Casa de Campo - Dye Fore Lakes
Dye Fore - Lakes nine good but not great
I played the Lakes-Marina combo, which is the reason I only gave it four stars (compared to my five-star review back in December of 2017). The Lakes is a good test with lots of water, but it doesn't feature the drama and scenery of the Chavon nine.
What has improved since my last visit is the expansion of the clubhouse at Dye Fore, which was under construction. The clubhouse and patio are now a great spot to hang out after golf. Our large outing dined on an impressive spread of food catered outdoors overlooking the river gorge.
Yes, Teeth of the Dog deserves its praise, but don't miss Dye Fore if staying at Casa de Campo.
I didn't realize just how different Dye Fore would be vs. the original Teeth of Dog at Casa De Campo. The environment, while away from the ocean, is in many ways just as dramatic. The Marina nine has some wonderful views of the shore and river from high above, while the Chavon nine tip-toes high above the river. I hit it around as good as I have all year on the course too, so that certainly gives me even greater fondness for the layout.
In terms of ranking the courses I played between Punta Cana & La Romana, this checks in 4th behind Teeth, Punta Espada and Corales, but it is every bit as worthy of five stars, simply because all the seaside courses are so much different and don't have the kind of lofty perspective Dye Fore has. Don't leave Casa de Campo without playing it.
By the way, the new Dye Fore clubhouse will be open by early 2018. I would also highly recommend an italian dinner at PIAZZETTA at Altos de Chavon nearby. Excellent!
What a contrast to Teeth of the Dog
There are a lot of things to love about Dye Fore, but perhaps the most important is the sheer contrast compared to the Teeth of the Dog.
Each nine is distinct. The Chavon nine is my favorite. Its most dramatic holes hug 300-foot cliffs that tumble to the jungle and river below. The views from the Marina nine are completely different. Its best holes sweep downhill with vistas extending to the sea. The third, newer nine is solid, but not nearly as scenic.
Even though I'm not a fan of every hole on Dye Fore, I gave it five stars for two reasons: 1, I liked it more than the first time around, and 2, to balance out my earlier four-star review from a few years ago. It's probably a 4.8-star course. It's so good that it's unfair to call it a secondary course, even if that's essentially its place at Casa de Campo.
The opposite of Teeth and a blast in its own right
While Teeth of the Dog remains the standard in the Dominican Republic, Dye Fore was the shot in the arm this resort needed when it was built a few years ago. With much more dramatic terrain and plenty of ocean, mountain and river views, this course doesn't take a back seat to Teeth; it complements it. In fact, if you just stayed here at Casa de Campo and played these two courses (though I would recommend Punta Cana as well), your golf vacation would be extremely memorable. I love the elevated tees where you can see for miles and the uphill and downhill shots you get out here. The greens are pretty interesting, too.
What an experience ! It was for me the first time with a caddy - and I got a great caddy. After having seen me practicing, once on the course, it was him selecting for me the right club. At the beginning I felt a bit uneasy, but I soon learned to trust him and I never played so good in a place I played for the first time. On the second nine the views over the Rio Chavon are really scenic. And the game becomes really exciting when your tee shot flies over the brim a side canyon and lands on the green just over the opposite brim. Thanks to caddie's advice I ended up with a birdie I will never forget (and it was not the only one that day, and the caddy proved to be a valuable assistant). I never spent so much for a golf round but it was worth the experience.
Dye Fore: Almost as good as the Teeth of the Dog
Playing the Chavon-Marina loop of the Dye Fore makes for a fantastic day of golf almost on par with the Teeth of the Dog. The views from several tees on the Marina nine are special. So are the dramatic holes of the Chavon nine that play along 300-foot cliffs above the Chavon River. The newer Lagos nine that opened in 2011 provides perfectly good golf, but it still feels like an afterthought, hidden well beyond the driving range. It was empty the afternoon I played it. The Dye Fore is a good 10-minute shuttle ride from the main resort, so build a half-hour into your schedule before and after the round just to be safe.
Expensive challenge. Great second choice course for resort
Played this course twice when visiting Casa de Campo. During the off-season, the place is absolutely dead. Teeing off in the afternoon, you might be the fifth person to play all day. As a result, many of the courses are closed in the off-season. When I was there, the lakes and cliffs 9 holes were open (there's a bay 9 hole as well). The lakes side is newer and a pretty good flat 9, but you feel a little bit like you're in the middle of nowhere. The cliffs 9 holes was absolutely stunning with many river views and the fear of losing your ball off the end of the world. Only downside was that the greens are very different between the two areas. The range is up by the lakes course and features grass tees and plenty of room.