These may be the only places in the Caribbean and Mexico where you go out of your way to avoid the sand. Indeed, the islands and towns that make up these regions offer some of the world’s most beautiful golf courses; something that many Canadians already know very well, returning year after year for a little fun in the sun and on the greens.
While there are plenty of amazing independent courses in the Caribbean and Mexico, there are also many that are affiliated with resorts, giving you the best of both worlds – world-class golf and world-class hospitality. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of some of our favourite golf resorts!
This stunning 7,000-acre hotel, resort and residential community in La Romana on the Dominican Republic’s southeast coast, offers a unique array of amenities, including three championship golf courses. The pièce de résistance of course, is the Pete Dye masterpiece, Teeth of the Dog, the #1 ranked course in the Caribbean and the #52 ranked course in the world. Hand carved from the rugged rock and coral of the Dominican coastline, this is no walk in the park and will bite (pardon the pun), but your efforts will be rewarded with 18 jaw-droppingly-beautiful holes – including seven right along the ocean that Dye himself has said were “created by God”… you be the judge.
Enjoy all the amenities, services and facilities of the larger Half Moon resort while enjoying the privacy and seclusion, and ambiance of a private home, offered by the Royal Villas. Offering four, five, six and seven-bedroom units, each Villa here is staffed with a butler, cook and housekeeper. What’s more, it is on these grounds where you’ll find Half Moon Golf Course, one of the Caribbean’s signature courses. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., and later renovated by Roger Rulewich, a number of PGA professional tournaments have been held here. Also nearby are the White Witch and Cinnamon Hill golf courses, both designed by Robert Van Hagge and Rick Baril. The White Witch is notable for its spectacular elevated location covering 200 acres with 16 of the 18 holes offering panoramic sea views, and at Cinnamon Hill, the highlight is the 17th hole, which sits 107 metres (350 feet) above the ocean.
Located among the idyllic waters of the Exumas, Sandals Emerald Bay brings unprecedented luxury to the easy-going rhythms of the Bahamian Out Islands. Nestled within 500 tropical acres and sitting adjacent to a pristine, talc-soft, 1.6 km-long beach, the resort features three impressive pools – including a half-acre, zero-entry pool with a dramatic fire pit in the middle – Sandals’ signature Red Lane Spa, seven exceptional restaurants, and for golfers, the award-winning, Greg Norman-designed Sandals Emerald Reef Golf Club. Recognized as one of the most scenic ocean-side golf courses in the Caribbean, and renowned for its challenging fairways, this is a golfer’s paradise. For the ultimate experience, upgrade to a Butler Suite – you’ll not only enjoy the impeccable services of a personal butler but guests of these suites also enjoy unlimited rounds of golf!
This all-inclusive and adults-only resort is part of Iberostar’s luxe ‘Grand Collection’ and boy oh boy does it live up to that name. Stylish and luxurious on the Riviera Maya’s sun-drenched shores, the Grand Paraiso has been meticulously designed and prides itself on offering first-rate, personalized service. Enjoy fine dining, sumptuous spa treatments, spacious suites, and days on the green at the Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf Club, a P.B. Dye masterpiece. Carved out of the ancient Mayan jungle, this course has many of the traits of a typical Dye design – narrow fairways, deep bunkers, extreme vertical movement and untraditional hazards – that combine to make the course distinctively different from others in the area. And while the course boats world-class conditions and amenities, it is one of the best values in golf.
Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar Golf & Spa Resort
Tucked away alongside the brilliant white sands of the private Tortuga Beach, this upscale, all-inclusive oceanfront hotel with its colourful Mediterranean architecture, is a perfect home base for any Los Cabos vacation. Boasting amply-sized rooms that feature classic Old Mexico flair and private balconies, there’s also a full-service spa here, five pools, five restaurants, kids’ club, and breathtaking Pacific Ocean views from the lush fairways of Cabo del Sol’s Ocean and Desert golf courses. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, the celebrated Ocean Course offers 18 holes of championship golf, while the gently rolling terrain, ocean views and dramatic desert-like landscape of the Desert Course promises an extraordinary 18 holes of golf.
We have focused on the resorts, but there are also golf opportunities at sea!
NCL’s Pride of America offers seven-day Hawaii cruise itineraries that travel round-trip out of Honolulu and gives guests the amazing opportunity to island hop and play golf on some of the very best courses in the region. Sailing to the islands of Kauai, Hawaii, Oahu and Maui, along with having a chance to discover the amazing natural wonders here – the cascading waterfalls, active volcanoes, black, green and white sand beaches, and so much more – for those who want to golf, each day will hold a new adventure. Choose from 15 courses and play every day if you want!