Punta Cana Golf
Punta Cana has some of the best and most scenic golf courses in the Caribbean, designed by top golf architects including Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, Nick Faldo, P. B. Dye, Jose "Pepe" Gancedo, Nick Price, and Alberto Sola. The Puntacana Resort also has an elaborate teaching area with video and computer analysis. Good restaurants at many of these clubs add to the experience.
Barceló Bávaro Golf. Integrated within the Barceló Bávaro Beach Golf & Casino Resort complex in the Punta Cana region, this course is open to both resort and nonresort guests. The course traverses a lush inland mangrove forest and features 22 inland lakes and 122 bunkers, and totals 6,655 yards. It was actually the first course in the area and was designed by Juan Manuel Gordillo. Complete renovations, executed by designer P.B. Dye in 2010, breathed new life to the layout. The best rates are available for guests of the more upscale Barceló hotels, such as the Barceló Palace Deluxe. Walking is not permitted. Barceló Bávaro Beach Golf & Casino Resort, Bávaro, La Altagracia. 809/686–5797; www.barcelobavarogolf.net. $70 for 18 holes for Barceló guests; $145 for nonguests.
Cabeza de Toro Golf Club. Designed by Alberto Sola, this course affords views of spacious lakes and palm trees. It is the second, smaller golf course affiliated with the Catalonia Caribe Club Golf Course. Greens fees for external guests in other Bávaro properties vary and can be twice as much if available. Catalonia Bávaro Beach, Casino & Golf Resort, Cabeza de Toro, Bávaro, La Altagracia. 809/412–0000 ; www.cataloniabavaro.com. $190 for 18 holes, $45 per person for a cart for guests of Catalonia.
Catalonia Caribe Golf Club. Challenging and reasonably priced, Catalonia Caribe Golf Club is spread out on greens surrounded by five lakes and an abundance of shady palms. It's a relatively short course and features an island green. The architect, Alberto Sola, designed it to be challenging for both experienced and novice golfers. Rates include a cart. Outside guests may not be able to get tee times during peak season; always call ahead. Catalonia Bávaro Resort, Cabeza de Toro, Bávaro, La Altagracia. 809/321–7058; 809/412–0000 ; www.cataloniabavaro.com. $45 for 18 holes for Catalonia Resort guests; $90 for nonresort guests .
Cocotal Golf Course. Named for the coconut plantation on which it was built, Cocotal Golf Course, designed by Spaniard José "Pepe" Gancedo, has an 18-hole championship layout. It's a challenging par-72 course dotted with palm trees and serene lakes within the residential community Palma Real. There's also a driving range, clubhouse, pro shop, and golf academy. Fees include a golf cart. Advance booking is mandatory. Lessons and club rentals are available. Palma Real Villas, Bávaro, La Altagracia. 809/ 221–1290; 809/687–4653 ; www.cocotalgolf.com. $65--$75 for resort guests; $112 for 18 holes for nonguests.
Corales Golf Club. “The Augusta National of the Caribbean” has expansive, finely landscaped grounds. Designed by Tom Fazio, it's a dramatic 18-hole course with six Caribbean seaside holes with a finishing hole that encourages players to cut off as much of the Caribbean off the tee as they dare. Laid out along the natural cliffs and coves of the sea and inland lakes and Coralina quarries, the 700 acres here are part of the extensive Puntacana Resort & Club. The club is open to its members and their guests, guests of Tortuga Bay, and Puntacana Resort guests who purchase the resort's Golf Experience packages, but a limited number of nonguests are allowed to play in both high and low season; enquiries and tee-time requests should be made by email. Caddies are mandatory at Corales. Puntacana Resort & Club, Punta Cana, San Juan. 809/959–4653; www.puntacana.com. $195–$295 for resort guests; $295–$395 (including lunch) for nonguests .
Hard Rock Golf Club at Cana Bay. This Jack Nicklaus–designed course is just a golf cart ride down from the resort on Macao Beach. It's a challenging and well-maintained course with ocean views and regularly hosts tournaments and other events. Hard Rock guests can use their resort credits to play. The Emerald driving range is close to the golf clubhouse (which rents Calloway clubs). Emblazoned Hard Rock golf cars are included. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana, Blvd. Turistico del Este, Km 28, Macao, La Altagracia. 809/687--0000 ; www.hrhcpuntacana.com. $200 ($130 for "Twilight Play").
Iberostate Bávaro Golf Club. Golf course architect Pete Dye has been very productive in the Dominican Republic, and the Iberostate Bávaro Golf Club is another fun creation of his. Located near the beach just 12.4 miles (20 km) from the Punta Cana Airport, Dye transformed this inland terrain into an engaging, playable, and attractive test of golf, though the wind can increase the difficulty. The beauty of the natural setting shines at this 18-hole. Fees include a golf cart, driving and putting range, shared cart, snacks, and nonalcoholic beverages while playing. Iberostar Bávaro Resort, Playa Arena Gorda, Bávaro, La Altagracia. 809/221–6500; iberostar.com.do. $110 for guests; $159--$175 for nonguests .
La Cana Golf Club. You will enjoy the ocean views on 14 of the La Cana Golf Club’s 27 holes of championship golf designed by P. B. Dye. The three 9s–-Tortuga, Hacienda, and Arrecife–-make for a very popular offering, particularly the oceanside finish on the La Cana Nine. The latest 9, Hacienda, opened in 2012 not as a full course but rather a set of 9 individual holes; it’s punctuated with many lakes amid an unspoiled tropical landscape, a challenging addition to the existing, spectacular courses. All fees include a golf cart, taxes, and use of the expansive practice facility. Caddies are optional. Lessons and golf schools are offered by PGA professional staff. Rental clubs are available and should be reserved two weeks in advance from November through April. Guests of the resort's Westin or Tortuga Bay get discounted rates; nonguests who book with the resort can get transportation included. Puntacana Resort & Club, Punta Cana, San Juan. 809/959–4653; www.puntacana.com. $105--$135 for resort guests; $140--$175 for nonguests.
Punta Blanca Golf Course. This beautiful 18-hole course measuring a stout 7,174 yards from the tips was designed by Nick Price. It meanders through flat natural wetlands and features large waste bunkers set seamlessly into the tropical vegetation. It opened in 2007 to reviews running the gamut from very good to disappointing. Fees including a mandatory cart and nonalcoholic beverages for guests of other hotels in the Bávaro area. Guests at Majestic Resorts and RIU resorts receive a discount and can get free play with some packages. Prices also includes transfers to the course (if your hotel is located between the Barceló complex and Hard Rock Hotel). Proper golf attire is required. Carretera Arena Gorda, , near Majestic Colonial Resort, Bávaro, La Altagracia. 809/468–4734; www.punta-blanca.com. $45 for Majestic guests; $190 for nonguests .
Punta Espada Golf Course. Jack Nicklaus cast his mark in the Caribbean with the magnificent Punta Espada Golf Course. You will discover a par-72 challenge with striking bluffs, lush foliage, and many gently tumbling fairways with spectacular water vistas. Incidentally, the water often does come into play. Having hosted the PGA Champions Tour, the course is even better in person than it looks on TV, and you won’t find smoother putting surfaces! Yes, there's a Caribbean view from all the holes, and eight of them play right along the sea. The course’s length can be extended to nearly 7,400 yards, but it's advisable to play a more forward tee. This exceptional golf club has concierge services, a restaurant, the Hole 19 bar, a pro shop, a members' trophy gallery, a library, lockers, an equipment repair shop, and a meeting room. Rates are discounted for guests in any of Cap Cana's accommodations and include golf cart, caddy, tees, water, and practice on the driving range. In high season, reservations are required, and it's best to make them two weeks in advance for tee times. Cap Cana, Carretera Juanillo, Juanillo, La Altagracia. 809/469–7767; www.capcana.com. $225--$295 for resort guests; $295--$395 for nonguests.