Sitting just outside Puerto Rico’s second largest city of Ponce (“La Perla del Sur”) on the south side of the island, the 27-hole golf complex at Costa Caribe Golf & Country Club opened for play in 2003, promptly hosting the Puerto Rico Open for the next two years.
American architect Bruce A. Besse Jr of Willowbend Golf & Land Design laid out the three loops of nine holes and their palm-fringed fairways wind past a number of man-made water hazards adjacent to the shoreline in a very imaginative routing.
The signature hole on the scorecard is the 188-yard, par three, 12th which plays to an island green. You can be sure, with water all around, that the putting surface from the tee box appears a lot smaller than the average 6,000 square feet area for greens at Costa Caribe.
I played this course before the 2017 hurricane so do not know what the current state of the facility is. This is 100% resort course developed out of former marshland, meaning that water features prominently on most of the holes: generally there's a water hazard on one side of the fairway or the other. The other highly prominent feature of the course was how over watered it was, limiting run and leaving plenty of pitch marks on the greens. Part and parcel of too many American cart golf courses unfortunately.
I played all 27 holes and couldn't really see any distinction between the three nines. They were pretty formulaic but still challenging and tropical golf in Puerto Rico can't ever be a bad thing. Also, we spent a couple of nights in the local town of Ponce de Leon and quite enjoyed it, especially the Spanish 'old town' centre.