Thirty years after Pete Dye's classic Teeth of the Dog course debuted in 1971, his youngest son Paul Burke completed the construction of La Cana, Punta Cana’s first 18-hole layout. The fairways twist through pockets of real estate, past expansive waste areas and small lakes, visiting the Caribbean coastline on several occasions.
The four shoreline holes are the obvious highlights here. The first of these is the 154-yard 5th, played to a rock-walled green that protrudes out into the sea. Soon after, the beach is reached again when the short par four 7th hole doglegs sharply across a nest of bunkers to the green.
Ponds come into play further inland at holes 11 and 12; the former is a 456-yard, right doglegged par four, the latter a short par three played to a stone-lined island green.
The final visit to the shore at the closing two holes is a masterful exhibition of routing a course to end on a high. Anything hit too far left at either hole will be lost to the waves whilst overly conservative shots to the right are bound to find sand.
The 574-yard 18th features a split fairway that leads to a green measuring all of 72 yards from front to back – what price a five on the scorecard here if the wind is up?
PB Dye later returned to Punta Cana to add a third nine called Hacienda, and this circuit is located inland to the original course which forms the Tortuga and Arrecife loops. Tom Fazio added the wonderful Corales course to the Punta Cana complex in 2010 and it sits a mile to the north east of the La Cana courses.