Whistling Straits (Straits)

Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (Rio San Juan 33000, Dominican Republic)

Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club logo Golf Course Review by: Billy Satterfield

Rankings:  1st       14th      

The Takeaway:  Playa Grande's remote location and ultra high privacy keeps it off the radar for most golfers, but it is without question one of the finest golf courses in the world. With a dramatic coastal setting, impeccable conditioning, and fantastic architecture, Playa Grande is one of the best invitations you can get in golf.  Grade A+

Quick Facts

Designer:  Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1997 and Rees Jones redesign in 2018

Cost:  Private

Phone Number:  809-582-0860

Course Website:  Official Website - Visit Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.

Directions:  Get here! - Highway 5, Cabrera Km 9, Rio San Juan 33000, Dominican Republic – DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Photos:  See additional photos of Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club

What to Expect:  Playa Grande has been regarded as the modern day Pebble Beach, the Caribbean Pebble Beach, or as Michael Jordan's described it, Pebble Beach on steroids. Why? Because the course enjoys one of the most dramatic and spectacular settings one could ever hope for with ocean views all day long and cliff edges that provide an intense setting. Owned by the prestigious Discovery Land Company, Playa Grande is the definition of a luxurious club with high end memberships and every amenity at your disposal. One such amenity is The Point, which is a restaurant and comfort station positioned on the cliff edge next to the all-world par five 4th hole and offers an extensive array of snacks and food options with one of the most impressive views one could ever ask for. You'll also find beverages stored in boxes buried near some greens throughout the round. The routing takes players out to the ocean's edge on the 2nd green and follows the cliff line for the next two holes. Players head inland for a short time before coming back to the ocean for the 7th - 9th holes. After throwing some hatchets at the staged target between nines, players are inland for the 10th - 14th holes, though the approach on the 11th feels like you are on the water. The final four holes have the Atlantic as their primary feature and conclude the round on the exhilarating high one would hope for at such an incredible location. There are several courses that have one hole or one trip to the ocean, but multiple visits to earth's largest water hazard are generally reserved for the most extraordinary of courses; Playa Grande being one of them. With as little of play as the course gets and as dutiful as the maintenance staff is, the Pure Dynasty Paspalum turf is in as impeccable of condition as one would hope for and it certainly adds to the enjoyment of the round. Teeth of the Dog may get all the hype in the Dominican Republic, but make no mistake about it, the top dog is Playa Grande.

By the Numbers

Tees Par Yardage Rating Slope
I 72 7285 75.4 132
II 72 6823 73.0 130
III 72 6269 70.1 127
IIII 72 5781 68.0 118
IIIII (Women) 72 5309 70.5 125

Individual Hole Analysis

Signature Hole:  17th Hole – 168 Yard Par 3 – How do you pick one signature hole at a course that has more signature holes than not?! Alas, one must be selected and it is hard to argue with the beautiful par three 17th. With a backdrop that goes as far as the eye can see, the Atlantic Ocean frames with hole perfectly while a sprawling tree on the left side provides depth and character to the offering. Bunkers are found at the front corners of the peninsula green that is twice as deep as it is wide, so be sure to take enough club to carry to the center of the putting surface and you should be in great shape. With a setting that is nothing short of awe inspiring, it is tough not to have a smile on your face when you walk off this green. Of course if things didn't go so well for you, a box is buried between the green and the cliff edge with some beverages in there to drown your sorrows; but even better would be that they'd be used to celebrate a birdie!

17th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (168 Yard Par 3)
17th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (168 Yard Par 3)

17th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (168 Yard Par 3)
17th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (168 Yard Par 3)

Best Par 3:  7th Hole – 215 Yards – Playing over a beautiful cove formed by a rock cliff wall that rises above the sandy beach below, the 7th hole features a heroic tee shot that is just as fun to execute as it is to lay eyes on. Bunkers flank each side of the putting surface but the biggest concern should be getting an accurate read on how the wind will affect your ball, because anything coming up short will result in your ball working on its tan . . . permanently. It is a dramatic one-shotter in a stunning location that you won't soon forget.

7th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (215 Yard Par 3)
7th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (215 Yard Par 3)

7th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (215 Yard Par 3)
7th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (215 Yard Par 3)

Best Par 4:  9th Hole – 455 Yards – I'll say it right now and without hesitation; this is one of the best par fours in the world. A solid 455 yards from the back tees, this baby dogleg left is formed by the natural coastline and creates a dramatic setting that will wow anyone that steps foot on it. A fairway bunker is found on the right side of the driving zone to steer players away from bailing out completely from the Atlantic that flanks the left side of the fairway. A level of reprieve is offered on the approach shot where a trio of bunkers crescent the left side of the green and can catch balls sailing towards the ocean's edge. The pronounced tier in the putting surface can test your short game when the flag is set in the back left side of the green, so don't lose your concentration after reaching the end of the hole. A beautiful and fair test is what awaits at the 9th, and it is a hole I would never grow tired of playing.

9th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (455 Yard Par 4)
9th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (455 Yard Par 4)

9th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (455 Yard Par 4)
9th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (455 Yard Par 4)

9th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (455 Yard Par 4)
9th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (455 Yard Par 4)

Best Par 5:  4th Hole – 576 Yards – A crescent shaped par five caping around a cove in a similar fashion to Pebble Beach's famed 18th, but curving the opposite direction, the 4th is a stunning offering with the drama mostly hidden on the tee. With driver in hand, players have their focus lasered forward between the trees to a fairway that features a pair of bunkers 300 yards away on the far side of the short grass. From there the fairway banks to the right and steadily curves away from the player to a peninsula green perched on a rocky cliff above the Atlantic. Three trios of bunker are found throughout the hole with the first being a factor off the tee, the next causing havoc in the layup zone, and the third protecting the green. The infinity edge green is accented by a series of trees that add beauty and personality to the impressive approach shot. The 4th hole simply owns some of the most impressive real estate a golf hole has ever been placed on and you'll have a chance to relax and soak in the experience at The Point where chefs standby to grill up a quick snack.

4th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (576 Yard Par 5)
4th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (576 Yard Par 5)

4th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (576 Yard Par 5)
4th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (576 Yard Par 5)

4th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (576 Yard Par 5)
4th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (576 Yard Par 5)

Birdie Time:  8th Hole – 380 Yard Par 4 – As the front nine starts to wind down to an end, Jones gives players a chance to take a stroke back from Old Man Par. This shorter two-shotter features four bunkers, two of which should never come into play as tee shots should fly them without issue. A third bunker sits on the left side just shy of 300 yards out and can catch balls heading towards the ocean. The last bunker reaches the front right corner of the green and beyond the reach of most players which leaves a very generous landing zone for tee shots to fall in. After finding the short grass, players will be left with a wedge into the green and a chance to go pin seeking to a receptive putting surface. With one of the biggest driving zones on the course combined with some of the least yardage to cover, take advantage of this opportunity and card a birdie.

8th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (380 Yard Par 4)
8th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (380 Yard Par 4)

8th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (380 Yard Par 4)
8th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (380 Yard Par 4)

Bogey Beware:  16th Hole – 462 Yard Par 4 – A fishhook par four that curls around an ocean cove, the 16th seems unassuming off the tee but sinks its teeth in quickly. From the back tee box players can see a fairway bunker up the left side but the right side is shielded by the fescue grass hugging that side of the hole. Players who guide their ball too far right from the bunker can discover their ball tumbling down the rocky wall that suspends the fairway above the Atlantic, but staying too close to the bunker will just make the approach shot longer into the green. Speaking of the approach shot, it plays a bit uphill and over a cove with the entire right side of the putting surface flanked by a bunker. While the left side provides a bail out area, the terrain slopes away from the green and punishes players who don't have the guts to go for the flag. Ultimately, there is nowhere to hide on this hole; you have to be long and straight off the tee and deadly accurate on your approach shot to card anything better than a bogey.

16th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (462 Yard Par 4)
16th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (462 Yard Par 4)

16th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (462 Yard Par 4)
16th Hole at Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club (462 Yard Par 4)

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