Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Casa de Campo Resort Review

Playing the drop dead gorgeous, ocean hugging Teeth of the Dog course...

Dining beach-front at a Le Cirque restaurant...

Dancing the salsa under the stars on an outdoor dance floor...

Sipping private cask rum and smoking a fine Dominican cigar...

Casa de Campo Resort in the Dominican Republic offers the the golf vacation good life in a variety of enticing ways.

Spread out over 7,000 acres on the country's southeast coast, Casa de Campo is a wonderland of magnificent beaches, world-class golf courses, superb restaurants and pampering amenities. The resort makes it super easy to travel the resort grounds on your own by providing each guest room and villa home a four-passenger touring cart ideal for aimless cruising and exploration.

If you're looking for a golf resort vacation that's exotic and unique, I highly suggest this impressive property. What other resort features a recreated 16th century Mediterranean village (Altos de Chavon) with cobblestone streets?

Sitting on a high plateau above the Chavon River, Altos de Chavon is a must visit while you're at Casa de Campo. The coral stone buildings lining the cobblestone streets house restaurants, artists' studios, art galleries and boutiques. If you're lucky, there will be a concert at the 5,000-seat Grecian-style amphitheater, which has hosted superstars like Frank Sinatra, Julio Iglesias, Sting and Andrea Bocelli.
Altos de Chavon

When it's time to tee up, the choices at Casa de Campo are exceptional.

The Teeth of the Dog

If you only play one course in the Caribbean, it should be the Teeth of the Dog, a Pete Dye masterpiece that rivals Pebble Beach Golf Links in setting and beauty.

Feel the ocean spray.



With seven holes playing along the brilliantly colored Caribbean Sea, the Teeth of the Dog is one of the world's great seaside golf experiences. While most of the world's great oceanside courses play along high cliffs, the Teeth of the Dog is ocean level and you'll feel the spray of the waves on a couple of holes.
Teeth of the Dog

The four par threes (5, 7, 13 and 16)-- which is the best collection of short holes I've ever played on a single course--are geniusly designed, scenic and exciting. My favorite is the 176-yard par three No. 5 hole (I played it from the 137-yard blue tees), which requires a shot over a small cove and crashing waves with a wicked sea breeze.
A Breezy Day on the Teeth of the Dog

Another memorable experience was hitting driver into a fierce wind on the par three, 204-yard, No. 16 hole. I played it from the 181-yard blue tees and hit a low screamer that rolled up on the green. It reminded me of my times in Scotland when wind and a driving rainstorm suggested driver was the correct club selection on a par three hole.

Other Golf

While the Teeth of the Dog grabs most of the headlines, the other golf offerings at the resort are exceptional golf experiences as well.

The Dye Fore, a 27-hole layout near Altos de Chavon features three distinctly different nines (Chavon, Marina and Lagos).

The Original Dye Fore (Chavon and Marina), which opened in 2003, sits on top of a 300-foot high cliff offering stunning panoramas of Altos de Chavon and the Casa de Campo marina down below. By all means, don't forget to bring your camera when you play this course. With generous landing areas, it's a great driving course, however, the sometimes wildly undulating fairways result in a variety of different lies. Wind is always a factor on the Dye Fore and the greens, while expansive, require you to hit accurate approach shots to avoid long, arduous putts.
Dye Fore Golf Course

Lagos, the newest nine that debuted in 2011, is aptly named with five holes that wrap around three gigantic lakes. Flatter than the other two nines, Lagos has numerous well placed bunkers to frustrate golfers.

Sitting adjacent to the Teeth of the Dog is the Links Course. Weaving through the interior of the resort, the course seems inappropriately named since its personality is that of a traditional, palm and lakes dotted Caribbean layout. Lakes come into play on five holes and Dye placed numerous bunkers throughout the layout to ensure golfers must think before they hit.
Links Course at Casa de Campo

10 Little Things I Like About Casa de Campo

1. The 5 inch wide shower heads allow you to take a long leisurely shower after a day at the course or the beach.

2. The amazing fresh fruit smoothies at Lago Grille prepared by Digna, a smiling, long time, popular staff member.

3. The individual 4-seater golf cart guests are given during a stay so you can ride around and explore the resort at their leisure.

4. Atlantico, the private cask rum made from the fermented juice of sugarcane and sugarcane molasses  that's available throughout the resort.

5. The homemade Pistachio ice cream you can get as desert at any resort restaurant. There is no way anybody makes a better version than what I enjoyed at the resort.

6. The to-die-for Chilean Sea Bass at La Cana Restaurant overlooking the beautiful swimming pool and spa complex.

7. The Presidente beer on draft served in tall mugs at the 19th hole, which is a great compliment to the giant cheeseburgers there.

8. L'Occitane body lotion in the guest room bathrooms.

9. The amazing Ceasar Salad at the resort's Beach Club Le Cirque restaurant. It has super fresh lettuce and a fried egg encircled by Italian bread.

10. The polo fields where you can watch a polo match and immerse in the Dominican Republic good life.

Accommodations 

The resort has 185 patio and balcony Elite guest rooms and 50 three-to-five bedroom "villa homes".

Amenities include 42-inch flat screen televisions, marble vanities, iPod/iPhone docking stations and an espresso coffee machine.

Each villa home has a private pool, expansive terrace, a private butler, maid, gardener and personal chef, if desired.  
Elite Patio Hotel Room

Dining

There are twenty restaurants in and around Casa de Campo. The three main dining experiences are La Cana by Il Circo (Steak, seafood and fine wine) overlooking the pool and spa area, Lago Grill, a full-service restaurant with alfresco dining where most people enjoy a giant breakfast buffet each day and Beach Club by Le Cirque, an elegant beach front dining experience featuring Le Cirque trained chefs.

Other popular restaurants include La Piazzetta, a gourmet Italian dining experience at Altos de Chavon, La Casita at the marina, where seafood and tapas are the draw and the 19th Hole at the Golf Club. 



Beach Club by Le Cirque

Spa

It has seven therapy room with their own showers, changing areas and patio meditation  gardens. Many of the treatments use Caribbean ingredients. Some of the more intriguing offerings include a Dominican Coffee exfoliation, Fruity-Herbal Body Wrap and Choco Body Mask.
 

Activities

The menu of recreation activities feature something for everybody:
 


* Sunbathing and water activities at a choice of secluded beaches.

* Tennis at La Terraza Tennis Center with 13 Har-Tru Courts.

* Jim McLean Golf School

* Bicycle rentals

* Fitness Center with Cybex equipment, treadmills, stationery bikes, free weights and an area dedicated to improving golf performance.

* Shooting Center with more than 200 stations for sporting clays as well as three trap and skeet layouts.

* Equestrian Center with trial rides, jumping and dressage.

* Polo fields where you can watch matches during the November-May season.

* Water sports such as boating, fishing river sailing, ocean sailing, kayaking, snorkeling and Scuba.

* Supervised children's programs.

 
Getting There

From the U.S., American Airlines has several flights daily from Miami. JetBlue has non-stop service twice a week (Wednesday and Saturday) from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). From Europe, you can fly Condor from France and Blue Panorama and Air Italy from Italy.

Santo Domingo (SDQ) airport is a one-hour drive from Casa de Campo. It is served by American Airlines, American Eagle, United, Delta, Spirit, US Airways, and JetBlue as well as American Eagle via Puerto Rico.

Punta Cana (PUJ) airport is about a 45-minute drive from the resort and is served by American Airlines, United, Delta Airlines, JetBlue, US Airways, LAN Airways and West Jet.

If Want to Visit

To contact Casa de Campo call 1-800-877-3643 or (305) 856-5405

www.casadecampo.com.do

Twitter: @casadecampo
Facebook: Casa de Campo Resort

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Top 10 Golf Cart Rules

If you think some people are lousy golfers, wait till you see them drive a golf cart.

When it comes to slow play, the golf cart, uh, I mean the clueless dolt behind the wheel, is one of the main contributors to this malady.

There's nothing worse than standing on tee box as you scan the fairway and see the twosome ahead of you driving aimlessly looking for a ball or chasing down a beer can that fell out of the cart.

Fact is, if you think lots of people don't know the rules of golf, rest assured, they have no idea about golf cart etiquette.


Here are 10 rules to follow:

1. Don't Sit in the Cart at the Tee Box--Sitting in your cart checking your cellphone for emails or putting on sunscreen while your playing partners are teeing off is rude and unsociable. You should be on the tee showing interest in others and keeping an eye out for wayward drives so you can find them quicker as a group.

2. Don't Drive Recklessly--Slamming on the brakes as you pull up to the next tee box, putting pedal to the metal on a downhill cart path and weaving down the fairway after a few too many brews can result in an injury to you or your passenger. Driving drunk in a golf cart is about as stupid as being blasted in your Beemer on the highway.

3. Don't Drive While Others Are Hitting--Be courteous and don't start driving with your rattling golf clubs during somebody's backswing. They may be a hacker and you might not respect their game, but that doesn't give you a license to be a jerk.  Be patient and let them hit before you hit the pedal.

4. Bring Clubs When In Doubt--There's nothing worse than people who leave the cart on the path, walk across the fairway, hit a crappy shot out of a bunker then realize they need another club. Especially near the green, you need to bring a couple of short irons if you have any doubt about which shot you want to execute.

5. Always Park in the Direction of the Green--Parking sideways on a fairway is especially costly if somebody on the tee happens to launch a long bomb in your direction. You're a sitting duck without protection if you're parked sideways.

6. Obey All Signs--If the sign says "Cart Path Only", guess what, that's what you need to do. It's all about respecting the golf course and the maintenance crew who are trying to keep it in top shape. Same goes for those cart direction signs near the green. Don't disregard them and cozy the cart up to the green. The instant you see them, head for the cart path. Also, when the pro at the club says, "90 degree rule today", don't drive erratically on the fairways and act like you never heard the request.

7. Use The Rake--Hey, you see that rake on the back of the cart. You need to use that to rake bunkers. It's not a decorative amenity. More important, don't forget the rake at the bunker because you'll probably need it again.

8. Be Courteous to Players on Other Holes--Be aware of golfers playing on nearby holes. For instance, don't zoom up to a green when a golfer on an adjacent tee box is hitting and you might disturb his concentration. Don't slam on the brakes while someone nearby on another hole is about to hit.

9. Don't Use Your Cellphone in the Cart--Be aware, the golf cart is not some soundproof room where you can blab endlessly to your wife or the poor slugs back at the office. Don't treat the cart like your "office" on the links where you can close a deal while everybody else is teeing off.

10. Don't Be A Slob--Leaving your golf cart full of empty beer cans, Snickers bar wrappers and cigar butts floating in your half-empty cup of soda just isn't cool. You don't have to leave it spotless, but show some class and respect to the people in the cart barn who have to clean up your mess.

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