We took a late fall trip to the delightful Casa de Campo Resort and Villas in the Dominican Republic. This is a bastion of Pete Dye golf courses, high end accommodations, good food and drink, and lively entertainment. Over five days we played em all….Teeth of the Dog, Dye Fore, The Links, and La Romana Country Club….and it was just the perfect warm antidote for the November chill that had set in on the East Coast.
With business down a bit in what we thought was high season, the powers that be upgraded us from the main hotel to a series of lavish villas across the property. Four to five guys in each, we had our own pool, jacuzzi, outsized living spaces to stretch out, and even a service professional to make us a hot breakfast every morning. We were living the life of a Conquistador.
#5 Casa Arriba Villa….Rooms r’ Us…….
For the golfing experience it is Dye, Dye, and more Dye….just cannot get enough of his influence, which is understandable since he lived just off the green at the Par 3 7th. Having said that the courses are totally playable for folks of all skill sets. The ocean views on Teeth of the Dog can be somewhat distracting but it fills your golfing heart with pride when you traverse one of those shore lines and land your Srixon on terra firma.
Pete is the master of all golf in Casa…standing sentinel in front of the pro shop
The first stop on the Dye Tour was his 1971 work on this campus, the famed “Teeth of the Dog”. The course get’s it’s name for the aerial view of the coastline it straddles where the nooks and crannies the holes traverse look like the dentifrice of a German Shepard. This was fine since we had our fair share of representatives of the dental profession.
The Par 4 2nd hole has the full compliment of Dye extras…..in this case waste areas surrounded by what look like drift wood pickets….
You know you are on the back side since the ocean is now on the right….here at the short 15th you almost feel like you can drive the green…maybe in a power boat…
This add-on was a bit of Dye levity off the side of one of the greens….it is kind of what it feels like trying to hit some of these Par 3’s in a big wind…….
If you get a bit too bold on the double presses you might end up making a deposit in one of the spaces in what we coined (pardon the pun) “The Wailing Wall”……
If it really gets bad you can use this remnant of a landing strip from the old Casa Airport in front of the 18th tee to call in a Med-Vac Helicopter for a quick escape..
The other gem we played was the Dye Fore Course (circa 2007) which is set a bit more inland on a challenging piece of tumultuous property perched above a river gorge running through its center. Pete was up to the task, creating a dramatic but playable set of holes with plenty of risk and reward sewn therein.
The 4th is the Number 1 handicap hole as it wraps around the edge of the gorge. There are no bailouts on this hole, just some lines less risky then others…
Doc, Craig, Double-D, and Len The Plumber posing on the 14th Tee…the gorge behind them is in play big time on this stretch of holes….
All the three-pars share the look of the 15th….providing a dramatic backdrop as your ball falls helplessly from the sky searching for safe landing below…
For the overly ambitious among us there was the opportunity to play additional golf in the afternoons at the Casa Links or at La Romana, a superb private club within the Casa de Campo campus. The former was just a nice toned down Pete Dye experience, but La Romana was 27 holes of pure Pete Dye genius without the benefit of the seaside views.
The 8th at Casa Links was a sweet punch bowl style Par 3….getting to the pin was best accomplished using the side walls…..
On these guy trips eating is just below golf and just above the afternoon nap in terms of priority. The restaurants across the Casa Resort are all top notch and cover most of the sacred food groups. The adult beverages flow freely as well so the levity of these evenings is enhanced accordingly.
The night we ate at the Minitas Beach Club Doc Kella was celebrating collecting his Social Security….the cake was adorned with a Roman Candle that enhanced his tan….
Eating at La Piazzeta was a serious indulgence in all things Italian….
Which included a Mariachi Band with some Bar Mitzvah experience since they were able to abide Phil’s request for Hava Nagilah….the crowd got raucous…
After five days of golf and spiritual therapy, 29 guys were a bit tired but smiling broadly from this tranquility experience in a wee bit of paradise…