Posted On: Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Golf should be fun, right? Especially while on vacation.
Keeping this in mind, I want to share with you a review of a course I played during a recent trip to the Dominican Republic.
Playa Dorada is a Robert Trent Jones Sr. design that Golf Digest ranked among the top 100 courses outside of the U.S.
Conveniently, it was a five-minute walk away from the all-inclusive Gran Ventana Beach Resort near Puerto Plata where I stayed.
What’s to like about this par 72 course? A lot.
For starters – and for some context – I am a mid-handicap golfer who celebrated his 65th birthday earlier this year. I’m never going to play the notoriously tough Bethpage Black course from the tips and if I drive the ball more than 220 yards I’m likely to break out in a happy dance.
And I have to confess that I love scenic golf courses, especially ones with palm trees, water holes and at least enough bunkering to keep me focused on my target.
Given these preferences, Playa Dorada checked a lot of boxes for me.
The fairways are generous, the rough short and very playable and if you play from the right tee boxes you’’ll find yourself hitting your approach shots with a mid to short iron.
We played from the whites (5,924 yards), which meant the average distance of the 10 par 4s was 350 yards; the four par 5s 453 yards and the four par 3s 150 yards - all very manageable distances.
And keeping with the theme of “golf should be fun,” the greens were perfect for my tastes: no severe breaks and slow enough to limit the number of three and four putts.
While the course is flat, it is not lacking in scenery. Five holes have ocean views and the Isabel de Torres Mountains near Puerto Plata provide a beautiful backdrop at various points throughout the course.
And just so there is no misunderstanding, even though the course is set up for enjoyable holiday golf it still has plenty of challenge. In fact, we managed to rinse a few golf balls in the ponds playing from the whites.
Looking for more challenge? Try the back tees which stretch the course out to 6,765 yards.
My favourite hole was the 18th - a double dog-leg par 5 with water down the right side of the fairway and green.
Another beauty is the 17th a 150-yard par 3 which requires a precise iron shot over water to a green guarded on three sides by sandtraps.
Play them both well and that Presidente beer in the clubhouse will taste even better!
Something to keep in mind is if you are staying at the Gran Ventana, you’ll receive a 20% discount on green fees, which start at $75 U.S. during high season (Nov. 1-April 30).
The course also offers discounts when you purchase multiple rounds (3, 5, 8 packs or 12 or 16 packs for two players).
Rental clubs are available for $25 U.S. per player.
One final note: The club's website - playadoradagolf.com - is currently under construction so enquiries should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
For more resort information:
WEST JET PACKAGES TO GRAN VENTANA