Dye Fore’s Chavon Layout Offers Thrills
Casa de Campo is a virtual “natural museum”
Casa de Campo is a virtual “natural museum” as it showcases the genius and legacy of Pete Dye and the 90 holes of golf he created for the resort. Of course, much of the acclaim deservedly goes to his masterpiece design, Teeth of the Dog, which is widely recognized as the No. 1 course in the Caribbean and continually ranked among the top layouts in the world.
However, Casa de Campo boosts a beyond worthy complement to “Teeth” with the 27 holes of the Dye Fore course next to Altos de Chavón, the highest ground on the 7,000-acre property. The three nines – Chavón, Marina and Lagos – are quite distinct from each together and respectively demonstrate in spades Mr. Dye’s standing as the greatest course architect of the modern era.
Of the trio, the Chavon nine is the most dramatic as Mr. Dye let his imagination roam free on this broad turbulent expanse of land. The undulating terrain rolls spectacularly alongside jutting bluffs with mountain views across the abyss and ocean vistas on the horizon. The cliffs on the edge of the layout cascade more than 300 feet to the tranquil Chavón River below wending its way out to the Caribbean Sea. With reachable par-5s, a drivable par-4, and five holes set hard against the cliff tops, it’s a roller coaster ride of golf and what fun it is!
Perhaps most notably, Mr. Dye created two stellar par-3s on Chavón that would be exceptional anywhere in the golfing world. The third hole of the nine can be stretched to 232 yards from the back tees. A long bunker parallels the vast ravine on the right flank gobbling up shots hit with too much left-to-right spin or perhaps at mercy of the wind at the pinnacle (or both!). The prudent play off the tee is toward the mounds left of the green, but a tough bunker perched into a hillock lurks menacingly. It can be a windy spot there on the high ground, just hang on to your hat and have a go.
Equally compelling is the sixth hole of the nine. At 210 yards from the back, the hole hugs the abrupt overhang down the entire left side. Mr. Dye graciously put in a bunker just left of the perched putting surface that might catch a mishit bound for the verdant wilds bordering the waterway below. Aiming too far right to avoid the trouble left is no picnic either as an up-and-down from the starboard side presents low odds at best. Again, it typifies the design genius of Mr. Dye with firm decisions required and something close to good execution needed for hopes of a par. No matter the score on the card, it’s a joy to try and tackle.
The Chavón nine also now showcases the results on a new state-of-the-art irrigation system with lush green fairways and smooth putting surfaces. At Dye Fore, the Marina and Lagos sides are not to be missed either. After the round, have a drink at the friendly open-air 19th hole and savor the mesmerizing Dominican Republic views. It’s all so very, very good.