Mention golf in the Dominican Republic and you immediately think of the long-time famous Teeth of the Dog course or the Dye
Fore course at Casa de Campo. But there's a new kid down the block, and it's called Punta Espada.
Already the scenic Jack-Nicklaus-designed course is listed among the world's finest. Eight holes play along the ocean and it's not unusual
to be distracted by the beautiful views of the Caribbean. Since 2008, Punta Espada has been selected as the site of the PGA Tour
Champions Tour, which says a lot about its challenge and its quality.
When we received an invitation to play the course, how could we
resist? We were staying in nearby Bavaro, only 45 minutes from the Cap Cana course. Upon arrival, we checked in at the upscale pro shop and introduced ourselves to our caddy Joshua.
From hole 1 through hole 18, Punta Espada will not disappoint. Its 18
holes are beautifully integrated into the magnificent natural landscape. A limestone ridge with interesting caves reminiscent of
pirate days cuts through the middle of the course, creating surprising elevation changes. Several of the back tees sit on this bluff, offering
panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea and the fairway below. In addition, several greens sit directly on the water only yards from the pounding surf. Coquina rock was also interspersed
throughout the course, adding a little more detail in a design that is already outstanding.
The signature hole is #13, a beautiful and deceiving par 3. Everyone's tee must be driven over an inlet to the slightly
elevated green. Easier said than done, but we did it!
The sixth hole is d
esigned around a couple of 50-foot-deep, water filled sink holes, called "cenotes" by many, which provides
a hidden challenge. Throughout our game, our caddy kept us in the clear. His professional advice and expertise allowed me to par the
18th hole, a long par-5 with wide fairways and a green surrounded by ocean waves. It was a wonderful experience to end our game on that note!
Cap Cana is still in its initial phase and features two 5-star hotels
and a modern marina. Upscale homes and condominium units are in various stages of construction throughout the complex and we are
certain that within just a few years, this will be the undisputed golf capital of the Caribbean.
Tee times are not cheap, sometimes listed at over $200 per person,
but if money is no object and top-of-the-line golf is, then you must challenge yourself on this layout. For more information, visit http://www.capcana.com/site/index.php/en/activity/golf.