Review: Hard Rock Golf Club at Cana Bay

Course Name: Hard Rock Golf Club at Cana Bay

Designer: Jack Nicklaus (2010)

Location: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

History: The course opened for play in 2010 and is attached to the Hard Rock Hotel in Punta Cana.

Conditions: 8/10, conditions were very impressive. Lush jungle surrounds fast greens and beautiful fairways.

Value: 2/10, this is a very nice golf course, but doesn’t warrant its $200 fee. If you took this course off the resort, there is no way this price would work.

Scorecard:

Tee             Par         Yardage         Rating           Slope

Black         72           7253                76.1               135

Blue           72           6751                73.7               133

White        72           6247               71.1               122

Red            72           5368                72.1               121

Best Score: 89 (Blue Tees), July, 2012 with Dylan, Uncle Brendan, Uncle Jared, and Dad

Front 9 Best: 46 (Blue Tees), July, 2012 with Dylan, Uncle Brendan, Uncle Jared, and Dad

Back 9 Best: 43 (Blue Tees), July, 2012 with Dylan, Uncle Brendan, Uncle Jared, and Dad

Hole Highlights: This course winds through the Dominican jungle and is a great resort course. Many of the holes blend together but there are definitely some standouts. Hole 4 is their signature hole for good reason. A long uphill par 3 leaves you with long iron in hand and water all along the left side of the hole. Holes 6 and 11 are long par-5s with gigantic native-area like sand traps near the lay-up zone. Any errant ball in these results in almost an automatic double bogey. Hole 9 is a good finishing hole; the long dogleg right par-4 has water all along its right side, making it a true risk/reward hole. A safe drive on the left side of the hole leaves a much longer shot in. After a barrage of long par 4’s and a tiny par 3, hole 18 is another great finishing hole. A dog-leg right with a huge fairway, this par 4 requires a long shot over water to a sloping green.

General Comments: When I played, there were very little people on the course, making pace of play great. The range is also huge and a great place to warm up your driver (which you’ll need)! This course certainly feels like a Jack Nicklaus course, and that is not necessarily a good thing. A truly defining mark of a great course architect is the ability to make courses subtly difficult. Jack’s courses often include ridiculously sloped greens and tiny bunkers right in the middle of the fairway in the landing area. I’m all for a strategic driving hole, but many of the holes on this course are just a gamble (Fitting that it’s a casino resort). While the fairways are very generous, there is almost no room off the fairway. If you were to risk a snake or spider bite and venture into the jungle, you would find hundreds of errant golf balls.

Verdict: This course is a must-play (maybe even twice) if you stay at the resort. With that being said, this is not Teeth of Dog; you go to the resort for the resort here, not the golf course.

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Driver looked like a bad play on this hole
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