Cap Cana’s Punta Espada in the Dominican Republic Takes Top Honors
Jack Nicklaus’ top-100 design at Cap Cana’s Punta Espada Golf Club in the Dominican Republic took top honors in Golfweek’s 2009 list of the “Best Courses of the Caribbean and Mexico,” while two of the top four and four of the top 10 on the list were Nicklaus Design golf courses. Eight Nicklaus Design courses in all were included in the ranking, more than any other design firm.
The Dominican Republic continues to make headlines of late. Home to more golf courses than any other country in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic was recently named “Golf Destination of the Year for the Caribbean and Latin America” by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators.
Punta Espada is widely considered to be the jewel within the Cap Cana development and now the jewel of the Dominican Republic. The course opened in November 2006 to rave reviews, and only a few months after it was unveiled, was honored by Golf Digest as one of the “100 Best Courses Outside the United States.” In April 2008, Punta Espada hosted the inaugural Cap Cana Championship, a Champions Tour event on the PGA Tour.
The first of three Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses slated to open at Cap Cana–one of up to only 25 destinations to be branded a Jack Nicklaus Golf Club–Punta Espada incorporates the awe-inspiring natural surrounding of the Dominican, with eight holes playing to or along the clear blue Caribbean waters and numerous others offering dramatic ocean vistas.
Coming in at No. 4 on Golfweek’s list, The Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol, sparked a golf tourism boom in Los Cabos, Mexico upon its opening in 2004, and remains a mainstay on industry top-100 lists, including GOLF’s “Top 100 Courses in the World” and Golf Digest’s “100 Best Courses Outside the United States.”
Also among the top 10 on the list at No. 6 was the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, in Mexico, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course that opened in 1999, and at No. 10, Vista Vallarta Golf Club in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Vista Vallarta, which opened in 2001, was recently named as one of the Top 3 courses in Mexico and Latin America by Travel & Leisure Golf, joining Cabo del Sol and Palmilla Golf Club, in Mexico, to sweep the category for Nicklaus Design.
Mexico’s El Dorado Golf and Beach Club and Puerto Los Cabos, both in San Jose del Cabo, and Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort in Cancun, all Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses, came in at Nos. 12, 17 and 21, respectively, on Golfweek’s list, while Palmilla Golf Club in Cabo San Lucas rounds out the ranking for Nicklaus Design at No. 27.
The honor for Punta Espada and the other Nicklaus courses comes closely on the heels of four Nicklaus Design layouts being named to Golfweek’s list of the “Best New Courses 2008.”