I’m truly thankful for the opportunities my hard work on this blog has produced. Case in point today is a course review I’ve been hoping to be able to do for a long, long time. Teeth of the Dog is a Pete Dye design, considered by most to be his masterpiece. That means it beats out other amazing courses Pete Dye designed like TPC Sawgrass (home of THE PLAYERS Championship), Harbour Town Golf Links, Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort, Dye Course at French Lick Resort, Straits Course at Whistling Straits, and Southern Hills Plantation Course. Let’s take a look.
Teeth of the Dog Par-3 5th Hole
Location Location Location
A masterpiece has to start with a great canvas, and boy does this one. The canvas is the southeast shores of the Dominican Republic at the Casa de Campo Resort and Villas. What a place. Casa de Campo is a tropical paradise with tremendous weather, unmatched ocean views, and stunning topography.
Getting there is fairly easy. The Punta Cana International airport is a mere 45 minute drive away. Punta Cana International is a destination most major airlines service, only a few hour flight from the east coast of the USA.
Teeth of the Dog Overview
Ranked #43 in the world and #1 in the Caribbean many times, Teeth of the Dog is 18 salivating inducing holes of great golf, with seven holes right on the water like the par-3 fifth hole pictured above. The course rating from the tips is 76.4 with a slope of 137. That rating means the course is very tough. Thus the “teeth” part. The course features six sets of men’s tees and two sets of women’s tees. Total yardage from the tips is 7,471. I didn’t play the tips. With the high humidity and sea level, that 7,471 would probably play more like 8,500 for Mr. high altitude desert golfer.
Tee shot after tee shot I found myself humbled and amazed and the scenery and course architecture. Pete doesn’t use as much deception off the tee as I thought he would. It isn’t necessary. The golfer can choose to be aggressive or take the conservative route. Executing either strategy properly produces great rewards while poor execution of either strategy comes with the proper level of punishment.
The tee shots on the first few holes aren’t tremendously difficult unless one plays particularly poor shots. Upon reaching the 5th hole that changes. On the par-3 5th there’s no bail-out. Nowhere to miss. It’s either on the green or in the bunker surrounding it and anything worse is watery Caribbean grave.
Tee shots for the next three holes run by the water. Conservative players aim well away while those who want to take a bite off can give it a shot and hope they have enough power to carry their intended line. Holes 9-14 are inland holes the golfer can play more aggressively off the tee. 15-17 require very good tee shots to avoid ocean hazards, a good example is the par-3 16th below.
Teeth of the Dog Hole 16
I found the fairways at TOD to be less sloped and narrow than I thought they would be. If one is able to find the fairway, a good lie is highly likely with very few shots blocked by trees.
Caddies wait in the fairway
The fairways are fairly wide. Missing a fairway will often mean finding the Dye-esque super-long waste bunkers, or the Caribbean.
Here I am below, happy to be on the green!
Putter? I don’t need a putter!
Having played a few of the more “extreme” Pete Dye courses like the Dye Course at French Lick, I found the greens at Teeth of the Dog to be quite manageable. Putting them was enjoyable. Breaks were as they looked like they should be. Not too extreme.
I found the green complexes to be challenging and creative. Strategic bunkering was in play on most approaches to the greens.
Par-5 3rd Green Complex
Perhaps the best part of the the greens for me as that Pete Dye gives the golfer numerous options. The golfer could choose to hit a high shot with a lofted club, or like me, play a more Scottish approach with a putter or bump-and-run type shot.
Golf is best experienced with a great caddie who can support your golf game, gives valuable course management advice, helps with green reading, and provides friendship. I had a great caddie named Soni Pache, who came highly recommended by a friend.
Soni and I are ready to take on Teeth of the Dog!
Soni was fantastic. He helped me keep in in play, gave me great reads on the greens, and clubbed me very well. WHEN you play Teeth of the Dog, get Soni on your bag and give him a real big tip.
The amenities available at Teeth of the Dog and Casa de Campo are endless. The course boasts a great clubhouse, restaurant, locker room, practice facilities and more for the golfer. At about 90 degrees and 90% humidity, I was so thrilled to find showers in the locker room to clean up before going on with my day.
Once the golf is over, there are so many other fantastic ways to enjoy the Caribbean like spending time at the private Casa de Campo beach area (below), exploring the resort, boating, fishing, hiking, working out, shopping and more.
Casa de Campo Private Beach
Teeth of the Dog is a golf bucket list item without a doubt. Make it a point to get to the Dominican Republic and play this stellar golf course. I suggest turning it into a golf buddy trip or a golf getaway with the significant other. The Dominican boasts a ton of great golf courses other than Teeth of the Dog, many are Dye designs.
Secrets Cap Cana Resort and Spa Review
Hooked on Golf Blog Teeth of the Dog Photo Gallery
La Cana Golf Club Review
Recently I moved. I’m still unboxing stuff in the new home. Most would agree, moving is hell. With the move and many other things going on in the non-golf-blog areas, I’ve not played much golf. I think I’ve logged 18 holes in about the last eight weeks, until today. Amazingly, thanks to awesome global warming, there’s no snow on the ground here in northern Utah. The temperatures were in the 60’s this Thanksgiving weekend, and I finally got a game together with my long time partner, and two fairly new and fierce opponents. It was an absolute blast.
Bonneville Golf Course Aerial Photo by Tony Korologos
I thought I’d be very rusty, but somehow found a good rhythm and swing. I hit 80% of my fairways, logged a couple of birdies, and shot 74. That’s my 2nd best round of a very rough year for my game. I had no idea that was coming, and like most would say, it could have been much better.
What made today particularly fun, other than golfing in shorts when normally I’d be skiing, was the match. My partner and I had gotten our wallets cleaned out by these two a few months ago. We needed revenge. Despite my birdie on the first hole, we found ourselves down three early, and finished the first nine down three. We cranked up the heat on our games and I played very well on the back. We won the back 4up which meant we also won the totals bet. It was a huge comeback for us.
Every shot, putt, chip, was intense and pressure packed during the match and it was so fun. I’ve missed that feeling of competing most of this season. It was great to get that back in what might be my last round of 2017. Historically the last round of the year is usually around the first week of December. By then it’s either too cold, or the courses are closed due to snow.
It was quite enjoyable to find some of my lost game today and play some good golf. If the snow does fly, it’s a good round to finish on for the season.
I’m moving in 8 days. HOG World Headquarters is being packed up now. It’s hell. I have a mind-boggling amount of “stuff” to go through, so many golf items. Going through lots of old stuff stirs up old memories, good and bad. The new HWH is going to be nice, but with no basement to store the tons of extra stuff, I have to purge quite a bit.
During this evening’s purge I found this golf ball:
I was playing one of many hundreds of rounds that I’d played with buddy Dave Shields. Dave and I were regulars at River Oaks for a period of time. I was the club president and as such had playing privileges. Dave worked for the course and did as well. He and I played almost every evening for years.
On the 8th hole Dave made a hole-in-one on March 25, 2008. He proceeded to tee off with that ball on the 9th. I stopped him and inquired why he wasn’t saving such a special ball. He didn’t care much about that. So I took it from him and said I’d keep it. I wrote the date, hole and info about the ace on the ball and took it home.
Things changed at the course. I retired from running the league after 7 years and Dave moved on. Four years after the ace I got the terrible news that Dave passed away around November of 2012.
So hats off to you Dave. I still have this ball and I’ll keep it as one of many great memories of our time on the golf course together. FORE!
I had to take a moment to soak in what was happening yesterday. I was in one of those “special golf places” which leaves memories for a lifetime. The contrasting green of Punta Espada Golf Club and the blue waters of the Caribbean were really making me thankful for the opportunities I’ve been able to capitalize on through my 11+ years of hard work on one of the internet’s top golf blogs.
Punta Espada Golf Club is a Jack Nicklaus signature design golf course in the Dominican Republic. Hole after hole lines the Caribbean with dramatic views and thrilling and challenging tee shots over the water. I couldn’t help saying to myself numerous times, “Pebble who?”
I’ve played more Jack Nicklaus courses than I can remember, but this one is different. Many of Jack’s courses can look a little too similar to me, but this one is a one and only, unique experience. Perhaps it’s the terrain. Perhaps Jack was completely in the zone when he designed it. Probably a bit of both.
I’ll be posting my full review in the next few weeks. If you’re planning a Caribbean golf stay and play, I strongly recommend Punta Espada Golf Club.
The day I could write this post has been on my golf blog bucket list for a long, long time. I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to play Pete Dye’s “masterpiece,” Teeth of the Dog in the Dominican Republic. Pete Dye is one of the most famous and respected golf architects in history. You may have heard of some of his other courses like TPC Sawgrass or Harbour Town Golf Links. I could go on.
Teeth of the Dog is located at the resort and beach club Casa de Campo.
Above is the par-3 5th hole, one of three par-3 holes which are by the water. Not sure I can think of a course which has three such stunning par-3’s.
I’m still on location in the Dominican Republic. I leave for the now cold HOG World Headquarters tomorrow with tanned skin, lots of photos, and memories for a lifetime.
Stay tuned for my full Teeth of the Dog review soon.