The Top 5 Golf Courses in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico has long been an American tourist’s paradise: it has all of the adventure of a foreign country and all of the color of a Caribbean getaway, but without the hassles of currency exchange or customs forms. The island’s golf scene is no different, with the beautiful vistas of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, but all the luxuries one would come to expect from the mainland’s finest establishments.
It’s hard to narrow the list of fine Puerto Rican golf courses down to a top five, but these beautiful courses (or course complexes) truly do speak for themselves:
- The Former “Rock Resort,” Hyatt’s two-resort, four-course golf complex used to belong to Laurence Rockefeller—yes, of those Rockefellers—and was recently refurbished. The Hyatt Regency Dorado Beach Resort and Hyatt Regency Beach Resort and Casino share the four Robert Trent Jones, Sr. courses between them. They all measure around 7,000 yards from the back tees, and include plenty of sand and water hazards
. Chi Chi Rodriguez owns a home on the North Course’s 8th hole, and Jack Nicklaus once referred to the East Course’s 4th as one of the world’s toughest holes. All four courses have been recently renovated, but maintain Jones’s original vision.
- The Golf Links At Royal Isabela. As the name suggests, this course is much like a links, and its location on the seaside is very reminiscent of the Scottish and English courses that characterized the early days of the sport. Visitors to the course will be surrounded with the most beautiful and breathtaking coastal surroundings. Royal Isabela is a bit out of the way—70 miles from San Juan in the northwest corner of the island—but it’s worth the trip.
- Bahía Beach Resort and Golf Club. While the Royal Isabela was all about the coast, the Bahía Beach course is set with El Yunque National Rainforest as its backdrop. Palms and lush greenery surround the course, and the grounds are kept with an ecological philosophy in mind, so golfing at Bahía is quite a bit like golfing on a nature preserve. The course was refurbished by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. in 2007.
- Doral Palmas Del Mar. If you can’t choose between the seaside and the nature preserve feel, Palmas Del Mar might just be the right place for you. With two courses, one designed by Gary Player and the other designed by Rees Jones, the Palmas courses take you through wetlands and marshes, along the shore, and across a river.
- Wyndham El Conquistador Resort and Country Club. This is the place the rich and famous play: Bill Murray, Sharon Stone, former president George Bush, and Gloria Estefan have all been sighted here. The Arthur Hills course rises and falls quite dramatically, and treats the player to amazing sights while dealing punishment in the form of a 5th hole with a breeze that has been known to knock balls dead to the ground.
Of course, there are plenty of great places to golf that we haven’t been able to mention—take these five as a jumping-off point for your own Puerto Rican golf adventure. Make sure to plan accordingly for all trips abroad, and consider trip insurance for your next adventure!