Above: Ariel view of the 8th tee, 7th green with the 3rd hole in the background
Pete Dye’s Teeth of the Dog has always been on my must-play list, and to say I was disappointed not to play it the first time I visited the Dominican Republic would be an understatement. But with the new road from Punta Cana airport having being laid, Casa De Campo is now only a 45-minute drive away.
As I stand on the first tee, seeing how well the course is presented and manicured, it’s obvious that I’m in for a treat. It’s 3.30pm and the course is empty – what a feeling. I know I will finish as the sun starts to set, and as I smash my drive down the 404-yard opening hole, I look across to the 18th green and know that it will be beautiful.
The par 4, 390-yard 2nd looks stunning from the tee, with the waste bunker running down the left hand side. It's a great driving hole and I’m sure will be one of your favourites – it was certainly one of mine. The 3rd is when you get the first glimpse of the gorgeous azure sea.
The 5th is the first hole that you play over the Caribbean Sea – 176 yards from a slightly elevated back tee to a green that is long and thin. Not only does the green sit out on a peninsula with the sea on the left, but there is also a semi-circular bunker that goes from the back around the left of the green to the front, as well as three further bunkers on the right if you decide to bail out. It’s a great hole.
The 6th is a dogleg left again with the sea running down the left hand side, and from the back tees it’s a 501-yard par 4. But the great holes just keep coming, with another stunning par 3 to a green surrounded by the sea, another semi-circular bunker over water, and four bunkers on the right if again you want to bail out. This one measures 229 yards and at that length is a tough hole.
The 8th follows the sure line and at 414 yards is another hard nut to crack. The front nine comes to a close with the 602-yard par 5 from the back tees. The back nine starts with a run of well-designed inland holes, the pick of these being the 12th and 14th.
The 15th brings you back to the sea and a run of truly stunning holes. Sandwiched between two great par 4s at the 15th and 17th is yet another par 3 over water, and even though this one is 204 yards from the back tees, I felt that visually this one is the toughest of the three par 3s on the sea, but there is a larger bail-out area on the left. Both of the Par 4s have infinity-type greens, and being in the right position off the tee is key, that way you can trust your yardage and hit a full shot into both greens.
The final hole is a tough par 4 of 484 yards from the back tee, with water just short and left of the green and a large bunker that cuts its way into the fairway on the left. And with the trees that surround the green in full bloom – one a bright red – and the orange sun slowly sinking as I putt out, it was the perfect setting to close my round.
Sometimes you can be let down by all the hype, but not this time. Pete Dye has produced a beautiful course in a wonderful location – one that rightly deserves its place in the world’s Top 100 courses.
Ariel view of the 15th green, if the water doesn't get you the bunkers wil.
I loved the tee shot at the 2nd The forgotten par 3 13th!Tough 2nd shot at the 18th
The toughest par 3, the 16th with the Caribbean sea right and bunkers short, long and left!!.