The winners of the 10th edition of the Andalucía Golf Challenge-Destination Dominican Republic Ocean’s 4, Bahía Principe will once again receive an exceptional prize this year: an all-inclusive trip including flights, accommodation and golf at Nueva Romana’s superb Bahía Principe resort, which is located in one of the most stunning parts of the island, halfway between Santo Domingo and Punta Cana.
It will be nine intensive days for the five lucky golfers who secure their places on the trip at the grand final, to be held on 21 November at Atalaya Golf & Country Club. In addition to beaches and the Caribbean’s crystalline waters, they will be able to enjoy golf at three of the Dominican Republic’s finest courses: Ocean’s 4 (our hosts), Punta Espada in Cap Cana, and Teeth of The Dog in Casa de Campo.
The Dominican Republic is already a hugely popular destination for Spanish tourists – and is also being transformed into a veritable mecca for golfers.
As soon as you get off the plane in Santo Domingo, or at any other airport, you feel a strange sense of wellbeing: a snap of heat, humidity and aromas... followed by a pleasant sensation that allows you to reflect, “Finally, I’m here – I really like this place”. The people are different, more friendly, more welcoming, less tense. Everything you encounter encourages you to break with your customary routine and joyfully prepare for the pleasures ahead.
Almost immediately the stress evaporates, you leave behind your worries and you almost forget the name of your accountant. In short, you start to enjoy life.
The Dominican Republic has evolved tremendously in recent years, with the infrastructure improving enormously. The roads are no longer what they were, and highways and tollways connect key points of the island. Now it is very easy, fast and safe to move around the country.
The hotel where the winners of the 10th Andalucía Golf Challenge Circuit will be staying is located in the magnificent Nueva Romana complex, just 45 minutes from the capital city’s modern airport, in the tourist heart of the island.
It is accessed from the highway that links Santo Domingo with Punta Cana, via a wide landscaped avenue, surrounded by lush vegetation. There is certainly no lack of space here: everything is huge.
The reception area is luxurious and elegant, extremely spacious and decorated in an exquisite tropical style. The warm, friendly welcome makes you feel immediately at home. This is the best way to start a few days of relaxation in a dream destination: the sublime Dominican Republic experience begins.
From that moment all you need to do is let yourself be pampered, and prepare for the days of golf that await you at the Caribbean’s finest courses, savour the exquisite cuisine and enjoy the surrounding area’s dreamy beaches.
“Our resort”, says the complex’s general manager, Francisco J. Ropero, “is located in a privileged setting on the island, very close to the main airports, both for Santo Domingo and La Romana or Punta Cana. From here, in just a short travel time, you can reach most of the Dominican Republic’s golf courses and the country’s main tourist centres. The capital of the republic is less than an hour away (it is well worth visiting for its colonial area), and the same for Punta Cana, while Samaná is a little further but still a convenient distance.
“We have two different hotels here, connected but clearly differentiated from each other: the Luxury Bahía Principe Bouganville, which is our five-star grand deluxe establishment; and the Gran Bahía Principe La Romana, also five-star but orientated to a more family style. We are part of a macro-project, in the throes of a comprehensive development program, that extends over almost six square kilometres. It already includes, in addition to the two hotels, two golf courses (a nine-hole and an 18-hole), a residential area which will be expanded, a marina, etc.”
The Piñero Group, owner of the Bahía Principe resorts, is one of the most well-established hotel and leisure companies in the Caribbean island. In addition to the superb Nueva Romana complex, its largest concentration of hotels in the Dominican Republic is located in Punta Cana, where it has seven magnificent hotels. Next to them is a golf course that doesn’t actually belong to the group, Punta Blanca, but which can be reached on foot, while nearby are other top courses.
The group also has hotels in Samaná, two of them on the peninsula and another two on Cayo Levantado island. Further north, in Rio San Juan, is the first hotel opened by the group in the Dominican Republic.
Top Golf in the Caribbean
Another great advantage of staying at the resort is that, without leaving the complex and in less than five minutes, you can arrive at its magnificent Ocean’s 4 golf course. The 18-hole course was inaugurated just over two years ago, but already it is well-placed to consolidate its credentials as one of the best and most prestigious golf layouts on the island – which is almost the same as saying in the whole of the Caribbean.
The club, which also has nine par-three holes, is run by a highly experienced golf club manager, Carlos de Linares.
This is the second course that the Piñero Group opened in the Caribbean. They already had another stunning layout in Riviera Maya (Mexico), which last year hosted the winners (and their travelling companions) of the ninth Andalucía Golf Challenge Circuit.
At the helm of the group’s golf division is Vanessa Vignali, a renowned professional golfer who started her career at the same club as Sergio Garcia, the Mediterráneo in Castellón. At 15 she was already a scratch player and, even though she continued with her studies until qualifying as an industrial engineer and then obtained a master’s degree in business management, she decided to become a golf pro and focus on competition play. Golf is her passion and an important part of her life.
“Regarding Ocean’s 4,” she says, “I would highlight, in addition to a great design, its privileged location next to the Caribbean Sea, with four holes running alongside the water – which almost brushes your face when you play them. The beauty and exceptional sensation you have when playing those holes is extraordinary: the turquoise sea, the soft ever-present breeze, the cliffs that sometimes have to be negotiated, the vegetation comprising coconut, almond and sea grape trees... it’s all very special.
“Also,” she adds, “when the course heads inland we have holes with stunningly attractive features and even plenty of water, especially in the corner comprising the second, third and fourth holes. The third is especially attractive, with an island green that presents a major challenge, although it isn’t particularly long.
“The course could not really be defined as links, parkland, desert or Caribbean: it is a mix of all those styles, with considerably different sections. The course combines precise or strategic holes, where you have to think carefully how to play them – and nearly always with two options, one more risky and bold, and the other more conservative but longer – with other wider holes where you can hit the ball with all your power and soul.”