View large image | More photos
|Casa de Campo's Dye Fore Course is no break from the Teeth of the Dog. (Courtesy of Casa de Campo)|
LA ROMANA, Dominican Republic -- Just to be clear: It's the Teeth of the Dog Course that beckons golfers to come to Casa de Campo. Pete Dye's 40-year-old masterpiece is the main attraction.
But the B-side of this album, Casa de Campo's Dye Fore Course, is pretty good, too, especially after the recent completion of nine new holes.
The integrated nine new holes, called the Dye Fore Lakes, combines with the old Dye Fore North Nine that was built on the cliffs above the Chavon River. The golf course isn't on the ocean, but rather 300 feet above the river that leads to the sea, and it isn't hurting for beauty or strategy.
Most of all, however, the additional holes help tie together the golf experience at this 7,000-acre resort that not only boasts great golf, but also luxury accommodations, fine dining and a bevy of other activities to enjoy. Dye said the new nine helps the courses "flow together better" by decreasing distances between nines and from the clubhouse.
"It took five years to build, and when you have so much time you keep looking at it, trying to see the long views," Dye said. "There's about 20 acres of lakes up there, so high in spots all you see are mountains and oceans. I really like it."
At 7,630 yards from the tips, one thing is for certain: The Dye Fore Course is no break from the Teeth of the Dog. While the more famous sibling course has all those holes along the ocean, Dye Fore has plenty along the Chavon River, which will gobble up slices, pushes and hooks, depending on what holes you're playing.
Of course, those back tees are only for accomplished players, but the next set is 7,074 yards, which is why the pros recommend that most players tackle the blues (6,558 yards) or the whites (6,043 yards).
For example, even from the blues the second hole is a 445-yard par 4 and the course's No. 1 handicap hole.
The new holes don't start to come into play, however, until the fifth, a 441-yard par 4 from the tips. It certainly has a different feel than the preceding holes, mostly because it's newer and the green is firmer, but it also gets away from the river for a while.
The new holes continue, offering a pair of very challenging par 3s around water, most notably the seventh, which plays 214 yards to a not-so-big green. The key is missing it in the right spot, which would be to the left, but it's no easy up and down. That theme repeats itself, with the water on the left, on the 195-yard 11th.
By the time you get to the 14th, you're back to the old holes and perhaps the best hole on the course, a short dogleg left par 4 with a great view of the river below. Many players will hit 3-wood, but the key is not to overcook a hook to the left and find the hazard. A small, tricky green awaits. Even with a wedge, par is no gimme.
The course ends with a 610-yard par 5 that features a fairway that slopes severely the left. It's a wide fairway to be sure, but anything left can find the hazard to the left because of the slope, and the second shot is somewhat blind.
There are very few courses around the world that can match the Teeth of the Dog, but the Dye Fore Course is a great complement to it. The two courses are nothing alike, which is what you want at a high-end resort like Casa de Campo. Most important, it's a nice changeup from the Teeth, but hardly a let-up. Both are championship caliber golf courses and well worth the trip to the Dominican Republic.
The Dye Fore Course also has an excellent range and a nice 19th hole, where you can get the local Presidente beer and a sandwich after the round. All in all, it's a Tier 1 experience.
Whether it's the Dye Fore Course, Teeth of the Dog or both, the best option is to stay at the magnificent Casa de Campo resort. Run by the world's largest sugar barons, Casa de Campo has been a favorite retreat for royalty, Hollywood celebrities and family vacationers alike.
The resort, which recently underwent a $20 million renovation, offers luxury villas, homes, a spa, horseback riding, world-class tennis, pools, clay shooting, a fitness center and excellent restaurants. A variety of packages are available at casadecampo.com.do.
October 4, 2011
Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in the Houston area. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 20 years in the golf industry. Before joining the TravelGolf Network team in 2008, he held positions at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @Accidentlgolfer.
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.
Referred to by its hosts as a "hidden gem," the greens alone at Sterling Hills Golf Club in Camarillo, Calif. make this a stone worth turning over. Located an hour northwest of L.A., it's a pleasing, quiet and generally engaging round that will appease players of all levels.
... full article »