Tweaks coming to Bahia Beach Resort & Golf Club in Puerto Rico

RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico -- The Bahia Beach Resort & Golf Club is under the knife for the second time in six years.

In 2008, Robert Trent Jones Jr. reinvented a tired layout by rerouting four new holes, renovating bunkers to simulate ocean waves and reshaping turf on the tees, greens and fairways to add character to previously flat terrain. New lagoons connected to existing water hazards allow kayakers from the St. Regis hotel next door to share its scenic, secluded setting in the dense jungle.

Collectively, the changes enhanced this Certified Gold Audubon International Signature Sanctuary managed by Troon Golf into one of the best golf courses in the Caribbean, not just Puerto Rico.

Whether Bahia Beach improves with the latest round of updates can certainly be debated. The 16th hole is being shortened from a reachable downwind par 5 into a tougher par 4 with a new green closer to the beach. The new 17th hole will move inland to introduce a stout par 3 over water, playing roughly 225 yards. It might be a better and more difficult hole than the current 222-yard par 3, but losing that ocean frontage to development could detract from the experience.

Both holes should be ready for play by August, said Alberto Rios, the director of golf at Bahia Beach.

"It will be better," he promised.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Tweaks coming to Bahia Beach Resort & Golf Club in Puerto Rico
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