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CARIBBEAN


DOMINIC AN REPUBLIC I


t’s got the white-sand beaches, mountainous backdrops, colonial architecture and, of course, excellent rum cocktails — there’s plenty of reasons


to visit the Dominican Republic, not least the 20 golf courses, which make it the best and most varied golf destination in the region. Forming the eastern half of the island of Hispaniola,


the Dominican Republic’s heritage is Spanish, but substantial investment from the US means hospitality is now primarily aimed at the American market — with golfers a key component. Flight links from the UK are excellent, with the two


big golfing centres, Punta Cana and Casa da Campo (Romana), each having airports close to the action. Flight time is nine hours, and, handily, no visas or vaccinations are needed by British travellers. It’s perfect for sun, sea, families, casinos and golf,


although its large resorts, which many visitors seldom leave, are more international than Caribbean. The two-hotel, 1,900-room Barceló Bávaro Grand Resort (barcelobavarogolf.net) at Punta Cana has


Barceló Bávaro


its own course, The Lakes, with several more tracks including Corales, a Tom Fazio layout, and Pete Dye’s superb La Cana nearby. The gentle 6,655-yard Lakes course (green fees from £116), recently refurbished by PB Dye, is suitable for players of all standards, with terrific practice facilities and helpful teaching pros. Next to the svelte Amanera resort, Playa Grande


(playagrande.com, green fees from £242) is a classic clifop affair designed by Robert Trent Jones, revamped by his son Rees Jones. Reminiscent of Pebble Beach, 10 of the 18 holes play over or around the crashing surf below. At 7,085 immaculate yards with generous fairways, it’s challenging from the back tees but still enjoyable for mid-handicappers. Casa de Campo (casadecampo.com.do) has three Pete


Dye courses, with his Teeth of the Dog (green fees from £145) regularly voted the best 18 holes in the Caribbean. Chiselled out of the coral, the back tees are strictly for scratch players, with even the front ones challenging. The 27 holes of Dye Fore are scenic, if tough, while the inland Links provides some relief for average players.


Playa Grande


countrybycountry.com


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