Designed by Cynthia Dye McGarey and Luke Dye in 2014, Golf de Déva is the fourth course to open on Grand Terre in New Caledonia and it’s already considered by some to be the island’s best layout.
The course, which is attached to the beachside Sheraton resort, is certainly capable of hosting tournament play, indeed it already has. The Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour first played the Sheraton Deva New Caledonia Women’s International Pro-Am here in 2018 and it proved to be a supreme challenge. Not one lady broke Déva’s par.
With a slope rating of 153 and a back tee measurement of more than 6,600 metres, Déva is a serious test, but with five tees from which to choose the resort course can be enjoyed less strenuously.
Part of the course is routed along the delightful Bourail lagoon, a World Heritage Site, and it’s said that there are 117 bunkers to negotiate throughout the layout – one stretches more than 300 metres to the left of the 9th hole and seventeen traps must be avoided on the par three 11th.
The 200-yard island par three 17th may lack railroad ties and water surrounding the green to be considered a trademark Dye, but the backdrop of the lagoon and a sea of sand to traverse may well allow this hole the signature moniker.
Golf de Déva is certainly a quality layout that will test the best and delight the casual resort golfer. This new facility has put New Caledonia on the map as a very tempting tropical golfing destination..
What this comes down to is whether the designer-name course at the high-end resort is better than the members course in the city: Déva v Tina, for best in New Caledonia.
Being situated 3 hrs from Noumea in a rural area, it's aimed just at the resort market, but the course doesn't feel overly manufactured or overly focussed on guests out for a bit of hit and giggle cart golf. Sure there is that option from the forward tee boxes, but there are also plenty of holes where the serious golfer can really enjoy themselves.
However, whilst the countryside yields nice views; there are some interesting holes; the design ticks enough boxes to be interesting and there are even some holes next to the spectacular lagoon (that cerulean blue colour is real!), the landform is just a little too flat and some of the holes just seemed to blend in with others. Additionally, to only have two holes take advantage of the seaside location of the resort seemed to be a miss. Maybe there was just too much flat scrubland for the designers to work with and that didn't leave the lasting impressions.
It's a very nice golf course and the resort is what you'd expect: not obsequious or extravagent, but very comfortable and local-styled cabin rooms are an interesting highlight. I think if I was ever to travel to New Caledonia again I'd stick to staying in Noumea and playing Tina Golf twice. (along with a day trip out to Ouenghi Golf and a meal at the wonderful restaurant there - book ahead so they know you're coming!)