Dye knew that Rainieri was set on maintaining the palm trees lining the center of his resort’s southern coastline. Dye believed that by simply relocating those palm trees, Rainieri would own a real estate dream come true.
“I believed that by moving these coconut trees inland about 300 feet, passengers flying to the Punta Cana International Airport, would look down and see the turquoise Caribbean Sea on the left, the new golf course in the middle, and million-dollar homes on the right. Add some white sand to this picture, and I was convinced this land would generate income for Frank’s great grandchildren for years to come,” Dye recalled.
La Cana – Let’s Get Started
Dye’s Dominican roots were planted long before he designed La Cana’s amazing layout. “I’ve been building golf courses with my Dad, Pete Dye, since I was 10 years old. He placed me on a bulldozer when I was just a kid. I worked on Teeth of the Dog back in 1971. I’ve been blessed to spend a major portion of my life in the D.R.” Dye said.
When Dominican-born designer Oscar de la Renta arranged Dye’s meeting with Rainieri during Puntacana Resort’s early years, Dye was ready. After their initial course discussion, Rainieri asked how much time Dye would need to formulate a design. Dye replied that if Rainieri would provide a room for one night, he would show Rainieri, and his engineering group, a detailed plan at breakfast the next morning.
As Rainieri and Dye drove what was to become La Cana, Dye pointed out 14 holes that would view the ocean. Dye also showed Rainieri lots that would be home to luxury villas on the beach. When Rainieri asked Dye when he could begin, Dye chuckled and replied, “I’ve already started.”
Postcard on the Ocean
Before you tee off, do yourself a favor and turn around. The mesmerizing ocean views from behind the 8th and 9th tee boxes include kite surfers floating amongst the clouds. This is one of many “only at La Cana” moments.
As memorable as this golf closing scenario is, Dye has another favorite for La Cana’s Best in Show. In this case, Dye suggests golfers should consider a beauty of a Par 3 on the Tortuga nine.
Tortuga’s Par 3 For the Ages
Dye created a left to right rock barrier and putting green that juts out like a peninsula into the ocean. On Tortuga’s Par 3, 154-yard 5th hole, golfers don’t just play near the ocean, they play through the ocean.
When asked to name his favorite La Cana golf hole, Dye replied, “It’s hard when someone asks me to pick only one after designing 18. It’s like choosing a favorite child. But I do have to say I love Tortuga’s 5th hole.”
Epic Lunch by the Sea
After completing your round, step into the clubhouse and then up a short flight of steps. It’s here that La Cana takes on an added dimension. Walk on to a sweeping deck with a 180-degree view that includes the 18th hole, the Caribbean Sea, a swimming pool, columns of palm trees, and an al fresco restaurant that will soon have you decompressing like never before.
As you take a seat, ask your server to pour a refreshing Dominican rum cocktail. Now it’s time to raise your glass to Oscar, to Dye, to Rainieri, and to an amazing round of golf. Whether you converse in English, Spanish, or you’re suddenly speechless, realize that La Cana Golf Course has a way of speaking your language.