The Takeaway: A 27 hole facility, La Cana is a nice compliment to the more highly touted Corales course. Designed by P.B. Dye, the impressive Arrecife nine features an island green par three and some beautiful coastal holes while the inland Hacienda nine is pretty average. Grade B
Designer: P.B. Dye in 2001
Cost: $140 - $175 Click for current rates
Phone Number: 809-959-4653 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Puntacana Resort & Club (La Cana)'s official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - Resort & Club, Punta Cana 23000, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic – DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
What to Expect: La Cana is the older brother to the more famed Corales course at Puntacana Resort and can be played for about half the cost. The first course in the Dominican Republic to plant paspalum grass which thrives in the sunny conditions and is salt water tolerant, La Cana has 27 holes (Tortuga, Hacienda and Arrecife nines) with the Tortuga course being closed while I was there. Tortuga is one of the original nines and I'm assuming it would be better than Hacienda which is the newest nine and not on the ocean like Tortuga and Arreceife. The Arrecife nine was significantly superior to the Hacienda nine in terms of terrain, design, and overall appeal with P.B. Dye taking players on a journey that includes a nod to his father with an island green and a finish that includes three greens and two entire holes directly on the water. Typical of Dye designed courses, the bunkering can be extreme, unnatural, and overdone at times but it certainly creates a level of memorability. The course is routed through a housing development at times and then through the original terrain and foliage at others, but it is the coastal holes that really grab one’s attention. In the end, La Cana is a great option for the more casual golfer on vacation in the DR, but if you are looking for a PGA Tour level experience then younger brother Corales is available within the resort to test your game.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 3rd (Arrecife) Hole – 146 Yard Par 3 – In a tribute to his parents, P.B. Dye designed an island green reminiscent of the 17th at TPC Sawgrass but this version includes a circle of sand that surrounds the putting surface. A small bunker sits on the left side of the green, but at just 146 yards from the tips you shouldn't be thinking about anything other than going pinseeking. The swooping tee box stretches along the water's edge for an impressive 130 yards, so while the distance won't change much into this green, the angle of attack does.
Best Par 3: 5th (Arrecife) Hole – 239 Yards – A couple of half blind par threes exist on the La Cana course, and this is one of them. A long iron or fairway wood will be the club of choice for this long one-shotter where players hope the flag is on the left side where they can see rather than tucked behind the mound that blocks the right side of the putting surface. A long bunker must be carried off the tee but the mounding all around the green can kick some balls onto the putting surface that came in slightly offline. This hole requires some high quality shot making to leave with a par, so be proud if you walk off with a three.
Best Par 4: 8th (Arrecife) Hole – 394 Yards – While the 7th green introduces players to the ocean, the 8th is the first hole that runs entirely along the coastline. This mid-length two-shotter boasts the Caribbean's stunning blue waters on the left side and seven bunkers to contend with before holing out on the long and narrow green. The bunkers that garner the most attention are the three that best protect the putting surface; an expansive beach-like bunker that fronts the entire green and a pair of pot bunkers just beyond that and catches shots coming up wanting. The Sunday pin placement is in the back left of the green where the green narrows to its tightest point and is threatened by waves crashing into the rocks supporting that side of the putting surface. It is a beautiful hole and an inspiring precursor to the finishing hole.
Best Par 5: 9th (Arrecife) Hole – 574 Yards – The last offering on the Arrecife course is perhaps its most memorable with 574 yards stretching along the Domincan coastline. A sandbelt extends the length of the fairway and creates the only cushion between the short grass and the Caribbean Sea, but the quintet of bunkers that stack up in front of the green create the most interesting sand feature to contend with on the hole. The unconventional bunker system is further complimented by a sixth bunker that encroaches in on the right side of the green creating a kidney shaped putting surface with some interesting pin locations. With nearly a dozen bunkers within 125 yards of the green, Dye does a formidable job of making the layup shot awkward on this hole and challenges players to execute a high risk second shot into the green or to lay back further than traditional scoring distance and take your chances from there. Puntacana Resort has some beautiful holes between the La Cana and Corales courses, and this certainly stacks up with the best of them.
Birdie Time: 6th (Hacienda) Hole – 385 Yard Par 4 – The 6th hole on the Hacienda course presents a unique challenge that may be considered normal only to the Dye's. The tee shot plays to a fairway shielded by a pair of large mounds with a death bunker sitting in the base of one of them. Players must trust their line and hit over the mounds rather than cheating the left side where more visuals are offered but water awaits. The approach shot plays to a green flanked on the left by a pond, so tee shots to the right side of the fairway will have a superior angle but longer distance to the flag. From the shorter left side players will have to carry the water and have little depth to work with, so distance control will be imperative. It is a memorable hole with more strategy than originally meets the eye.
Bogey Beware: 7th (Arrecife) Hole – 484 Yard Par 4 – The 7th is what introduces players to the ocean, but the introduction is a harsh one. Tipping out at 484 yards, this par four plays straight to the water and often into a head wind. A wide fairway with some rock monuments await but where things get tough is around the green. The elevated putting surface features an infinity edge in the back and sloping edges in the front and sides, so there is no forgiveness in your effort to attack the flag. While no bunkers exist to contend with, the length, wind, and green will be plenty to mess with your scorecard. There is no shame in taking bogey here, but buckle up for the final two holes on the coast.
Recommended AccommodationsThe Sanctuary at Los Corales - Located within the gated Los Corales Beach Village development in Punta Cana, The Sanctuary features a high-end condo experience you aren't soon to forget. With six condos to pick from ranging from the convenient ground floor units to the luxurious penthouse offering on the top floor, patrons are spoiled with kitchens that feature stainless steel appliances, elegant flooring, granite countertops, and contemporary cabinetry. From the balcony of the penthouse suites you can soak in the views of the surrounding palm trees that pair with the lovely weather to create a wonderful setting to relax and enjoy. Inside your condo, ceiling fans pair with the high efficiency air conditioning system to keep you at perfect comfort while flat screen TVs with an array of channels deliver endless entertainment options. Speaking of entertainment, The Sanctuary is located within walking distance of white sand beaches, shopping, and a wide variety of restaurants. Most importantly, The Sanctuary is centrally located for accessing Punta Cana's world class golf courses. A quick drive to the south takes you to the famed Corales Golf Course at Puntacana Resort where the PGA Tour visits every March and pairs with its sister course, La Cana, with coastal holes and an island green. 20 minutes to the north will get you to Iberostar Bavaro, Hard Rock at Cana Bay, and Punta Blanca Golf Courses where your all-inclusive experience delivers all the golf, sandwiches, and drinks your heart desires.
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