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La Cana Golf Course at the Punta Cana Resort

The La Cana Golf Course at the Punta Cana Resort, designed by P.B Dye the youngest son of renowned architect Pete Dye, opened in 2000. This course was the first to challenge his father’s Teeth of the Dog as the best course in the Caribbean. Dye created a challenging course full of awe-inspiring views with nearly half of the wholes running along, to or from the Caribbean. The course plays every bit of its 7150 yards. Especially with several of the holes aimed directly into the constant onshore breeze. Some of the Dye bunkers will make you think of Scotland in the Caribbean – the La Cana Golf Course is definitely a test and somewhat Dye-abolical (I couldn’t resist).

Dye was a natural pick to design the La Cana Golf Course as he speaks Spanish fluently after spending a couple years here as a kid while his father was designing the legendary Teeth of the Dog at Casa de Campo. He is a world renowned designer with a very impressive portfolio, but has often taken flack from golf purists for not designing more traditional courses. He pays them no mind though and says that golf courses should be challenging as well as visually stimulating. The La Cana Golf Course is definitely both of those!

With this type of location, they had no trouble finding investors and part owners include the likes of Oscar de la Renta and Julio Iglesias. Bill Clinton has even been to the course and ranked it as one of his favorites: surprising considering his disastrous play at the eighth hole. You have to carry a native jungle area to make the fairway and Clinton fed an entire box of balls in there before finally making it. Dye just stood there feeding Clinton the balls one at a time as he changed clubs and kept whacking away at it. The carry isn’t that far, but is visually intimidating to say the least.

The fifth hole is a short par 3 with a constant onshore breeze. You have to try to guage the wind and see how far you have to pound it out toward the ocean so that it can ride the breeze back in. All of that to then walk up to a camel’s back green that puts fears of a three putt firmly in your psyche. My suggestion is to hopefully not go first on this hole so you can see how far your playing partner’s ball sails away from the green. The shot’s only 154 yards, hit a knock-down shot at the bunkers on the right. The knock-down will hopefully mitigate the breeze a little.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the La Cana Golf Course, it’s definitely worth a visit when you’re in Punta Cana. The playing hours of the course are from 7 in the morning ‘til 7 in the evening (last tee time at 4PM). The course is way less busy in the afternoon, so picking one of the last tee times of the day is a decent idea. Tom Fazio is now working on another course on the same resort with a “Pebble Beach” type 8 or 9 holes running along the water, the new course will be called Corales and is expected to open in 2008.

Tip: you can usually save about $50 by booking directly, while a tour operator does make life easier, they’re not always cheaper.

Contact Info for the La Cana Golf Course at the Punta Cana Resort & Club

  • Telephone: (809) 959-4653 or (888) 442-2262
  • Green Fees: $52 to $110, cart included, discounted for hotel guests
  • Website for La Cana Golf Course
  • E-mail: golf@puntacana.com