The Local Knowlege

Courses & Travel

Trip Report: The East Course at Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico

Colleague Mike Johnson is back from a recent trip to Puerto Rico. I asked for his thoughts on the East Course at Dorado Beach, so he filed this report:

Dorado.jpgThere are few things better than a buddies golf weekend in Puerto Rico. Unless it’s a buddies golf weekend in Puerto Rico that includes playing Dorado East. (Pictured: fourth hole.) Re-opened in November after an extensive renovation that included removing a massive amount of trees and vegetation allowing for views of the ocean on 14 holes, Dorado is worthy for the quality of its layout and conditioning as much as its views.

As with most resort golf, the fairways are generous, but the bunkers all seem to be in the right spot to snatch an errant shot; the greens pool table smooth, if not lightning fast. Among the highlights are the first tee where I walked just a few paces to wet my towel in the ocean (Why? Because I could), the zig-zag par-5 fourth hole where the ocean and 70-foot-tall palm trees serve as an endless backdrop to the green and the par-5 11th for no other reason than I bashed a 4-wood from 235 yards out to 4 feet and made eagle.
Still there’s more to Dorado than a fine course in a tough-to-beat setting. I'm not saying it's affordable (through March, resort guests pay $250), but normally when the ranger pays you a visit in the middle of the fairway you cringe. At Dorado he offered a butter cookie the first time we saw him and a mint the next. The forecaddie (ours, a young man named Chen, was tour quality) tools around in his own cart, adding to their efficiency and after returning the cart at the Plantation clubhouse a cool, almond-scented towel is offered.
So what’s better than a buddies golf weekend in Puerto Rico that includes playing Dorado East? Still noodling on that one.

--E. Michael Johnson

(Follow Mike on Twitter @emichaelgw; follow me @Matt_Ginella.)