Starter: Pete Dye not only designed a masterpiece of a golf course on the southwestern corner of the Dominican Republic, but can be credited with starting the whole Casa de Campo residential community that sprung up after Teeth of the Dog's opening in 1974.
Play because ...: This world-ranked golf course combines the playability of a resort course with the stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. This is a golf course that could be played every day and it could never get old, regardless of the skill level. A required caddie will position shots that remove the temptation to hug the coastline more than necessary. Take a camera and be sure to snap plenty of pictures.
Takeaway: There are seven holes that run along the Caribbean Sea, leading Dye to cleverly quip upon completion of his work, “I designed 11 holes, and God created seven.” Do not pass up a chance to play this course. The Dye-Fore and Links courses are also part of the charming, high-end resort complex of Casa de Campo, 80 miles from the nation’s capital of Santo Domingo.
THE RATINGS [1 to 10 scale; 10 being the highest]
Food | Beverage: 8.5
Pro shop: 9.5
Pace of play: 8.0
THE COURSE | Scorecard
Best Par 3: No. 16 (198 | 189 | 179 | 137 | 130 | 124 yards).
This is one of three par-3 holes that run along the Caribbean Sea, and is also the most fun to play. From the tee box, commit to taking the shot directly over the water or playing safer and aiming to the left-hand portion of the green. Even after a sigh of relief that the golf ball is safely on land somewhere near the green, navigating the sloping back-to-front green will not be easy. Par is a fine score here.
Best Par 4: No. 15 (370 | 370 | 322 | 298 | 288 | 249 yards).
The best tee ball needs to be farther left than it would appear from the tee box. This leaves more room for entry to one of Pete Dye’s hand-fashioned peninsula greens that juts out along the breathtaking coastline that offers stunning views of the waves and water. The approach shot can be relatively short, but always against a prevailing breeze, so take at least one more club. This hole is evidence that golf holes don’t have to be 400-yard par 4s to be difficult. This one is a masterpiece.
Best Par 5: No. 3 (541 | 504 | 456 | 425 | 412 | 355 yards).
This hole bends slightly to the right and opens to the golfer’s first view of the Caribbean Sea. There is plenty of room for the first two shots, setting the stage for the pinpoint accuracy necessary on the short third shot to a small and elevated green. This postage stamp green is the smallest on the course, so an exact number is needed. Come up short or right, and you’ll be chipping 10 feet up a steep slope and hoping for the best. There is minimal difference between birdie and double bogey on this keeper.
Rater: Craig Smith