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Why the Dominican Republic is our favorite winter destination

2nd hole punta espada golf club

Evan Schiller

December 19, 2023

Now’s the perfect time to head to the Caribbean. If you don’t live in a warm-weather golf hotbed like Florida, Arizona or California, the Dominican Republic’s beautiful beaches, amazing hospitality and stellar golf makes it our tropical destination of choice.

Another sneaky benefit to choosing the Dominican Republic: Direct flights can be found from 35 airports in the United States and Canada, so unlike other more remote islands, travel time for North American travelers will be minimal. Once you’ve arrived, the Dominican Republic has so much to offer.

The Dominican Republic has a plethora of terrific resorts to choose from, but the best golf can be found at Casa de Campo in La Romana. The venerable Teeth of the Dog course is the No. 1-ranked course in the Caribbean, according to our most recent ranking of the World’s 100 Greatest Courses. The 1971 Pete Dye course put the Dominican Republic on the map as a golf destination with seven holes directly on the ocean, no more than 20 feet above the surf. Casa de Campo also has two other Dye offerings: a 27-hole course, Dye Fore and The Links. There’d be no reason to leave your resort, if only for playing more outstanding golf.

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LC Lambrecht

Punta Espada and Corales are newer layouts about an hour from Casa de Campo on the eastern shore. Golf fans will be familiar with the Corales course at Puntacana Resort & Club, which has hosted a PGA Tour event for the past five seasons. The 27-hole La Cana Golf Club is also an enjoyable round with 14 holes of ocean views. The Puntacana Resort is a remarkable place, boasting 15,000 acres of land. The Tortuga Bay Hotel is a AAA Five-Diamond oceanfront boutique hotel designed by the late fashion icon Oscar de la Renta. Though the Westin is a bit more affordable, it’s still world-class and a worthwhile spot to stay, particularly for families.

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2010 Stan Badz/PGA TOUR

Punta Espada (opening photo and above), ranked 50th on our world rankings, is a show-stopper. Just 15 minutes south of the airport, the 2006 Jack Nicklaus design boasts eight holes right on the water. It's now the third-best golf course in the Caribbean per our world rankings and it continues to ascend our list. Any trip to the Dominican Republic should include a round at Punta Espada.