Paul Burke Dye, youngest son of Pete and Alice Dye, designed the 18-hole layout at La Estancia Golf Resort and it opened for play in 2008, some thirty-seven years after his father’s celebrated Teeth of the Dog course was unveiled at the nearby Casa de Campo resort.
Set within a residential estate on an undulating landscape near the Chavón River and the beautiful Tanamá ravine, the fairways are routed around a number of canyons and gullies and it’s safe to say that a fair amount of soil was shifted in order to form many of the playing corridors on such difficult terrain.The short par three 5th is a standout hole on the front nine, playing downhill to a raised green that’s perched on the edge of a gorge. Water comes into play at the last two holes on the card; at the 17th, a pond fronts the front right hand side of the putting surface and a small lake runs down the left side of the fairway from tee to green on the home hole.
Estancia is a fun golf course. The first hole is a welcoming par four with a couple of fairway bunkers on each side. The 2nd hole is probably the signature hole. A dogleg right par five over a gorge. At least it was a gorge when we played. I did see a picture where the gorge was a river. It is a reachable par five and if successful you earned it. Off the tee the question is how big is your appetite? The next question is, can you execute? As the fairway bends right a waste bunker just over the gorge starts and is mirrored on the left side of the fairway. Thus, an ideal tee shot is just left of the start of the bunker. This will leave you with a long uphill approach with the gorge right, five bunkers right and five more left. Super golf hole. The first par three is the longest, a robust 236 yards with the gorge right. The 4th is a short valley par four. Good birdie oppty, aim at the middle fairway bunker to set up your flip wedge. The fifth is the shortest par three and it is downhill to boot. Another great birdie oppty. Now things get a wee bit tougher, of the next 4 holes the shortest par four is 449 yards, but they are all pretty straight. The 7th is the shortest par five and definitely reachable. They are all predictable holes with fairway and greenside bunkers where you would expect. The 9th is uphill with a tough two-tiered green.
The back starts with a left leaning birdie hole. Although the green complex is surrounded by 7 bunkers. The 11th is a short slightly downhill par three. The 12th is a par five with a large waste bunker right. Play it as a three shotter as the green sits on a ledge tucked left. The 13th is the shortest par four and is rated the easiest hole. On the 14th there is a ravine carry. Do not get cute and cut too much, there is a rope bunker left if you over cook it and if you get overzealous the ball is gone. The last par three is not really memorable. The longest par five is the 16th at 666 yards. It plays shorter, thank goodness. It slings right and there is a large waste bunker on the right side. Fairway and greenside bunkers are where you would expect them. There are not a lot of water hazards on this course but water is front and center on the last two holes. The 17th is a long par four, pretty straight, but the green is tucked right behind the water hazard. Favor left of center off the tee. The finishing hole sweeps left with water all the way down the left side with the green caressing it. Not surprisingly, there are four fairway bunkers right. Good finishing hole.
Fantastic course. Of all the courses we played in the DR La Estancia had the best greens. I would pay to play here again.
There are some quite superb holes at La Estancia ,maybe 8 or 9 ,about three ordinary holes and the rest very close to excellent .The course has matured very well with excellent fairways and good but rather slow broad grass greens. Bunkers are maintained in first class conditions and the many thousands of palms have all grown very well but do not intrude into the game . I would tighten the par 5 16th up much more but the driving is exciting on most holes. They have an excellent Dominican female course superintendent who has done a great job and in my opinion it is now easily the second best course in the la Romana area behind the Teeth and by far the best value.