Trio of splendid courses give Dominican Republic’s Casa de Campo its golf props and more

Teeth of the Dog

There’s fine golf and good times on tap at the peerless Casa de Campo Resort & Villas, the first ever resort in the Dominican Republic.

This is one of the ultimate bucket-list destinations for both avid golfers and those that just want to get a round or two in as respite from the beaches, equestrian center, fine-dining and the like. 

Whichever way one goes, it’s a place where memories are made and good times abound. Opened almost 50 years ago, Casa de Campo is gated, uber-secure and exclusive, spread over nearly 7,000 acres, with most of the property on the island’s southern coast near the capital city of Santo Domingo.

The resort is considered one of the top destinations in the Caribbean by virtually every golf publication. Casa de Campo is the home of three distinctive Pete Dye-designed courses: Teeth of the Dog, the 27-hole Dye Fore, and The Links.

The activities are world-class, with eight outstanding restaurants on the property including the highly rated Minitas Beach Club, as well as a marina, multiple pools, the aforementioned equestrian center featuring polo, a shooting course, great shopping, sportfishing and a trio of private, pristine, white sand beaches. 

The resort even has its own pseudo Italianate town complete with an amphitheater that hosts live performances.

For our purpose, golf leads the way, and there’s a plethora of it at Casa De Campo. Here’s a look at the resort’s quartet of courses:

Teeth of the Dog wows with coastal holes

The first course in the Dominican Republic and still considered the best on the island and in the Caribbean, Teeth of the Dog is the track that put golf on the map in this part of the world. Dye never took full credit for the course, famously saying “I created 11 holes and God created seven.”

Teeth of the Dog has enough Dye features on the inland holes to keep things interesting and coastal holes that rival the best in the world. Those seven dramatic holes hug the craggy coral formations rising out of the Caribbean Sea, and the par 3s and 4s running along the rocky coast are all postcard worthy.

Some of the green complexes on the course are, in typical Dye fashion, extremely demanding and potentially punishing.

Teeth of the Dog begins its journey with a handful of holes on which the golfer can tone up his or her game prior to embarking on the fabulous four-hole stretch on the water from the fifth to the eighth.

The course then turns inland before rolling back down to the coast and the sublime trio of 15th, 16th and 17th holes (playing to pars of 4, 3 and 4) that finish off what everyone comes to Teeth of the Dog to experience.

Teeth of the Dog

Dye Fore gives Teeth a run for its money

The 27-hole Dye Fore opened in 2002 and comprises three nines – the stunning and big-shouldered Chavon, Marina, and Lagos, each distinct and demanding. Unlike any course in the Dominican Republic, Dye Fore is a ride through the mountains, along the river, and then with views of the ocean and produces one of the most unique combinations in the world.

Chavon features a quintet of cliffside holes dropping some 300 feet, while Marina plays down the Chavon River valley and offers panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea and the boats moored on the water’s edge where the river empties into the ocean.

While the Marina nine offers attractive views and an enjoyable collection of holes to offer, the Chavon nine is the clear winner as the best grouping of holes at Dye Fore due to its flat-out stunning offerings along the river and holes that have “wow factor.”

Dye Fore as a whole features a variety of forced carries, difficult bunkers and brash edges that gives the course a unique look and challenge. It’s a blast to play enjoy as golfers will definitely feel like they are playing a Dye design. Every hole sweeps through the landscape as if it was always meant to be there.

Golf course architecture aficionados call Dye Fore “the most underrated course in the Caribbean” and Golf Digest’s ranks it No. 3 in the Dominican Republic. If it’s not the best course at Casa de Campo, it’s 1A.

Dye Fore

Links is Casa de Campo’s true “resort” course

With wide fairways giving way to challenging green complexes highlighted by tricky, undulating putting surfaces, The Links golf course showcases Dye’s genius, this time in a less penal manner. It’s a shotmaker’s track that weaves through the resort’s beautiful, verdant grounds while offering spectacular vistas of the Caribbean Sea from a handful of holes.

The Links course, which opened three years after the famed Teeth of the Dog layout, features a series of waste areas on the front nine and is routed through terrain that starts out modest but begins ramping up halfway through the outward holes. The back nine is punctuated by water that comes into play on the middle five holes with players being asked to play over and around the hazard to successfully score well. 

The par 4s are varied and testing with a wide variety of shapes, lengths, and strategies, but it’s the par 3s on the Links that seem to earn a permanent spot in the golfers’ memory. The green complexes are testy at times with a lot of slopes and collection areas surrounding the putting surface, some of which slope severely.

The Links course offers a nice, and less expensive, option to play while at Casa de Campo. For being the third best of the courses at the resort, expectations can be understandably modest but, the course is no third wheel, as Dye’s design and flawless conditioning pair to spotlight a routing that is intriguing while taking advantage of the terrain. 

In the end, the Links is a better track than players might expect and is a pleasant course to enjoy on a visit to Casa de Campo.

The Links