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Heaven on Earth for golf-lovers

Article - December 12, 2012
Casa de Campo is a multi-award winning luxury golf resort set amidst unspoilt countryside. A true golfers’ paradise...

Perfection is not easy to find, but at Casa de Campo, the Caribbean’s leading golf resort, it exists. Based in the Dominican Republic, with 90 holes designed by the renowned Pete Dye, the courses are ranked (by Golf Magazine) among the top 50 in the world.

Three of the most challenging courses on the planet were created by Dye and his wife Alice especially for Casa de Campo – Teeth of the Dog, Dye Fore and The Links. The famous Teeth of the Dog course has seven holes skirting the translucent sea where stunning coral reefs are visible beneath the surface. It is a challenging course and frequently attracts the world’s best amateur and professional golfers.

Dye Fore is a dramatic and stunning course including seven cliff-side holes with a drop of 300 feet (91.5 metres) to the sparkling blue Chavón River below. Winds can gust up to 40mph (64kph) along the 7,740-yard (7,077-metre) course, adding to the challenge of playing on this diverse and beautiful green.

The Links, while not as obviously testing as its seaside and cliff-hugging siblings, is full of surprises. Recently renovated, it incorporates a moderate hilly track with tall grass roughs and multiple sand traps. Water comes into play on many holes. The course offers excellent vistas of the sea and players will come across several lagoons and larger lakes where birds wade, oblivious to passing golfers.

What makes Casa de Campo special is also the attention to detail. For example, the resort provides some of the best caddies in the industry – all vetted to ensure they have extensive experience and advanced knowledge of all the courses. Many of them learned their skills alongside their fathers, who were also Casa de Campo caddies – their knowledge on how best to play the courses is unmatched.

Alfonso Paniagua is president of Costa Sur Dominicana, the real estate company responsible for the residential and commercial properties at Casa de Campo. “We have the best golf courses with spectacular panoramas,” he says. “And our architectural gems – Altos de Chavón [an artists’ village] and La Marina – are culture and entertainment centres where we organise social and sporting events, including concerts of world-famous stars, exhibitions from renowned artists, tournaments and regattas.”

Top class accommodation
Casa de Campo has gained other impressive accolades too – in September’s Caribbean and Americas 2012 World Travel Awards, not only did it pick up the titles of the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean’s leading Golf Resort, but the resort also won the Dominican Republic’s Leading Hotel and Leading Resort.

 “Casa de Campo has all the features of a city,” says the Costa Sur president. “Everything here is harmonious – it’s a project that respects the natural beauty of the area. We’re dedicated to providing the maximum care for our homeowners and guests.”

High quality villas and apartments are available for permanent residents, or those who wish to own a piece of this paradise. And holiday accommodation comes in the form of five star hotel rooms at the Elite Hotel, stylish and spacious with chic decor and a relaxing ambience; and deluxe villas with plenty of room for entire families to stretch out. Villas come in classic, exclusive and oceanfront style – each with their own special features.

Sporting options
There’s a range of activities aside from golf – guests can enjoy tennis at the Terraza Tennis Club, which has 13 clay courts, a bar, sports shop and pool; an equestrian centre provides first-class horses for rides around the resort and polo games from November to May; and a well-equipped clay pigeon shooting range.

Crafted by experts
As holiday accommodation, Casa de Campo began life in 1971 with only 50 bedrooms, 22 golf villas and four family dwellings. Today it has 280 bedrooms and more than 1,300 family dwellings of which 60% belong to Dominicans, 17% to North Americans, and the rest to Europeans, Latin Americans and other nationalities – creating a rich culturally mixed atmosphere. “The blend of different cultures has been one of the most successful aspects of the resort and continues to generate valuable ideas and initiatives,” explains Paniagua.

A central feature is the marina at Chavón, surrounded by high-standard apartments and villas, as well as plenty of shops, restaurants, banks and a supermarket. The quay provides space for 350 yachts and offers full facilities for boats of different sizes. Entertainment can be found in the Coconut Mall, a shopping centre housing three cinemas, numerous shops and a gourmet deli.

Overall the resort and residential community covers 7,000 acres. “The unique characteristics of the resort are its relaxing ambience and its golf offerings – together with the constant quality control,” says Paniagua. “Above all, one of the most valuable attributes we have is the hospitality of the Dominican people and their welcoming smiles.

“Our development plans are to continue to expand across the river,” Paniagua continues. “We have a master plan to develop 300 lots on the other side of the river, with three terraces parallel to the coast.” The development will contain dream villas and yet another Dye-designed golf course – all with jaw-dropping views. Guests will be able to traverse the river easily using two ferries.

The resort strives to make all guests feel at home. The old adage “mi casa es su casa” has never been truer than when spoken at Casa de Campo.