Tierra del Sol is situated on the stunning northwestern corner of Aruba where the Caribbean Sea glistens in an ever-present fashion. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jnr., this is a desert course with panoramic ocean views. It opened for play in 1995 and it’s a cracker.
Measuring 6,811 yards from the tips, Tierra del Sol is a challenging course, especially when the trade winds are freshening. It’s the finest course on the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) and a downwind par five eases you gently into your round. Look out for the natural coral rock outcrops on the 2nd hole, a lovely par four. The 3rd is a brilliant par three and perhaps the signature hole on the course. Measuring 180 yards from the back tees, aim on the right edge of the green and let the trade winds do the rest.
The 7th is another lovely par three and a difficult one too with the breeze from the California Dunes. Take an extra club or two. In fact the par threes here at Tierra del Sol are very strong indeed and the 15th is quite spectacular which demands an accurate tee shot across a lake.
If you can avoid the desert outcrops, the many bunkers and the numerous water hazards and you can negotiate your way through the trade winds, then you might score well. If you can’t, you’ll still enjoy Tierra del Sol, it’s a great course on the wonderful hot Caribbean Island of Aruba.
Played Tierra del Sol in May 2019. I knew absolutely nothing about Aruba golf courses when I decided to visit for the first time. What I quickly learned about Aruba is that the island is very windy. And that is an understatement. In fact, the wind averages 12 - 21 miles per hour year-round (22- 31 kilometres). Meanwhile, among the Caribbean islands, Aruba has the least amount of rainfall. That's because the island is situated outside the fringes of the hurricane zone. Which means you're practically guaranteed a sunny day in Aruba. The wind is a blessing as the average temperature every day is 82 degrees (28 degrees Celsius). This makes visiting Aruba an unforgettable vacation spot.
Tierra del is not like many of the other golf courses I've become accustomed to playing in the Caribbean. It is not lush and green. Instead, the golf course like the rest of the island is dry and arid. But you won't be disappointed.
At Tierra del Sol on the front 9 is more of an ocean layout while the back 9 is a desert layout with plenty of beautiful ocean views. The course is very fair if you hit fairways. The rough is Bermuda grass which can be difficult to get out of.
I played from the blue tees which at times was a real chore, at one point due to the wind I moved up to play another tee box to make sure not to lose any more balls.
There is plenty of wind but the course is set up to help you cope with it.The easier shorter holes play into the wind, while longer holes downwind. There are holes where it's possible to make birdies and holes where you're happy to just make par.
Dave Elliott is with https://caribbean-golf-getaways.com/
I find this course to be very enjoyable and well worth the effort if you happen to be in Aruba. As mentioned in the below reviews the course is constantly buffeted by strong winds however it is cleverly designed to minimize the impact most of the long holes play downwind while the holes into the wind are partially sheltered by mounding with the exception of the 4th which is brutal despite being a short par 4.
The front nine looks and plays like a desert links and is more affected by the wind than the back fortunately the first 3 holes are downwind par 5, par 4 then a par 3 it is possible to get off to a flying start if playing well the par 3 is quite picturesque with the lighthouse off to the side. The 4th and 5th turn back into the wind and the rest of the front nine plays back and forth either wind behind or against there are very few shots with a side wind on the front nine which is probably a good thing. The holes finishing the front nine will be the closest you get to the ocean during the round.
The back nine starts with a very elevated tee next to the half way house and has a brilliant view for miles around, Aruba is a very flat island and from this vantage point you can see a great deal of it along with some of the clearest water you will ever see. The best holes on the back 9 are 14 and 15 the 14th is a tough par 5 with the wind against and from the side the last half of the hole has a lagoon running down the left side and that is the direction the wind is going. The 15th is a par 3 with the lagoon covering the front and right side of the green often you need to aim out into the water and trust that the wind will bring it back onto the green.
I have played Tierre Del Sol numerous times and the service has always been good all of the carts have GPS which helps my scoring immensely I’m not sure if carts are mandatory however I’ve never seen anyone walking.