La Romana, D.R. (Feb. 26, 2013) – From their earliest days together to the present, Pete Dye and Casa de Campo are inexorably linked. They would have it no other way.
Casa de Campo, featuring the region’s No. 1-ranked golf course, has recognized its golf course architect by naming the popular Golf Lodge in his honor. Dye, who has designed 63 holes at the Caribbean’s leading resort, was introduced to the Dominican Republic in the late 1960s by Gulf and Western, which wanted to invest in the local economy. Among their plans was a world-class golf facility that would launch the country’s tourism industry. Dye was asked to help find the perfect location for this first resort.
He pointed them to the thousands of acres of inhospitable land the company owned near La Romana on the country’s southern coast. Site of the most productive sugar mill in the world, the soil was too dry for growing cane and too sparse for cattle grazing, while also overgrown with thick underbrush, rocks, and cactus. But it was close to the sea, a characteristic of the great Scottish courses Dye had toured just a few years before.
Under Dye’s leadership, some 300 locals worked with hand tools and ox carts to turn the hellish land into a heavenly site for a golf course. The area originally was given the name “Cajuiles,” for the cashew trees that grew on the surrounding mountains. But Dye overheard the workers referring to the sharp coral rock underfoot as “diente del perro,” or “Teeth of the Dog.” The course, which opened in 1971, had its name.
And the new resort had its calling card, a magnificent course along the Caribbean Sea that mixes the best of classic strategic architecture with tropical beauty. Since it opened, “The Dog” has ranked near the top of every list of the world’s great courses. Dye—who maintains a home on property—continues to play and tweak his design, keeping it up to date both architecturally and agronomically.
The Pete Dye Golf Lodge – 64 individual units – features décor with rich mahogany woods, richly appointed furnishings and a wide array of technological comforts, including flat screen television, complimentary wireless and iPod docking station.
Dye unveiled other courses at Casa de Campo over the decades. The Links—located next to The Dog, and slightly more inland—opened in 1976. It was followed by Dye Fore, three nines that spread big and wide across the cliffs at the other end of the resort, some 300 feet about the Chavon River; the Marina and Chavon nines opened in 2003, the Lakes nine in 2011. Dye also was responsible for the private La Romana Country Club, which was unveiled in 1990.
Both Teeth of the Dog and The Links were recently renovated under Pete Dye’s guidance. The final nine holes of Dye Fore (Lagos – The Lakes) opened in 2012. As well, more than $40 million has been spent upgrading many other parts of the 7,000-acre resort, including new restaurants, public areas, and the main pool deck.
No surprise, then, that Casa de Campo was recently named the Caribbean’s Leading Golf Resort, for the fifth consecutive year, at the Caribbean and Americas 2012 World Travel Awards. The resort also was named among the top 20 family and top 20 golf resorts by the readers of Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report travel newsletter.