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Course Review: Pete Dye’s Teeth of the Dog in the Dominican Republic

Written by: Tony Korologos | Sunday, December 3rd, 2017
Categories: Course ReviewsGolfGolf Course ArchitectureGolf CoursesGolf For WomenGolf LifestyleHOG World TourReviewsTravel
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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

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

Fairway

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.

Green

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.

Caddies

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.

Amenities

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

Casa de Campo Private Beach

Final Thoughts

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.

Related

Secrets Cap Cana Resort and Spa Review

Hooked on Golf Blog Teeth of the Dog Photo Gallery

La Cana Golf Club Review


Galvin Green Dash Insula Pullover Review

Written by: Tony Korologos | Saturday, November 18th, 2017
Categories: Golf ApparelGolf GearReviews
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It’s getting cold here and I’m fully prepared and stylish in my new Galvin Green Dash Insula Pullover jacket.

Galvin Green makes some of the most amazing golf apparel and outerwear on the planet. It’s really several steps above just about anything else out there.

Dash Insula Pullover Overview

The 1/4 zip Dash Insula pullover features a warming layer which helps keep the player (me) warm, which keeps me loose and especially helps prevent muscle strains and injury.  The primary insulation/warming of the Dash is provided by Galvin Green’s INSULA material.

The shoulders and elbows have a thicker padded area which provides more warming effect on crucial, exposed areas.  “Body-mapping” technology was used to determine the areas to pad, and what areas need more optimized breathability to prevent moisture buildup.

The dash is easy to wash and care for, made from 90% Polyester, 10% Elastane.

One very interesting design feature and technology is the front pocket.  It’s good for a cell phone, or smaller, thin item.  The pocket is actually “welded” to the body of the garment.

On The Course

The comfort and fit of the Dash Insula Pullover is perfect.  Not too baggy and not too tight.  Somehow the shaping of the garment can give me a more chiseled look, which I’m happy about.

During the golf swing there is no binding, pulling or stiff areas. The pullover flows with my swing, which isn’t easy to do. It has to bend in multiple bizarre and odd directions!

The performance of the jacket is tremendous. The warmth it provides helps keep me loose and with a bad back which stiffens easily in the cold, that’s a very important quality.

On days where the weather is a wee bit worse or more wet, I’ll use the Dash as a middle layer with another outer layer on top of it.

Final Thoughts

Galvin Green products are of the highest quality and most innovative design in the golf apparel world. Their performance is unsurpassed.  The Dash Insula Pullover enhances the already tremendous Galvin Green lineup as a go-to outerwear piece, or as a middle layer.  If used as a middle layer, it matches up perfectly with the Galvin Green Bart Windstopper Jacket as the outer layer.  Pricing for the Dash Insula is commensurate with it’s quality and performance, about $250 on the street.


TPK Fine Leather Goods, Score Card Holders, Wallets, Golf Bag Tags

Written by: Tony Korologos | Tuesday, October 31st, 2017
Categories: Golf AccessoriesGolf For WomenGolf GearReviews
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TPK Golf at www.tpkgolf.com offers some very nice leather goods and other accessories for golfers and non-golfers alike. Recently I’ve been sporting this very handsome and supple full-grain leather scorecard wallet:

The leather in this wallet is extremely soft and very classy looking. Plus it is light. I don’t like a lot of weight in my pockets when I’m golfing, especially walking. The wallet can hold scorecards and notes of many different sizes and formats and holds the card in place well.

Below is a shot with some other TPK products: card wallets on the left, bag tag and on the right is a wallet, but not just any wallet.

The wallet is called the “Back Saver Wallet,” which instantly got my attention. I have a bad back and the dumbest, smallest things can set it off. Because of that I never keep my wallet in my back pocket, especially if I’m sitting. Sitting with a thick wallet under one cheek makes your whole lower body get out of alignment, curing the lower back. Instant ache or even worse, a tweak.

The Back Saver is extremely thin and helps prevent a bad back from getting set off. Great idea. So far so good for me with my Back Saver, except for those times on the course when I win so much cash that it is too thick. Okay, that never happens.

Final Thoughts

TPK’s products are very classy and elegant. They can do custom logo or name engraving on just about everything they make too. Think about getting your name, company name, favorite college football team (Utah Utes), or pro team embossed onto a scorecard wallet or Back Saver wallet.

The holidays will be coming up before you know it. A custom TPK Golf product with your recipient’s name on it would make a fantastic Christmas gift.


Review: La Cana Golf Club, Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is the golf capitol of the Caribbean with roughly 30 courses, fantastic weather all year (barring a few hurricanes), and great resorts.  The Dominican Republic is a perfect recipe for a golf buddy trip or golf stay and play vacation.

La Cana Golf Club

Location

La Cana Golf Club is located on the east coast of the Dominican Republic, a short drive from the Punta Cana International Airport.  La Cana is a P.B Dye design, the son of famed architect Pete Dye.  There is a heavy Pete Dye influence of course, with some unique architectural twists.  With several other Pete Dye courses on the Dominican, the island could be called “Dye Island.”

Overview

La Cana Golf Club is a 27-hole facility. The three 9-hole courses are named “Tortuga,” “Hacienda,” and “Arrecife.”  I was able to play 18 when I was there, the Hacienda being my front nine and Tortuga the back nine.  There are five sets of tees at La Cana, with the longest tee (black) tipping out at 3483 yards for Tortuga, 3768 yards for Hacienda, and 3676 yards for Arricife.  This is not a short course from the tips, especially at sea level.   Course ratings and slopes will vary depending on which nines are combined for the 18.

Tee

There’s quite a variance in tee shots at La Cana.  Some are quite basic, what you see is what you get.  Some have some deceiving hills and mounds which can hide the fairway or landing areas, making things seem different or tighter than they really are when you arrive to the landing area.  Below is one of the more basic tee looks.

And below one of the more deceiving views, a short par-4 with huge dunes/mounds which hide a sharp dogleg left and wide open approach look at the green, from the right.  That approach is much easier than if the golfer were to take a line at the green off the tee, as it takes the water out of play.  Also notice the small bunker at the bottom of one of the mounds.  It has the look of a Pete Dye “volcano bunker,” as I’ve found on the Pete Dye course at French Lick Resort.

Overall, driving on the Tortuga/Hacienda 18 is not overly difficult unless the shot is so errant that it finds waste or native areas.

Fairway

The fairways at La Cana are fairly forgiving. There are many of the typical Dye waste bunkers that run the length of a few holes as seen below.

In some cases the sand is so hard in the waste areas one could use that to a strategic advantage.  One time I intentionally drove my ball down the waste bunker on a short par-4 and nearly ended up pin high after a long amount of roll.

As mentioned in the tee commentary, most fairways are straight forward with a little movement, but there are a couple of very “quirky” or experimental ones as well.  This is very “Dye-like,” on the Dye courses I’ve played, whether they be P.B Dye or Pete Dye.

Below is another “experimental” section, a large area of mini-dunes.  Somehow I ended up in here.  The lies and stances are quite funky.

If the area above was shaved more like a putting green and not the rough, it would be a carbon copy of the Himalayas putting course in St Andrews.

Green

The green complexes at La Cana present a wide variance of design styles, from the Donald Ross upside down soup bowl type to islands in the sand/water.  The bunkering around the greens flows nicely and provides for some challenging mid-range bunker shots if the green is missed.  Below is a combination of both the wrap-around and soup bowl.

I do like how there are areas around the greens which provide the golfer different and creative ways of getting up and down.  While the shot above may call for a lob wedge, there are run-up areas and collection areas which give the golfer other options, like the Texas wedge (putting off the green) or hitting lower, bump and run type shots.

Above, the obligatory “beautiful green with palm trees and the Caribbean in the background” shot. There are plenty of great views like this.

The most notable and photo-worthy hole of my round was definitely the par-3 5th hole on the Tortuga nine. The entire hole runs along the blue Caribbean waters and the green juts out a bit. I found this hole design very similar to the 17th at Edgewood Tahoe and the 15th at Scotland’s Kingsbarns Golf Links. Those are two of the best par-3’s one might ever play.

Final Thoughts

There are some very strong holes at the P.B. Dye designed La Cana Golf Club in the Dominican Republic. The course flows well and has a very nice feel to it. The ocean views are great and the inland holes are all interesting, with a wee bit of that quirky “Dye” experimental flavor.

Next time you are planning a golf stay and play or a golf buddy trip, consider the Dominican Republic and be sure to put La Cana on the docket. When you are looking for a place to stay nearby, consider the all-inclusive Secrets Cap Cana Resort and Spa.


Bermuda Sands Woodland Golf Polo Review

Written by: Tony Korologos | Friday, October 13th, 2017
Categories: Golf ApparelGolf GearReviews
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It wasn’t quite Bermuda, but I last wore this fantastic Bermuda Sands Woodland Polo while playing golf in the Dominican Republic. I thought it was fitting, pun intended.

Bermuda Sands Woodland Polo

Bermuda Sands Woodland Polo

Woodland Polo Overview

The Woodland Polo is part of the Bermuda Sands fall collection. The materials in this polo are 92% polyester and 8% spandex. No cotton, which is good! These fabrics are so much better than cotton because they breathe, flex, resist wrinkling, don’t shrink, and are easy to care for.

The Woodland’s fabric has a striated heather look (I had to google it to see what it was).  It’s a pattern in the fabric, like grainy or lined look.  It’s very popular these days in golf apparel.

Colors/Sizes

The Woodland is available in five colors: purple (shown here), green, red, gray, blue.

Sizes range from small to triple-extra-large.

On The Course

I’ve worn the Woodland in some very different conditions with great performance and comfort.  Here in northern Utah I’ve worn it in 50 degree fall temperatures.  In the Dominican I wore it in 90 degrees with super-high humidity.  In both situations I was very comfortable.  The Woodland’s moisture wicking fabric really helped.

The fit of the Woodland is great.  There is no binding, pulling, stretching, or limiting of my rotation in the golf swing.

Final Thoughts

The $75 retail Woodland is a classy, stylish, comfortable, and high performance golf polo which competes against polos costing much more.  I highly recommend trying out the Bermuda Sands Woodland.  Upgrade your apparel scripting.


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