Robert Birtel is the director of golf operations at Casa de Campo Resort & Villas. Birtel has been a PGA Golf Professional for 15 years and at Casa de Campo for five years.
What's your smash factor?
Since we last caught up, you mentioned the Trackman Studios at the Golf Learning Center. Can you explain how golfers can improve upon their Smash Factor?
Since reopening on July 1, we have been amazed by how many of our residents and guests have taken full advantage of outdoor activities, especially playing golf. We have seen guests learning the game for the first time or dusting off their clubs and getting back into the game.
Our professional staff and Golf Learning Center have been in full force with people taking lessons or having club-fittings in one of our Trackman Studios. New golfers love to ask, “What is the Smash Factor?” Simply, it lets the golfer know how solidly they hit the ball. However, believe it or not, the Smash Factor is the key to improve one’s ball striking. The more a player can hit the ball in the middle of the club will create a better Smash Factor number.
One easy way to improve a Smash Factor rating is to simply swing smoother. It is always fun to see golfers lower their clubhead speed, but see the ball speed increase, resulting in more distance. I hope the next time every golfer is back at Casa de Campo they stop by the Golf Learning Center to examine their Smash Factor!
Do you believe golf travel will come back in a major way?
Yes, I do see golf travel coming back. Avid golfers love to play the best courses in the world and will go to great lengths to do so. Ever since we reopened, the momentum has been rebuilding back to its vibrant state prior to the pandemic. We have had homeowners and guests from all over the U.S. come here to ride out the tough times. They feel much more comfortable at Casa de Campo than at home because of our welcoming people, safety protocols, and open space. After all, “Casa de Campo” means “country house” in Spanish.
When more golfers from around the world return to Casa de Campo, what can they expect as far as changes on and off the golf course?
Each year, we use the offseason to enhance the guest and golf experience. For example, we improve the playing conditions by trimming trees, leveling tee boxes, and improving the cart paths throughout the courses. We have added new lithium battery golf carts at Dye Fore and look forward a new fleet at Teeth of the Dog® very soon as well. When playing Teeth, golfers need to try the fresh-squeezed Dominican fruit juice when they pass the new bars out on the course.
For the non-golfers, Minitas Beach Club has enhanced the guest experience. There is a new menu at the spa and our culinary team continues to create wonderful new dishes. The Marina & Yacht Club, tennis center, shooting club, and Altos de Chavon all remain highlights as well. Everyone will find something to love at Casa de Campo.
The villa lifestyle
What is the best way to experience Casa de Campo right now?
We get asked this question all the time and a villa stay is something that must be tried by all. The villas at Casa de Campo are spectacular. All have personal golf carts to tour the property as well as private terraces and pool areas where people can just relax after a day of fun. Each home comes with maid and butler service and it really is something that must be experienced. The housekeepers and butlers are so warm and friendly; guests have a hard time going home after just a week.
Villas are also perfect for an extended vacation or for working remotely. In this new normal we instituted our “Casa Cares” health and safety program by implementing new procedures and protocols throughout the property to ensure every area is fully compliant with all new health and safety standards and government regulations. So, if you need a break from monotony of life at home, we’d be happy to have you down in La Romana.
What is your most memorable experience on Teeth of the Dog® ?
It is hard to pick just one on that magical course. I feel blessed every time I step foot on Teeth and to be part of the team taking the layout to the next level is truly special.
It’s amazing all the types of people you meet working at a place like Casa de Campo, and having been lucky enough to travel to other courses, there’s something about the mystique here that just cannot be topped.
Just recently, I was speaking with my daughter Eleanor about her time during junior golf. She said, “Oh yes daddy, I went and played a few holes on Teeth.” For one, she said “Teeth” so casually it made me laugh, and two, people wait a lifetime to play that course and she gets to experience it every day.
So, my favorite memory will always be that fact I get to share this wonderful opportunity with my family and it’s something we try to never take for granted.
Share via: More Epicurea Brings Golf & Dining Together for the Ultimate, All-Inclusive Golf Reso...