fbpx
dominican republic golf

Dye Fore and the Dog: Golf in the Dominican Republic is a dream

NCG’s Matt Chivers had the privilege of playing the best Dominican Republic golf resorts and the most beautiful spots of the Caribbean.

 

You don’t need me to tell you that the Dominican Republic is a luxurious and exotic holiday destination, blessed with countless beaches and sunshine.

But what might be lost on you is what a world-class golf destination this Caribbean paradise is. Maybe you already knew that, but I was certainly blown away by the passion and heritage that the country and its people have for the sport.

The trip I was treated to saw me play six different golf courses, each with their own quirks, characteristics and qualities. The Caribbean Sea was the standout feature of almost all of them. The Dominican coastline is evidently the feature the nation is most proud of, among many they can boast of, and this was clear to see at PGA Ocean’s 4 – the first course I tackled.

dominican republic golf

Dominican Republic Golf Resorts

PGA Ocean’s 4

This complex contains 27 holes – an 18-hole championship golf course and a shorter nine-hole course for beginners and people starting the game. PGA Ocean’s 4 was built and designed by Maverick Golf and it is the second PGA course developed by Grupo Pinero.

The beauty of this golf course lies in its proximity to the ocean and several parts of the tropical forest. Holes 7, 8, 16 and 17 border the ocean. On these parts of the golf course specifically, the sea breeze contributes to the challenge on a course that is largely wide and playable for a range of golf abilities.

It was the playability of PGA Ocean’s 4 that I enjoyed. It reminded me that you don’t just need long tees, punishing bunkers and lightning greens to be able to return home and say, “What a golf course!”

The common placement of lakes on the inland holes offered enough challenge itself. This was epitomised by the par-4 11th hole where the water shouldn’t come in to play off the tee, but it is a big problem when you reach your approach shot from the middle of the fairway.

The par 3s on holes 3 and 13 are challenging and perhaps make up for the frequent, forgiving landing zones found on a lot of holes. But as I’ve mentioned, the four holes where you can see the ocean make PGA Ocean’s 4 tick. Many holes meander around lakes and large bodies of water which not only make the course look great but provide a fun time at a place you won’t have difficulty remembering.

Opened in 2017
Course: Par 72
Price: $188 (April 2025: $188)
Airport proximity: 1-hour 20-minute drive from Puntacana airport

dominican republic golf

ALSO: Argentario Golf & Wellness Resort: The All-Natural Resort Hosting the 2025 Italian Open

Dye Fore

Dye Fore is a quite remarkable golf course for its quality but primarily for its location. The holes are perched over 300 feet above the Chavón River. The views of mountains, the marina and the Altos de Chavón, a recreated 16th-century village, are more than enough to whet the appetite of golfers who also want stunning scenery included in their day of sport.

Dye Fore is part of the Casa de Campo complex where you can also find Teeth of the Dog. The 18-hole course, made up of the Chavón and Marina nines, was unveiled in 2002 and in 2011, the Lakes nine was added.

The first nine holes are staggering, there aren’t other words I can use to describe them. The opening stretch of the Chavón nine takes you to the edge of a dramatic drop to the river, but the golf course was in superb condition too. The fairways were like carpets, the terrain was cleverly architected and each bump and mound gave you plenty to think about.

dominican republic golf

It is no secret that this golf course is carved into the top of a mountain as it runs parallel to rolling hills covered in forestry. The Chavon nine begins in a nice way with a par 5. The par-3 3rd hole is a sight to behold. A running trend of golf in the Dominican Republic is the beauty of the courses and the nation itself was most clear with these short holes.

The second par 4 on the Chavon nine brings you closest to the edge of the drop to the river. The Marina nine has a tough act to follow if you place this in the second portion of your round, but the quality doesn’t dwindle. Again, it begins with a par 5, perhaps persuading you into a false sense of security.

The 4th hole here, a downhill par 4, showcases the Marina perfectly. What Dye Fore does, as well as allows you to enjoy a superbly manicured, playable and challenging golf course, is it documents the coastline features and nature that make the Dominican Republic what it is.

Opened in 2005
Course: Par 72
Price
: Hotel guest: $325 Non-registered hotel guest: $375, Outside guest: $450
Airport proximity: 55-minute drive from Puntacana airport

dominican republic golf

ALSO: Beau Desert: Golf truly is ‘oh so Beau’ in the West Midlands

Teeth of the Dog

Before I teed off at Teeth of the Dog, the heavens opened, but the rain didn’t dampen my mood or excitement to play a course I’ve had in my dreams for many years. Pete Dye’s signature golf course is often ranked high in various lists of the world’s top 100 golf courses and No.1 in the Dominican Republic.

What struck me the most was the integration of the natural rock and coral of the coast. It was like playing golf on a movie set, by a shipwreck. The fairways blended perfectly with the coastline as they levitated above the crashing waves of the Caribbean Sea. The coastline holes are pure rugged perfection.

The first four holes are intimate and carefully crafted. The opening pair is quite straightforward. The lush fairways and mass of green, in general, were a pleasure, as the course allows you to roll around to a corner where its magic begins to show itself.

dominican republic golf

The par-3 5th hole is genuinely 80% air and water, and the tee box and the green represent the last 20%. There are no half-measures on this short hole, if you can call it that. You must cover the yardage to the green or you won’t see that ball again. “All bite, no bark,” the tagline on the Casa de Campo website, perfectly summarises many of the holes on this course that was opened in 1971.

This golf course is a dreamland, fantasy golf if you will. The 9th hole comes back up to the quaint clubhouse that overlooks the putting green and the 1st tee. Holes 14, 15, 16 and 17 are quite something. This is where the golf course blends with the natural landscape to its fullest potential. Thrown in with the evening setting, this was an experience I could previously only imagine.

The ocean and the crashing waves didn’t blind me. They didn’t hypnotise me into thinking a pretty painting could hide the actual standard of a golf course. But Dye has no issue in this department. The design asks you to thread your ball through these holes and encourages thought and strategy that goes beyond just whacking a driver away from the water.

Opened in 1971
Course: 72
Price:
Hotel guest: $350, Non-registered hotel guest: $400, Outside guest: $550
Airport proximity: 58-minute drive from Puntacana airport.

This is the maintenance schedule for the Casa de Campo complex:

dominican republic golf

La Cana

There are three nines at La Cana which is part of Puntacana Resort. I played the Tortuga and Arrecife nines which was the original course before the Hacienda nine opened at a later date.

La Cana represents a solid offering for visitors who want to enjoy the sunshine, incredible coastal views and a playable golf course. It doesn’t have the class of Punta Espada or Corales, but the course will leave you excited and satisfied and you certainly wouldn’t reject another day on the windswept turf.

P.B. Dye created the golf course, the first in the Caribbean to use paspalum grass that can be watered using seawater. There are 14 holes altogether with oceans views, including the 8th hole on the Arrecife nine, a par 4 that runs along the water with several sand traps for you to avoid when approaching the green.

dominican republic golf

ALSO: St Annes Old Links: Perfect for links golf lovers

The 9th hole on this nine brings you round to a natural end. This par 5 should always be played as the 18th. You can choose to go for the green in two shots or lay up, but either way, you will need to contend with the vertical row of five bunkers in the lead-up to the green.

Opened in 2001, Hacienda nine added in 2012
Course: Par 72
Price
: Each nine is $165
Airport proximity: 8-minute drive from Puntacana airport.

Punta Espada

Teeth of the Dog might be the household name of golf courses in the Dominican Republic, but many would argue that Punta Espada should take its place. This was a simply fantastic golf course.

Much of the front nine weaves around natural rock cliffs on this Jack Nicklaus-designed masterpiece. The course embraces the best elements of the island such as sand, rock and green grass. It is not only spectacular in design, but in quality and condition too.

A blustery day enhances the experience but at Punta Espada, and significantly at each course I played in the Dominican, there are a range of tee options that cater for every type of golfer. There might be tough spots on this course – the par-5 2nd is a long one curling around an inland lake for example, and the last two holes on the coast must be played carefully with their tightness – but off the right tee, the golf course can be enjoyed.

The par 5s are long at Punta Espada. Even the biggest hitters who tackle this course are forced to aim for different spots in the fairway to plot their way to the pin. But the par 3s are so fun. The 7th hole is short and a good birdie opportunity, but the 13th is long and arduous. The scenery with the rolling waves of the coast is staggering.

The par 5 before this, the 12th hole, is reachable in two but much like the 17th and 18th holes, you are asked to battle Earth’s elements. There is no protection from the wind on these holes, and the intimidating gaps between the tee box and land with clear blue water in between give you something else to think about.

My dream was to play Teeth of the Dog, but Punta Espada is probably better (but don’t tell anyone I said that). It is perfectly designed. There are so many bunkers that are not necessarily punishing, but a nagging hindrance. Like I say, for any golfer, this golf course is fun and thought-provoking and an absolute privilege to visit.

Opened in 2006
Course: Par 72
Price
: $495 (morning), $395 (afternoon)
Airport proximity: 18-minute drive from Puntacana airport.

Corales Golf Club

I was lucky enough to play Corales just days after Billy Horschel won the Corales Puntacana Championship, so the golf course was in the best condition possible. The fairways were lush and the greens were true. Much like Punta Espada and Teeth of the Dog, Corales integrates the Dominican Republic’s rugged coastline features to create an impressive golf course.

Corales is a vast and dramatic golf course that might look long and tough, but it is playable for sure. This Tom Fazio-designed course provides plenty of space off the tee, inspiring your confidence, but many traps lurk and the challenging greens make for a well-rounded test.

The par-5 7th hole brings you back to the Caribbean Sea after spending five holes inland. This is a reachable par 5 that sees bunkers strategically placed to make you think. The 8th is a likeable par 4 that is built between the incredible par-3 9th hole which is similar to the coastline par 3s of Punta Espada and Teeth of the Dog.

The golf course comes to its crescendo with the last three holes – the Devil’s Elbow. It begins with the vast par 4 16th which is the friendliest part of the Elbow. After, there is a par 3 that can be played from two different angles, which bring two portions of bunkers into play.

The 18th hole is one of the best in the Dominican Republic, if not the best. You play over a huge drop to the deep, blue waves to the fairway that looks thin from the tee, but opens out once you venture to this side of the hole. With the remnants of the tournament’s grandstands in play, it was a thrill to play this golf course with a touch of testing wind added to the mix.

The seven-hundred-acre area that encapsulates Corales Golf Course makes it perfect for hosting a PGA Tour event but so does the standard of each hole. The fairways were like carpets and the greens were true and fair.

Opened in 2010
Course: Par 72
Price
: $395
Airport proximity: 8-minute drive from Puntacana airport.

NOW READ: Costa Navarino Launches Aegean Messinia Pro-Am 2024

NOW READ: Quinta do Lago: A Resort With More Than Just Golf

Dominican Republic golf is a privilege! Tell NCG what you think on X!

Corales Golf Club and La Cana belong to the Puntacana Resort umbrella, while Teeth of the Dog and Dye Fore are both part of the Casa de Campo complex. PGA Ocean’s 4 and Punta Espada, the final two courses that completed my trip, are separate entities. You can follow links to each golf course here:

PGA Ocean’s 4

Dye Fore and Teeth of the Dog

Corales and La Cana

Punta Espada

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spoken to the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson, to name just a few.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

Latest Posts

short golf courses

Courses and Travel

What will it take for short courses to take off in Britain and why are we so dismissive of them?

By

Read full article about What will it take for short courses to take off in Britain and why are we so dismissive of them?
Rockliffe Hall

Courses and Travel

Rockliffe Hall: The hardest course in England

By

Read full article about Rockliffe Hall: The hardest course in England
Isle of Purbeck

Courses and Travel

Isle of Purbeck: The breathtaking course with a special backstory

By

Read full article about Isle of Purbeck: The breathtaking course with a special backstory
best hotels in dominican republic

Courses and Travel

Terrific Tortuga and wonderful Westin: Which Dominican Republic hotels should you stay in?

By

Read full article about Terrific Tortuga and wonderful Westin: Which Dominican Republic hotels should you stay in?
Stoneham Golf Club

Courses and Travel

Stoneham: This rare Willie Park heathland is a real treat

By

Read full article about Stoneham: This rare Willie Park heathland is a real treat
Leven Links

Courses and Travel

Leven Links: The first of its kind and one of the finest finishing holes in golf

By

Read full article about Leven Links: The first of its kind and one of the finest finishing holes in golf
Hallamshire Golf Club

Courses and Travel

Hallamshire: From city centre to national park

By

Read full article about Hallamshire: From city centre to national park
Belton Park

Courses and Travel

Belton Park: Golf in a National Trust estate

By

Read full article about Belton Park: Golf in a National Trust estate
Auchterarder golf course review

Courses and Travel

Auchterarder: Glorious golf in the heart of Scotland

By

Read full article about Auchterarder: Glorious golf in the heart of Scotland