Pete Dye's "Teeth" along with his newer golf courses at Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic continue to set the bar high
It all started in the late 1960s when Gulf and Western asked Pete Dye to come to the Dominican Republic and find the ideal site for a new golf resort, Casa de Campo. Dye suggested some 7,000 acres of thorny tangled land near La Romana on the country’s southern coast. Getting the green light, Dye organized around 300 locals to shape things up using ox carts and hand tools.
From the git go, Dye’s “Teeth of the Dog” (1971), named for the sharp coral rock on the surface, garnered countless accolades and put the DR on the world golf map. Dye went on to build the inland Links (1976) along with Dye Fore’s three nines: Chavon and Marina (2003) and Lakes ("Lagos") (2011).
Each course has its own punch especially Teeth with the ocean ever present – seven holes play along or over water and the subtly difficult green complexes and superb par 3s. Still it’s as playable as you want it to be. You just have to pick the right tee.
On Dye Fore’s Marina as you play down the fifth hole, the, views of the sea, the yachts and docks below are simply stunning. And Chevon is equally spectacular with its wide-swept cliff-hanging fairways and greens high above the river valley. Lakes as its name implies, flirts with water on five holes and tons of sand.
Today Dye’s courses continue to vie for attention with the extensive facilities of Casa de Campo including a large tennis complex, golf school, spa, shooting facility, equestrian center with riding and polo, beaches, and close to 20 places to eat and drink.
A unique attraction at the resort, Altos d Chavon, so named as it overlooks the Chavon River, is modeled after a 16th century Mediterranean village. Narrow cobbled streets winding through rambling low stone buildings evoke historic Eze in France. Artists and writers live here and open their shops and studios to visitors while small cafes and bars attract the after-hours crowd. The 5,000-seat Grecian-style amphitheater is quite incredible and often the venue for concerts by artists like Andrea Bocelli, Julio Iglesias and Sting.
One great perk guests enjoy is getting around in their own personal “carrito,” a four- passenger-touring cart. You can drive to breakfast, the pro shop, the beach, dinner, tennis – everywhere. With these fun little buggies, you can cover a lot of ground.
Starting the day with a yogurt smoothie made by Digna who has been whipping these up for 30 years or so, is one great reason to have breakfast in the open-air Lago Grill where the choices in the lavish buffet range from smoked salmon to custom omelets. Most likely you’ll sip your coffee while enjoying views of fairways and the sea beyond. The sea also serves as a backdrop for The Beach Club by Le Cirque, bringing the sophisticated New York dining experience to Casa’s romantic Minitas Beach.
With 185 recently renovated rooms and 50 three-to five-bedroom villa homes featuring pools, terraces and private butlers, maids and gardeners, you have choices. Among them are the 64 rooms in the Pete Dye Golf Lodge decorated with rich mahogany woods and equipped with an array of tech toy s like iPod docking stations and flat screen TVs.
At Casa de Campo, don’t expect glitz but do expect low-key glamor nurtured by seamless service.
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