes this a very tough hole.
14th hole, par 3, 180 yds:
The beauty of this par 3 is enough to enjoy this hole no matter what the score may be. It’s a down hill shot to try to reach a very wide green defended by sand front right. Club selection is again very important.
15th hole, par 5, 505 yds:
The easiest of the par 5's is played alongside the big lake. The hill on the left may help the golfer to feel safer when hitting the tee shot. After that, try to avoid the huge bunker to the left of the green.
16th hole, par 4, 343 yds:
A blind tee shot with the green in the background. Knowing where the fairway is can make a difference when teeing off. If the pin is hidden behind the bunker on the left, playing to the right of the green might not be a bad idea.
17th hole, par 3, 174 yds:
This last par 3 has a clearly better strategy: hit the ball to the right to avoid the bunker on the left and if in doubt, always take the longer club to leave yourself with an uphill putt.
18th hole, par 4, 364 yds:
The split fairway gives the golfer many options from the tee. You can either play a little shorter towards the lake or try to nail it more towards the right side of the fairway. In any case, the second shot will not be too easy. Like on the previous hole, play long and to the right to avoid the lake and the green side bunkers.

Cocotal Golf & Country Club


 

Course Information  More Reviews
 
Name: Bo (DR1)  Handicap: 12  Review Date: December 7th 2006  Tee Time: 11:40
General:
Fairways are surrounded by a 1st cut of rough from which the ball is easily played. If the ball goes beyond the 1st cut of rough there's compact sand around the base of the many trees lining almost every fairway. Finding your ball should be easy but your shot to the green may well be blocked.

Hibiscus 9 + Bougainvillea 9 played from the white tee.
Course also has Benjamina 9 for a total of 27 holes.
Course layout:
Designed by Pepe Gancedo. Not much change in elevation but that was expected from the landscape the course is set in. You get the feeling you're in a residential area playing from back yard to back yard. Lot of vegetation on and around this golf course.

The course has minimal variation in style of holes.
Maintenance:
Bermuda grass all over. Tees and fairways are in good shape however the rain from the night before had not yet drained from the fairways and were still visible in small puddles on all fairways, leading to carts leaving tracks. Greens look good but putting is just a guessing game. It was impossible to get a good read and putts broke on their own free will.
Service:
Professional and attentive staff in pro shop, reception and caddy shack. We didn't use the club house changing facilities. No watering holes on this course. However the service cart was well stocked and water was US$1 a bottle. I met the service cart twice on my round.
Price:
US$112 / 18 holes and a cart. No caddie seemed available nor was I offered one. Range balls?
19th hole:
Nice terrace and bar with A/C on the 2nd floor. I was the only one there. A can of Presidente beer was US$3. View from the terrace: the driving range, if you bothered to look through the vegetation.
Value for money rating:
It shows it's a resort course. My playing partners felt like cattle in the slaughter house arriving by bus from the hotel, through the pro shop for the stamp, downstairs to the caddy shack (more like a cart garage), jump into a cart, get your scorecard and the order of which course you where playing today and off you go. For US$112 you can get much better golf within a short driving distance.
It is way too much.
Hole Descriptions & Photos:
Click a camera icon to see larger images and descriptions.
1st hole, par 4, 316 yds:
A straight away hole with no sand to get your round started. Two palm trees short of the green is the only obstacle here.
2nd hole, par 3, 141 yds:
A lake is in play along the right side and must be carried. Bunkers located left of and behind the green.
3rd hole, par 5, 498 yds:
Wide landing areas with no fairway bunkers to threaten either your drive or 2nd shot. A couple of trees form a gate to go over or through to get to the green which is guarded by bunkers left and right.
4th hole, par 4, 343 yds:
Long hitters should be able to carry the palm tree in the fairway while shorter hitters should place their tee shot to the right of it. One green side bunker short right will not catch any straight run up approaches.
5th hole, par 3, 167 yds:
A flat straight hole with bunkers left and back of the green.
6th hole, par 4, 377 yds:
No obstacles here, just straight ahead to the green which is guarded by bunkers short left and short right.
7th hole, par 5, 475 yds:
Not much to get in the way of the drive. Lay ups should stay left of trees and bunkers lining the right side of the fairway. The green is protected by bunkers front right and back.
8th hole, par 4, 392 yds:
Dog-leg right. Long hitters can carry the trees on the corner while safe play is playing into the fairway right on the corner short of the fairway bunker on the left side. No green side bunkers on this hole.
9th hole, par 4, 284 yds:
Lots of sand guarding the green so know your distance or be very accurate if you're a long hitter. Short hitters have ample space to land their drive.
10th hole, par 5, 556 yds:
A straight hole with only two trees in the right side of the fairway to mess with your drive. No green side bunkers here but some sand around the base of the trees to the left and some small mounds surrounding the green.
11th hole, par 4, 401 yds:
Slight dog-leg left. No gain in trying to cut the corner. It's too far away and heavily wooded. You're much better off with playing safe into the fairway. No sand around this green.
12th hole, par 4, 372 yds:
Long hitter should be able to carry the tree in the middle of the fairway. There's plenty of room for landing your drive behind it. Bunker front left of the green which slopes from back to front.
13th hole, par 3, 173 yds:
A large shallow green guarded by a large bunker on the left and a small bunker on the right.
14th hole, par 4, 418 yds:
Stay on the left side of the fairway as a sink hole full of vegetation will block your view (and low shots) to the green which has bunkers left and right.
15th hole, par 4, 425 yds:
Not only is it long, it's also slightly uphill. However no sand will get in your way. Just make sure you clear the trees in front of the tee and you'll be okay.
16th hole, par 3, 173 yds:
Water, sand and trees on the left so if you have to miss this narrow green, go right.
17th hole, par 5, 503 yds:
Slight dog leg right. Longer hitters should resist the temptation of going over the trees on the corner on the right. The gain is minimal and a lake in front of the green will test the length of your 2nd shot. Play safe to the left side and lay up in ample space with your 2nd shot. There's sand right of and behind the green.
18th hole, par 4, 434 yds:
The drive goes over water and hopefully over the palm tree in the middle of the fairway. Then you'll have a somewhat free shot into a green just guarded by rough as a few single trees have found their way into the fairway.

Dye Fore, Casa de Campo


Course Information  More Reviews
 

Name: Bo (DR1)  Handicap: 12  Review Date: April 3rd 2007  Tee Time: 09:40
General:
Fairways are surrounded by a 1st cut of rough from which the ball is easily played. If the ball goes beyond the 1st cut of rough there's mostly only guinea grass left and finding a ball there is almost impossible much less playing it from there if you should find it. The Chavon River is formidable hazard and has the lives of several balls on the conscience.

Tourist season will determine how crowded the course is.

No practicing facilities available yet but they are under construction. Practicing can be done at the driving range by Teeth of the Dog and a free bus will take you to Dye Fore.
Course layout:
A Pete Dye design. Large changes in elevation makes for some blind shots and the sloping fairways may not give you a preferred stance.

Not many trees to block the view (or your ball) and it's a question of temperament if you miss trees or not.

You can get away with a bad drive. Fairways are very generous. The greens are large but many have slopes, bumps and several tiers. Putts roll true. Bunkers are uniform throughout the course and the density of the sand isn't too loose or too hard, just right.
Maintenance:
Paspalum grass all over gives the course a very lush green color even if it's late in the season. It's very well manicured considering how many guests pass through the gate. However the end of the tourist season is coming and the course needs a deserved break. I've seen it in better condition before today.
Service:
Professional and attentive staff in pro shop, reception and caddy shack. Nice, clean bathrooms. We didn't use the club house changing facilities. The water supplied from the canteens on the course tasted like water out of a swimming pool. Sales carts roam the grounds so you can buy something that tastes better but it will cost you.
Price:
Not a huge discount for those that hold a FEDO-golf card. They even cut the annual free round of golf. Caddie tip as advised by the pro shop staff, US$25 plus tip. We thought that was way too much for the service he delivered (or should I say didn't deliver: He didn't clean the ball, repair ball makes, replace divots, rake bunkers and we caught him several times reading the putt as wrong as the opposite side of the hole. I'm not taking a caddie next time). Come as a tourist on a golf package and you'll save $$$.
19th hole:
Nice terrace bar in beautiful surroundings with the view over the Chavon River. If you're hungry go to any of the restaurants in Altos de Chavon. There wasn't much of a selection in the bar.
Again; come as a tourist on an all-inclusive package and it will seem the reasonable thing to do.
Value for money rating:

- if you come in from the street
- if you're on a golf package

Dye Fore is as well kept a golf course as any. It's expensive if you're a green fee golfer coming for one round only, just as expensive as Teeth of the Dog. It has stunning views over the Chavon River, Casa de Campo Marina and Altos de Chavon and even if you're not house hunting, the villas built along the course are worth a sneak peek.
Hole Descriptions & Photos:
Click a camera icon to see larger images and descriptions.
1st hole, par 5, 430 yds:
Slight dogleg left. A nice looking opening hole with a wide fairway and only bunkers to the right. There are deep bunkers short right of the green so miss left or long if you have to miss.
2nd hole, par 4, 335 yds:
The tee shot should avoid the tree on the left and the bunker on the right. If you miss the green on the approach make sure it's to the left or short as steep slopes and deep bunkers guard the left and back of the green.
3rd hole, par 3, 160 yds:
A huge green is there to hold your shot. So are bunkers down a slope if you miss to the right.
4th hole, par 4, 385 yds:
Slight dogleg left along the Chavon River. Don't let the spectacular view to the ocean and Casa de Campo Marina break your concentration. There are bunkers on the right side of the wide fairway and the downhill approach to the green should rather be too short than too long. Bunkers left and right of the green.
5th hole, par 4, 365 yds:
Somewhat like the 4th but there are large bunkers with tall front lips in the right center of the fairway. There's even a little room to miss the green left on this one.
6th hole, par 3, 135 yds:
Almost a links-like look to this hole with the deep pot bunker with a build up front wall in front of the shallow green. Two small bunkers back right of the green.
7th hole, par 4, 320 yds:
A huge waste bunker with small horse shoe shaped islands of rough take up the entire right side of the fairway. The green is elevated and guarded by large bunkers front left and back right.
8th hole, par 5, 495 yds:
The wide fairway will narrow in as you get closer to the green. However there's still ample space for your lay up. The green is narrow and protected by tall mounds and numerous bunkers all around.
9th hole, par 4, 350 yds:
Slight dogleg right. There's a large waste bunker down the right side of the fairway so keep it left and get the best angle to the green. Mounds and bunkers to the left of the green and a slope down to the right.
10th hole, par 5, 500 yds:
A somewhat blind driving hole. The fairway is wide but slopes from left to right and a large waste bunker will catch balls rolling off the fairway to the right. That's good news otherwise it would have rolled into the Chavon river. Be careful and make sure you add enough length to your lay up as the fairway narrows in on the cliffs above the Chavon River. The river is of more concern on the approach than the few bunkers to the short right.
11th hole, par 4, 400 yds:
The drive has to carry another ravine while another waste bunker may catch any drives going right before they roll into the river. A large bunker guards the left side while 4 smaller bunkers protects the front right.
12th hole, par 3, 170 yds:
Short is the best place to be if you miss this green as bunkers are ready to catch the errant shot left and right. Especially slicers will feel the presence of the Chavon River to the right but also the steep drop in front of the tee may disturb someone's concentration.
13th hole, par 4, 340 yds:
Another wide fairway should take the three fairway bunkers on the right out of play. Your second shot can easily run up to the green but there are bunkers and mounds left and behind the green.
14th hole, par 4, 330 yds:
Now the Chavon River is on the left and there's a fantastic view of Altos de Chavon on the remaining holes. Two large high lipped fairway bunkers are located in the right center of the fairway. Two small bunkers guard the front left and right of the green.
15th hole, par 3, 175 yds:
Like the 12th but opposite direction and a longer carry is needed to clear the ravine. Numerous small pot bunkers along the river edge and to the right and back of the green.
16th hole, par 4, 375 yds:
You can't see the green from the tee but there's enough fairway to get started with before you look for the green. A good distance before and all the way to the green and around it numerous bunkers will make it necessary to fly the ball onto the green.
17th hole, par 4, 275 yds:
Uphill to a large green with only one large bunker to the front left of the green makes this the easiest hole.
18th hole, par 5, 530 yds:
The widest fairway I ever saw and no bunkers or other obstacles until you get to the green calls for you to grip it and rip it. The drive goes a little uphill which may take the chance to reach the green in two away despite the predominant tail wind. When (if) you lay up use the right side of the fairway as it slopes to the left towards an area of guinea grass. From the right side of the fairway it's slightly uphill to the green which is guarded by a bunker to the left, one in front and one to the right.