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May 10, 2011
  • Summer golf update for the Dominican Republic
  • 1,680 villas at Casa de Campo
  • Art exhibits not to be missed
Summer golf update for the Dominican Republic
This summer, 2011, 28 golf courses will be in operation in the Dominican Republic. This total includes five 9-hole golf courses, two courses operating with nine holes but expanding to 18 holes within the next few months, and three 27-hole golf courses and eighteen 18-hole golf courses. The golf courses are located in the eastern half of the country.
The Punta Cana coastline has the largest number of golf courses in the Dominican Republic, with 10 courses in operation, including one 27-hole course, the Cocotal (by Jose "Pepe" Gancedo), and one 9-hole golf course, the Catalonia Cabeza de Toro. Others with 18 holes are the Cana Bay Palace (Jack Nicklaus and Mark Meijer), the Punta Blanca (Nick Price), Iberostate Bavaro (PB Dye), Barcelo Golf de Bavaro (by Juan Manuel Gordillo and renovated by PB Dye), Catalonia Caribe, Corales (Tom Fazio), La Cana (PB Dye) and Punta Espada (Jack Nicklaus).
Golfing took off in La Romana at Casa de Campo in 1971, and now the resort has recently completed the renovation of the legendary 18-hole Teeth of the Dog course. Others at Casa de Campo are The Links with 18 holes, and the 27-hole Dye Fore at Altos de Chavon and the for-members La Romana Country Club with 27 holes. La Estancia, with 18-holes, is another golf course in the La Romana-Bayahibe area.
In the southeastern beach resort of Juan Dolio, there are three golf courses: Guavaberry by Gary Player with 18 holes, Los Marlins by Charles Ankrom, and Costablanca by Greg Norman that is starting off with 9 holes of its 18 holes.
Nearby is the new Naco Golf (Carlos Grullon and Ricardo Orellana-designed) members' country club, which will be especially attractive for tourists staying in the Boca Chica beach area.
The city of Santo Domingo has three golf courses, the membership Santo Domingo Country Club (H. N. Hansard), Las Lagunas (Pete Dye and Jack Corrie) and Isabel Villas (Ricardo Orellana-designed) golf courses, where play can be contracted by non-members.
On the northeastern coast, the only course is the 18-hole Playa Grande Golf Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones. To the west, in north-central Puerto Plata, there are two golf courses in operation - 18-hole Playa Dorada (also designed by Robert Trent Jones) at the hotel complex of the same name, and the 9-hole Los Mangos in Costambar, that primarily caters for hotel guests in nearby Cofresi.
In the central mountain area of Santiago, there is 18-hole Las Aromas, designed by Pete Dye as he began his career as a golf designer. There is the 9-hole Jarabacoa Golf Club, and the 9-hole Bonao Golf Club open to play by visitors.
1,680 villas at Casa de Campo
The largest residential community in the Dominican Republic, Costasur's vice president Alfonso Paniagua announced recently that there were 1,680 villas in the Casa de Campo residential community in La Romana at the end of 2010. The development has maintained an annual growth rate of 6% over the last decade.
As reported in Costasur/Casa de Campo News, the development broke the 1,000-villa mark in 2001, ending that year with 1,049 built properties. "Throughout the years it has been our policy to maintain a sustainable growth rate," said Paniagua.
The first villas were built in 1974, the Golf Villas. At the time they sold for US$40,000. Some of those same villas have gone for US$700,000 on the market today.
Paniagua said that that same year some of the first homes were built on Punta Aguila, followed by Tennis Villas and Golf Villa Phase II in 1976.
There were years when more than 90 villas were built, such as 2002 and 2006, reflecting an economic boom.
Construction pace has slowed to 28 villas completed at the end of 2010, but the rate of construction is expected to pick up again this year, as 36 villas are currently under construction.
Art exhibits not to be missed
Now is the time to visit the Palace of Bellas Artes on Av. Maximo Gomez in Santo Domingo to see two outstanding art exhibitions. The National Gallery of the Palacio de Bellas Artes is showing the works of French artist Michel Bizet. This exhibition, titled Suites, will be open through 22 May. The collection contains a series of works linking Bizet to American abstract expressionism. Bizet first visited the DR in 1995, and then set up shop in Las Terrenas, Samana where he built several commercial plazas, including Casa Linda and Plaza Taina.
Visitors may also see the traveling exhibition featuring original works by Pablo Picasso open at Bellas Artes through 10 June 2011. The gallery is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10am to 5pm, on Wednesdays from 10am to 9pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 6pm. It is closed on Mondays.
For more on ongoing and upcoming events, see www.dr1.com/calendar

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