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Ottawa Citizen

The Ultimate

6 November 2004
Copyright © 2004 Ottawa Citizen. All rights reserved. 

According to Caribbean Travel & Life magazine, these are the best holes from the region's top clubs. Together, they form a fantasy course every snow-bound golfer will be dreaming of this winter.

1. White Witch No. 1

What: Par 5, 550 yards

Where: Ritz-Carleton, Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica

Why: Elevated tees, a drop into a deep swale then a steep climb to a luxuriant green accented by white sand with the indigo sea in the distance.

2. La Cana No. 7

What: Par 4, 326 yards

Where: Punta Cana Seaside Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Why: Its architect calls it a Scottish hecklebirnie, otherwise known as a golfer's purgatory. There is a sharp left turn to the green and the awaiting danger - a patch of moguls, 21 pot bunkers and tall palms that impede a 'fly-in' approach.

3. Green Monkey No. 9

What: Par 5, 635 yards

Where: Sandy Lane in St. James, Barbados

Why: Playing in and out of an old quarry on a hillside overlooking the sea, this hole starts at the rim, drops to a fairway guarded by bunkers and ends at a huge double green.

4. Dye Fore No. 10

What: Par 5, 590 yards

Where: Casa de Campo in La Romana, Dominican Republic

Why: Tee boxes are set on 15-metre-high mounds at the edge of a 90-metre deep river gorge. The fairway follows the rim of the canyon to a green set on the brink.

5. Emerald Bay No. 12

What: Par 4, 418 yards

Where: Four Seasons Emerald Bay at Great Exuma, Bahamas

Why: This course emerges from a maze of inland stone outcroppings, lakes and wetlands to loop along the edge of a rocky peninsula. On the 12th hole, a crosswind blowing in from the ocean narrows the landing area.

6. Ocean Club No. 4

What: Par 4, 456 yards

Where: Paradise Island, Bahamas

Why: This hole challenges with length, wind and a thread-the-needle second shot. The green is on a promontory with the ocean behind and on the right, and sand on the left front.

7. Guavaberry Golf & Country Club No. 13

What: Par 3, 146 yards

Where: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Why: This inland location is peppered with deep sand bunkers, sprawling waste bunkers and coral rock formations. The 13th has water gushing from a greenside pool down a rock wall into a quarry pond.

8. Royal Westmoreland No. 6

What: Par 4, 327 yards

Where: St. James, Barbados

Why: This hole doglegs to an elevated, sloping green surrounded on three sides by high quarry walls.

9. Four Seasons Nevis No. 15

What: Par 5, 663 yards

Where: Nevis

Why: This hole snakes down the side of the long-dormant Mount Nevis volcano. From the championship tee, it's a 240-yard carry over a 45-metre-deep ravine. The right side of the green is shrouded in jungle and drops off 27 metres.

10. Teeth of the Dog No. 16

What: Par 3, 194 yards

Where: Casa de Campo in La Romana, Dominican Republic

Why: Dramatic hole demands a long carry over a coral-studded inlet which resembles the teeth of a dog. When the wind is onshore, salt spray drifts onto the tees and greens.

11. Costa Caribe Golf & Country Club No. 12

What: Par 3, 188 yards

Where: Hilton Ponce & Casino in Ponce, Puerto Rico

Why: It's a 188-yard carry over water to an island green, with the wind adding to the challenge.

12. Tryall Club No. 7

What: Par 4, 434 yards

Where: Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Why: From the back tees, you'll need a rifle-shot drive through the arches of an old aqueduct that once carried water to a sugar mill. (See photo above.)

13. River Course No. 10

What: Par 3, 177 yards

Where: Westin Rio Mar in Palmer, Puerto Rico

Why: A long carry across a lily pond from the back tees. This course is home to a colony of iguanas that like to sun themselves on the greens, including No. 10.

14. Cozumel Country

Club No. 18

What: Par 4, 382 yards

Where: Cozumel, Mexico

Why: This hole demands a 205-yard carry upwind across a mangrove swamp to a landing area bordered by jungle on both sides. The approach leads over another mangrove forest to a two-tiered green.

15. Golf Club at Playacar No. 18

What: Par 5, 530 yards

Where: Palace Hotels in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Why: The architect dodged 200 protected Mayan ruins to route this course through 900 acres of jungle. The 18th is a long dogleg that features several of the magnificent natural cenotes (deep, clear pools in solid rock) that are found throughout the course.

16. Trump International Golf Club No. 13

What: Par 5, 497 yards

Where: Raffles Resort on Canouan Island in the Grenadines.

Why: Perched at the highest point on Canouan, this hole drops precipitously to a tight, unforgiving fairway. Even decent golfers routinely lose 10 to 12 balls per round on this challenging course.

17. Hyatt Dorado Beach East Course No. 4

What: Par 5, 500 yards

Where: Dorado, Puerto Rico

Why: A double dogleg around two water hazards begs the question: Chance two long shots over water, or take the safe route and possibly be faced with a 150-yard third shot?

18. Blue Bay Curacao Golf & Beach Club No. 18

What: Par 4, 470 yards

Where: Curacao

Why: This finishing hole plays along a plateau edged by a sheer drop-off. An angry sea rages against the rocky cliff, flinging clouds of salty mist across the fairway and green.

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