The Takeaway: The course that put golf on the map in the Caribbean, Teeth of the Dog has seven brilliant coastal holes complemented by 11 solid interior holes. No longer the best course in the Dominican Republic, Pete Dye's legendary course is still bucket list material for any golfer. Grade A
Designer: Pete Dye in 1971
Cost: $215 - $415 Click for current rates
Phone Number: 866-719-8883 or 809-523-8115
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Casa de Campo (Teeth of the Dog)'s official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - Casa de Campo, La Romana, Dominican Republic – DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
What to Expect: While Mid Ocean Club in Bermuda, which opened in 1924, is a course known among golf architecture geeks, Teeth of the Dog at Casa de Campo is the course that truly put golf on the map in the Caribbean when it opened in 1971. Perhaps Pete Dye's best design, and certainly his most acclaimed outside of the United States, Teeth of the Dog enjoys one of the best names in golf and some of its most picturesque holes. In referencing these stunning coastal holes, Dye famously said, "I created 11 holes and God created seven." Perhaps a coincidence that the number of holes God is attributed to coincides with the perfect number from Biblical writing, the par 3s and 4s running along this rocky coast of the Pacific are all postcard worthy. The flagship course of the three found at Casa de Campo Resort on the southern coast of the Dominican Republic, Teeth of the Dog opens up on pretty tame land with the elevated 3rd green being the boldest feature before embarking on the 5th; a short par three on the ocean. The 5th - 8th holes alternate between pars three and four westward down the coast before heading back inland. The following holes make a big westward loop on the flat land north of the coast before looping back for the oceanside 15th - 17th holes (pars 4, 3, 4) that finish off what everyone comes to Teeth of the Dog to experience. Like the 18th at Cypress Point, the closing hole at The Dog can be a let down after such a dramatic stretch of holes, but hey, you have to get back to the clubhouse somehow and I'd rather do it this way then finish on the coast where the clubhouse was taking up real estate that should be dedicated to golf holes. As awesome as the coastal holes are, my one wish is that Pete would have included a par five in the mix. With such beautiful coves and plenty of coastline to work with, a par five could have been created that would rival Pebble Beach's famous closing hole. In the end, Teeth of the Dog has enough Dye features on the inland holes to keep things interesting and coastal holes that rival the best in the world. While Playa Grande and Punta Espada are the new kings of the DR, a visit to the original Caribbean classic is always a treat.
By the Numbers
|Rojo (Red - Women)||72||4827||68.0||118|
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 16th Hole – 183 Yard Par 3 – How do you pick a signature hole at a course that famously has seven of them hugging the Caribbean? But if I have to go with one, I'm going with The Dog's final par three with a total of seven bunkers surrounding the wide but shallow green. Those that have played Whistling Straits will find a similar look and features to the Lake Michigan coastal par threes that have helped make the famed Wisconsin layout a bucket list destination. The sharp edges on the bunkers and on the green above the rocks gives the hole distinct features that compliment the crests of the waves as they roll in. Pin positions on the left side provide a green light to go flag hunting while those perched on the right third are a scarier proposition to be aggressive on with the Caribbean Sea waiting to swallow tee balls that sail off line. Distance control is vital for success here as finding a bunker will leave players with a dreaded sand shot where water rests behind the putting surface. It is a beautiful hole and one of the finest one-shotters in the Caribbean.
Best Par 3: 7th Hole – 227 Yards – The second par three on the front nine, the 7th is much more difficult than the 5th with the tips measuring in at 227 yards with the Caribbean framing the entire left side. The right side of the green is flanked by a quartet of bunkers while the left side features a lengthy meandering bunker that stands as the only buffer between the putting surface and the Atlantic Ocean. The ideal tee shot is a draw that starts safely on the right side of the hole where the most turf exists and then works left over the green towards the day's pin location. If you generally play a cut then you will have to show some serious guts, and commitment, to start the ball over the ocean and work it back towards the flag. With the lava rock providing the edging and the Caribbean being featured as the ultimate hazard, this beautiful hole is part of what makes Teeth of the Dog a bucket list course.
Best Par 4: 17th Hole – 422 Yards – The last hole on the ocean at Teeth of the Dog is the beautiful 17th with water on the right and the fairway bending out further into the ocean the closer to the green you get. A successful tee shot will avoid the trio of bunkers in the driving zone on the left while steering clear of taking a swim in the Atlantic on the right. Tee shots that hug the coastline will have more forgiveness on the approach shot while players bailing out to the left will bring the ocean more into play with their second shot. The approach shot plays to a narrowing green that drifts towards the Caribbean and features a large bunker short and right of the putting surface along with another trio of bunkers on the left. The dramatic setting is equal parts inspiring and intimidating which creates the perfect conclusion to the coastal holes at the Dog.
Best Par 5: 3rd Hole – 526 Yards – All of the coastal holes at Teeth of the Dog are par 3s and 4s, so we had to go inland to identify the best par five and it comes early in the round. The 3rd hole is a reachable par five that runs parallel to, and in the opposite direction of, the 6th and 7th holes. The tee shot needs to thread the bunkers on either side of the fairway with the expansive one on the right featuring two turf islands in the middle of it. The decision to attack this green in two is an interesting one as there are a whopping 11 bunkers within 50 yards of the raised putting surface that is essentially a hybrid volcano green. In addition, there is a cavernous grass bunker fronting the green that can create some challenging scenarios the further up the face your ball finishes. It is brilliantly tempting to take your chances getting home in two, but you better have tons of confidence with the club in your hand when you pull the trigger. The fairway slopes slightly from left to right so you'll want to take that into account if you are laying up so as to position yourself ideally for the pin position. This is a great offering and is evidence that inland holes that still stand tall at a course known so well for its coastal holes.
Birdie Time: 5th Hole – 168 Yard Par 3 – The first hole on the coast is the easiest at Teeth of the Dog, so you need to take advantage of it. Tipping out at just 168 and sitting on a perfect lie, now is the time to go flag hunting and make some memories. Pin tucked on the far left will bring the ocean into play and those on the far right have an overhanging tree to contend with, but with a club in your hand that you should feel confident in, you should mainly be concerned with hitting one tight. The hole is beautiful and plays to a green that essentially acts as a peninsula getting away from the beach out towards the water. A crescent bunker wraps the left side of the green while four bunkers are scattered on the right, but the one deep right should be the only one that comes into play unless things go terribly wrong for you. This is a fantastic hole to start off the heart of the Dog, so card a birdie and kick things off right.
Bogey Beware: 6th Hole – 469 Yard Par 4 – Well, after playing the easiest hole on the course you are thrown into its most difficult. A lengthy par four with ocean on the left and doglegging that direction along the coastline, the 6th will require back-to-back great shots to avoid a bogey. Players who bail out to the right will be faced with a lengthy approach shot to a green that is protected across the front left half with an expansive bunker while a series of palm trees create an amphitheater setting around the green complex. Players that manage to hit a draw that starts at the right edge of the putting surface will maintain a flight over the fairway as long as possible before finding the opening to the green on that side. With the wind often coming into play as it rolls across the ocean, extra care should be given on the tee and approach shots to take a big number out of play. It may be tough, but it might be my favorite at the Dog given the risk/reward elements and the difference that shaping a ball can make on your final score.