The award to Puntacana Resort & Club, the exclusive property in the Dominican Republic, as 'Golf Resort of the Year' by IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators) will come as no surprise to those who have watched how the Caribbean has developed for golfers.
It is currently home to two world class courses, Pete Dye’s La Cana and Tom Fazio’s Corales and has a third, Hacienda, set to open in 2011. The La Cana course, which opened in 2001, has long been a favourite of golfers from all over the world and, in line with Puntacana’s efforts to be environmentally friendly, was the first in the Caribbean to use paspalum, a grass seed that can be watered using sea water.
In April 2010, the highly anticipated Tom Fazio designed Corales course opened to rave reviews as “the future of Caribbean golf' and with the addition of Hacienda, the resort will offer 54 holes of quality golf to guests.
“Golf here is truly a unique experience.” says Jay Overton, formerly PGA pro at Pinehurst and Innisbrook and now director of golf and club operations at Corales. “When the opportunity presented itself I came out of retirement knowing that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of a truly remarkable project.”
“We work very hard to offer our guests world-class golf and accommodations that are easily accessible via direct non-stop flights from many of the world’s major airports, and we are honoured to be recognized for our efforts by the IAGTO,” adds Jeff Neal, Director of La Cana/Hacienda Golf & Beach Club, who received the IAGTO award in Valencia.
Over 2,000 golf resorts from around the world were considered for the 'Rest of the World' category and were judged based on customer satisfaction, quality of golf course and accommodation, value for money and accessibility to tee times.
The development Puntacana dates back to 1969 when Dominican businessman and hotelier Frank R. Rainieri and Theodore W. Kheel, the prominent New York attorney created a partnership to construct a resort and community that respects the natural habitat of Punta Cana while offering a world-class vacation experience.
In 1997, singer Julio Iglesias and fashion designer Oscar de la Renta joined as co-investors and have made the resort their home.