Altos de Chavon

Remembering Casa de Campo: By Helder Colaço

This post is also available in: Spanish

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This beautiful article was sent to us from Helder Colaço, who was here in Casa de Campo in October 2009 shooting video footage for a German Golf documentary – it seems Helder fell in love with the place (understandably) and was inspired to write this article about his experience here. I met Helder at the Casa de Campo Dude Ranch, when he was filming horse-riding, to read about our horse-riding adventure, click here.

On the first promising morning in the Dominican Republic, at Casa de Campo, I woke up with the sound of a Hispaniolan Woodpecker picking on a palm tree. Curious I stepped out, but the only birds I could see were a Northern Mockingbird and a glimpse of a little glittering-throated Emerald, realising that this intact coastal ecosystem provides prime habitat for hundreds of species and a rich biodiversity.

But I did not fly all the thousands of miles from Europe for bird watching – after researching in the internet about a tiny little green bird, only as big as my little finger, I almost lost my tee time at Teeth of the Dog – which I would never forgive myself on this fourth attempt to discover one of the most diverse and scenic designs in the world of golf – one of my all time favorites you must play before you “Dye”.

An indescribable paradise of coconut palms, mangos, tropical gardens and golden sunshine embraced us with warm welcome to the unparalleled facilities of the area, culminating to the precedent for a distinguished and complete Caribbean country club experience for the entire family.

We were spoiled for choice with so many restaurants — a very convenient type of all-inclusive entitled us to be served à la carte rather than standing in front of a buffet. The food tasted delicious and fresh, perhaps due to the fact that Casa de Campo grows a herb garden and uses organic vegetables at the Beach Club, El Chinois, La Piazetta and La Casita restaurants, where we really could not resist the temptation to give up our diets for a while.

The Beach Club by Le Cirque on Playa Minitas
The Beach Club by Le Cirque - casa de campo living

However, this kind of paradise is a mind frame, different for every individual. Visiting the Caribbean despite no intention to settling down, one simply must fall in love and feel closer to paradise, when making the first steps on a largely uninhabited palm-fringed coastline of La Romana, discovering the charms, the attention to detail and the philosophy of Casa de Campo’s tranquility. On a luxurious charter yacht we savored the glimpse of the promising landscape, followed by flying fish, known to us Europeans only in school books, just like the deserted white beaches fringed with luxuriant greenery and lapped by a pellucid and operatic impact of the peppermint sea.

There is only one place to be when it comes to the Caribbean in golfing terms. Starting with The Links, continuing with Teeth of The Dog and finishing with Dye Fore is a triple-header that no golf enthusiast should miss.

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The temptation to describe every single hole and shot, the birdies and triple bogeys, is high, but resuming, Teeth of the Dog forces you to use every single club you have in your bag, inviting you to think your way around and to shape the ball in order to score. It could be described as the Pebble Beach of the Caribbean. Putting superlatives aside, it is a stunning and graceful golfing sanctuary, offering the widest range of activities in the Caribbean. Blessed with abundant design delights, Teeth of the Dog leaves you smiling, even after smashing a couple of balls into the Caribbean sea.

Hole #8, Teeth of the Dog
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Dye Fore is a different challenge. Erected high on a cliff, it boasts spectacular golf, overlooking the Chavon river and the Marina, bisected by a verdant hill and sun-soaked ocean panorama. An inviting picturesque Mediterranean village blends it’s silhouette into the deep blue sky and the shade of a capacious terrace, perfectly suited for maximum perspective.

The Dye Fore golf course
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While I tried to stop worrying about what every single inch of my body was doing during the swing, moving and co-coordinating more than 200 muscles in a fraction of a second – there is really no such thing as the perfect shot – I looked up, stepped back and out of my routine to have a closer look around. The warm colors of the sunset covered the majestic Altos de Chavón in a romantic doublé frame of intense blue and green.

A Grecian-style 5,000-seat outdoor amphitheatre became the perfect site where the stars love to perform. An endless list of celebrities lines up in the guest book of Casa de Campo. Names like Scott Hoch, John Daly, Placido Domingo, Bill Clinton, Jasper Parnevick (shot a 61 on Teeth of the Dog), Fred Couples, Robert Redford, George Bush Senior – to name but a few. High above the Chavon river rises this 16th century replica of a Mediterranean village, comprising art galleries, exclusive boutiques, quaint shops and a variety of restaurants. Strolling through the cobblestone streets of the old village we discovered a little chapel named Saint Stanislaus Church – a magical location for the perfect wedding.

View of the Chavon River from Altos de Chavon
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But a vacation experience for the affluent traveler is never complete without a Spa treatment. The Cygalle Healing Spa offers products with 100% natural ingredients to indulge all our senses. It is also the best place to get the back stretched and prepared for horseback riding.

During our riding adventure the Chavon River revealed the magic of nature. Galloping over miles of stunning views of the sea and the fairways, we enjoyed a magnificent scenery on a carefully selected trail. The mighty Altos de Chavon was soaring over the small village, while we were being absorbed in the authentic atmosphere, the rare birds, plants and endemic species. Casa de Campo is a truly memorable and wonderful experience. We wish we had more time to discover more about the interesting people at Casa de Campo.

We will be back – don´t change a thing!

The author, Helder Colaço enjoys a beer with friends at the Dominican Golf Cup 2009
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Many thanks to Helder for sending this beautifully written article to us! We are always thrilled to hear how much other people love Casa de Campo too!

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