The extensive Palmas del Mar resort on Puerto Rico’s east coast is one of the biggest in the Caribbean with a broad spectrum of fantastic sporting facilities. It boasts a deep-water marina, equestrian centre, 20-court tennis centre and beach club – all designed to keep visitors happily occupied whilst on vacation.
There are also two fine championship courses at Palmas Athletic Club; the Rees Jones-designed Flamboyán, which opened in the late 1990s and the 6,675-yard Palm, a par 71 track that was originally laid out by Gary Player and Ron Kirby in 1974 but was subsequently reworked by Jones when he created three new holes and revamped several others.
Lush fairways, routed over gently rolling terrain, are a little tight in places and water hazards, in the shape of inland lagoons, come into play at eight of the holes on the scorecard. Greens are not the largest you’ll find so accurate approach play is a must on the Palm course.
The iconic television series “Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf” began in the 1960s, showing challenge matches between two professional players. One of five such televised ties recorded in 1995 was played on the Palm course at Palmas del Mar between local hero Chi Chi Rodriquez and the ever-popular Lee Trevino – what an entertaining game that must have been for viewers.
The Palm is much tighter than its sister course, especially on the front side. It is a Player design and plays to a par 71. If you are there, you might as well play it. It was shoulder shrug to me. playing golf on a mediocre course beats a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.