Nicklaus Travel, the travel arm of Nicklaus Design golf courses, provided TheSandtrap an opportunity to experience first hand how relaxing a golf vacation should be. As we launch the Dream Destination contest and before I could tell the TST members about the whole experience I had to take a look for myself. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, here I come.
Choose from the many destination Jack Nicklaus designed courses and begin planning. Nicklaus Travel brings together world class Jack Nicklaus designed golf courses and exclusive destinations creating hassle free packages combining tee times, transportation and lodging. They will coordinate every aspect of your vacation provide full support and a unique travel experience that doesn’t end once you arrive at your destination.
Once I booked my flight and gave Nicklaus Travel my itinerary, we had a trip agenda outlined in a confirmation email complete with reservation numbers, tee-times and transportation confirmations. The hardest part of the trip was finding my passport.
San Francisco a Punta Cana
Despite a 2 hour delay in Miami our transportation was waiting to take us to the Hard Rock Hotel. Once I arrived at the Hard Rock the driver relayed our information to the bellman who took us straight to check in, it was a breeze. Within minutes I had my room key and was lead straight to my room to unwind.
I only had limited time and this trip was designed to give me a small taste of Nicklaus Travel destinations and exceptional service. 3.5 days, 2 resorts and 2 courses… I had to pack as much in as possible.
The Hard Rock Hotel all-inclusive resort has just about every food selection imaginable. Upon arrival I was greeted by a huge sign that read “ I’ve Got Two Tickets to Paradise” – Eddie Money, this couldn’t be any truer. Check in was a breeze and was offered an escort to the room, which was a necessity given the tremendous size of this resort. The notion that Hard Rock knows how to rock & roll is confirmed the moment you notice the large Jacuzzi in your room over looking the resort. This theme continues as you head down to the pool to the sounds of Poison, G&R and Tom Petty coming from a band with extreme energy and an obvious Caribbean / Spanish accent, it was awesome. As a foodie from San Francisco, dinner was not the mouth-watering creations I’m used to but that didn’t matter once the check came… oh wait, what check? For me, the main draw of the Hard Rock was the service, manicured grounds and ease that only an all-inclusive resort can provide. This is THE place if your traveling with your golf buddies or a group of friends looking to indulge, play, party and golf without a care in the world.
The Cana Bay Nicklaus Design golf course boasts a 18 hole 72 par championship golf course. At 7,253 yards in length from the back tees the combination of stunning fairways and natural Dominican landscape will challenge every level of player. To warm up hit the unlimited driving range before you are let loose on the course. First tee 9:00am, Shanked it hard to the right but one mulligan later I was back on track, I ended the day with an 82 and was ready for the pool.
First impression, speechless. Punta Espada was designed in 2008 by Jack Nicklaus and ranked #1 course in Mexico and the Caribbean by Golf Week magazine in 2012. This 18-hole championship course features a 72 par, 7,090 yard course with approximately 8 holes playing directly on the water. When you are on the elevated first tee you instantly can see why this place should be on every golfers bucket list. Picture a full view of the front 9 turquoise blue ocean, white sand beaches, vivid green fairways laid out before you and your caddie running down the fairway pointing where to hit. As you approach the 2nd hole you see why you need the caddie helping you out, the sound of the ocean is over powering yet amazing. One recommendation is to bring cash and plenty of it, the drink cart is rather expensive. I was able to finish the day with an 87 and memories to last a lifetime. Nicklaus Travel was able to pre book the tee-times on this ultra exclusive course and include the green fees in the total package; my only expense on site was the caddy tip and food.
For the golfer who demands the best Cap Cana is the place. I was treated to one night in a bungalow at Caleton Beach Club steps away from Eden Roc, a beachfront property on one of the most pristine shorelines in the Dominican. The $1500/night rate almost seems like a bargain to call this property home for the evening. After exploring the grounds and spending some time at the Cap Cana Beach Club I came back to my topical bungalow to enjoy the complimentary champagne and fresh fruit. As the evening turned to night, clouds rolled in and began to pour but the 80 degree weather made the tropical storm enjoyable. I stayed in, ordered room service and enjoyed every last second because I knew it was my last night.
I can’t begin to describe this quick 3.5 day getaway and have included several pictures to help with the visuals. Nicklaus Travel lived up to the Nicklaus name and provided an experience that rivals none. When you only have a few days to unwind you don’t want to waste any time, for one package price Nicklaus Travel will handle your entire vacation. We look forward to partnering with Nicklaus Travel to provide this Dream Destination contest and know your experience will be as enjoyable as mine.
Edited by Born2bWild - 6/5/12 at 12:14am