For Shore

Tee off at these beau­ti­ful Caribbean golf cour­ses.

Porthole Cruise Magazine - - What’s Inside - BY PETER MUM­FORD

A CARIBBEAN CRUISE IS A WON­DER­FUL DO­MINI­CAN REPUB­LIC PUERTO RICO

In the north­ern part of the Caribbean, Puerto Rico boasts 20 wor­thy golf cour­ses. A hand­ful rank up there with the best in the re­gion in­clud­ing TPC Do­rado Beach, which has hosted two World Cups; and Coco Beach, which boasts a pair of fine lay­outs. The Cham­pi­onship course at Coco Beach an­nu­ally hosts the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open while the In­ter­na­tional course de­lights all lev­els of golfers with its scenic and chal­leng­ing moun­tain lay­out.

On the north­east cor­ner of the is­land, not far from San Juan, is El Con­quis­ta­dor, an ex­cit­ing Arthur Hills de­sign built on the side of a moun­tain that of­fers stun­ning ocean views and breath­tak­ing el­e­va­tion changes. Puerto Rico’s busiest sports re­sort, Palmas Ath­letic Club, fea­tures an­other pair of fine cour­ses: the Flam­boyan, a cham­pi­onship lay­out de­signed by Rees Jones that skirts a 20-acre fresh wa­ter lake; and the Palm, which is a Gary Player de­sign that’s shorter and less de­mand­ing than its sis­ter course. op­por­tu­nity to visit ex­otic is­lands, meet new peo­ple, and learn about other cul­tures. For avid golfers, those sev­eral-hour–long shore leaves are made even bet­ter when you can grab your clubs and tee off at some of the most beau­ti­ful golf cour­ses in the world.

Af­ter play­ing more than 500 dif­fer­ent cour­ses in 21 coun­tries, I sug­gest the fol­low­ing (in no par­tic­u­lar or­der) as four of the best is­lands for golf in the Caribbean.

Do­mini­can Repub­lic has es­tab­lished it­self as a pre­mier golf des­ti­na­tion thanks to ar­chi­tects such as Pete Dye and Jack Nick­laus, whose de­signs reg­u­larly top the lists of Best Caribbean cour­ses. Casa de Campo re­sort fea­tures three Dye cre­ations, but Teeth of the Dog is world-renowned and al­most al­ways listed as the No. 1 course in the re­gion. The stun­ning sea­side lay­out, where the wind howls and the wa­ter is of­ten in play, should be added to ev­ery avid golfer’s bucket list. Punta Es­pada at Cap Cana is never far be­hind in the rank­ings. The Nick­laus de­sign hugs the cliffs above the sea with oc­ca­sional plunges to the beach be­low. Two more solid Do­mini­can Repub­lic op­tions are Punta Cana, by Tom Fazio, and Playa Grande, one of Robert Trent Jones’ last de­signs.

The stun­ning sea­side lay­out, where the wind howls and the wa­ter is of ten in play, should be added to ev­ery avid golfer’s bucket list.

THE BA­HAMAS

Far­ther to the north, the Ba­hamas beckon. While some of the best golf cour­ses are pri­vate and would need some pretty spe­cial con­nec­tions, two of the must-see ac­ces­si­ble cour­ses in­clude the Ocean Club at Atlantis Re­sort on Par­adise Is­land and Royal Blue at Baha Mar Re­sort in Nas­sau.

The Ocean Club is a gor­geous sea­side lay­out with some greens and tees right on the beach and in­land holes built around wet­lands and la­goons. Royal Blue is a brand-new Jack Nick­laus Sig­na­ture with two dis­tinct nines. The front is a tra­di­tional ocean course built along the table­lands ad­ja­cent to the wa­ter with lots of sandy ar­eas, while the back fea­tures dra­matic el­e­va­tion changes with great views of the wa­ter and fair­ways and greens that are framed by in­cred­i­ble lime­stone walls.

BAR­BA­DOS

In the Southern Caribbean, Bar­ba­dos is a pre­mier spot to tee off. While some cour­ses are pri­vate or ex­clu­sive to re­sort guests, the right on­board con­nec­tions can of­ten get you a tee time, in­clud­ing at Apes Hill Club, which was built on an old su­gar plan­ta­tion 1,000 feet above sea level and of­fers ma­jes­tic views of both the Caribbean Sea and At­lantic Ocean. The par 3s at Apes Hill will ri­val any in the re­gion, too. At Sandy Lane Re­sort, the Green Mon­key course by Tom Fazio is built on the re­mains of an old lime­stone quarry and blends rocky out­crop­pings with broad sweep­ing fair­ways, long wind­ing bunkers, and sub­tly con­toured greens.

Far­ther up the west coast is Royal West­more­land, con­sid­ered by many to be the best golf course on Bar­ba­dos. There are enough bunkers here to make you think you’re still at the beach and the chal­leng­ing greens can leave you flum­moxed. Ul­ti­mately though, this gor­geous Robert Trent Jones Jr. de­sign is a chal­leng­ing but fair test of golf and will def­i­nitely be a course you add to your list for a re­turn visit. That’s just four of the best is­lands for golf, but the good news is that there’s no end to amaz­ing, unique cour­ses all over the Caribbean. You can ex­pe­ri­ence ter­rific golf on St. Kitts and Ne­vis, Tobago, Cu­raçao, Ja­maica, Aruba, the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands, and many more. But un­less you have your own yacht, you’ll need to sched­ule re­cur­ring cruises to • play them all.

Punta Cana, Do­mini­can Repub­lic

Clock­wise from top: TPC Do­rado Beach, Puerto Rico; Royal Blue course at Baha Mar Re­sort, Nas­sau; Casa de Campo, Do­mini­can Repub­lic

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