Playa Grande Club
It’s the ultimate Mulligan in golf, and this time, well within the rules. Playa Grande Club, in Rio San Juan on the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic, has just emerged from a total makeover and the effect is stunning.
Rees Jones took the course that his father, Robert Trent Jones Sr., designed 20 years ago and turned it virtually upside down, or at least rerouted it closer to the shoreline, with more dramatic and more strategic lines of play along 2.7 miles of rocky bluffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Greens got enlarged, and the entire place got new bunkering, an expanded range, and extensive tree work.
The par-72 layout stretches from 5,230 yards up to 7,259 and sports 10 holes on the water’s edge. None are more spectacular than the finishing stretch, a par 3-4-5 combination that ranks Playa Grande right up there with Pebble Beach for drama.
During the golf-course renovation, the development firm that had taken over the 2,170-acre property in 2007 completely transformed it. Plans call for 39 privately owned residences on the perimeter of the course. The upscale, global hotel network, Aman, was brought in to create Amanera, one of the world’s cushiest, most indulgent resorts. Avid followers of the stylized brand—self-named “Aman Junkies”—will be flocking here to sample its 29 casitas and a main building whose design makes it look as if it’s hovering over the beach.
The course at Playa Grande is open to resort guests and to members of the private golf club. Together, the resort and course create a powerful sensory impact. Infinity-edge pools are impressive. But infinity-edge fairways make this a golf property that sparkles by the sea.
COURSE: For more information about Playa Grande Club, which has its own helipad, visit playagrande.com or call (829) 897-5210.
AIRPORTS: Samaná El Catey International Airport is 47 miles southeast and has a 9,843-foot runway. Puerto Plata Gregorio Luperon International Airport is 48 miles west and has a 10,108-foot runway.
Bradley S. Klein is the architecture editor of Golfweek. His latest book is Wide Open Fairways.