Puerto Rico, known as the “Island of Enchantment,” has great food and beautiful beaches and has re-emerged as a tourism hotspot in the past few years. However, its best-kept secret is its fantastic golf courses. In this article, we will tour some of the most fun golf courses in Puerto Rico.
Golf courses in Puerto Rico are typically semi-private resort courses accessible to locals and tourists alike and tend to be on the coast, and many have beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean or the Caribbean Sea. So bring your golf clubs; it's time to tee off in Puerto Rico!
Grand Reserve Golf Club
Previously named Coco Beach Golf Club, the now rebranded club under the Hyatt umbrella is known for hosting the PGA Tour's Puerto Rico Open. This club hosts 27 holes of championship golf, composed of the 18-hole Championship course and the 9-hole international course.
While the international course is fun and has some beautiful views of an adjacent bay, the championship course is truly one of the best courses on the island. It has tournament pedigree– a PGA Tour golf course has hosted a USGA event (2021 US Women's Fourball) and will host the 2023 Latin America Amateur Championship, the region's premier amateur event.
The most notable holes on the championship course are the par-four 4th and par-four 12th. Both are relatively long from the back tees (455 yards and 465 yards, respectively) and play with strong crosswinds. The 4th offers beautiful views of El Yunque, the only rainforest within the United States Park System, while the 12th green looks out onto the Atlantic.
Both demand tee shots to work away from hazards and into the fairway, characteristic of what Tom Kite intended for players to do in their challenging journey at the 7700-yard course.
TPC Dorado Beach
The only TPC network club in Puerto Rico, TPC Dorado Beach hosts two championship-caliber golf courses, the Dorado Beach East and Sugarcane courses. The East course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., is located about 10 minutes from the practice facilities on the oceanfront section of the property. It has beautiful views of the Atlantic and has one of the most fun par-fives in the Caribbean in its 4th hole. Nicknamed “the Z,” the short par-five requires two water carries to reach the green in two.
The hole weaves through mangroves and native brush before reaching the green, which has an ocean backdrop. While the Dorado Beach Sugarcane course is not quite as dramatic, it is still one of the best courses on the island, consistently ranking within the top 10 golf courses in Puerto Rico. It lies on what used to be terrain used for sugarcane farming and navigates through TPC Dorado Beach residences and farmland. The Dorado Beach resort will surely offer you some of the best golf in Puerto Rico.
Royal Isabela Golf Club
Designed by legendary tennis players Charlie and Stanley Pasarell, Royal Isabela lies in the Western municipality of Isabela, about ninety minutes away from the capital city of San Juan. It is a links golf course with 200-foot cliffs overlooking some of the best surfing waves in the Caribbean.
The course has plenty of quirks, like an island green, two extra holes, and a 6th hole that splits into a par four and a par five, as the Pasarell brothers could not decide between making the hole a par four or five, thus keeping both.
The best hole of all is the par-three 17th, a 210-yard par-three that requires a forced carry of a cliff. The green has two distinct tiers, and players can use a slope to the right of the green to feed balls onto the putting surface.
Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort
Wyndham Rio Mar Country Club, a beach resort golf club, hosts two 18-hole golf courses in “la isla del encanto.” The River course, the more challenging of the two courses, has been host to the Puerto Rico Classic, a top-tier NCAA Division I golf tournament.
While the River course is open for public play, the Rio Mar Ocean Course is for members only. It is the older of the two courses, and its 16th hole continues the trend of great beachside Puerto Rican holes. With a 230-yard shot from the back tees, players must contend with the beach on the left and bunkers on the right to thread in the perfect shot.
Outside of golf, Rio Mar Beach Resort has a casino, spa, pools, and multiple restaurants for locals and tourists to enjoy! And, if you're looking to discover Puerto Rico, you can head to El Yunque after a quick 18 to enjoy a beautiful walk and multiple waterfalls.
Regis Bahia Beach Golf Course
Situated in the northeastern section of the island, this Rio Grande golf course was designed by Trent Jones, Jr. The 18-hole course at Bahia Beach is one of the best-conditioned courses on the island. It winds between mangroves and beaches and feels a world away from San Juan, despite being just a 30-minute drive from the capital.
Bahia Beach Resort is a short course from the championship tees for a Puerto Rico golf course, measuring under 7000 yards. However, it makes up for this lack of length by being very narrow and windy, making the course at Bahia Beach one of the most difficult on the island. The par-five 11th exemplifies the difficulty of the course despite its length, as golfers must fire their drives through a 30-yard chute with penalty areas on either side.
Palmas Del Mar Golf Club
Often called just Palmas by locals, this 36-hole club is under the Palmas Athletic Club umbrella and is a fantastic resort golf club. The Palm and Flamboyan Courses are some of the best layouts on the island and provide the perfect mix of playability for higher handicappers while also being a great challenge for scratch golfers. They are some of the top golf courses in Puerto Rico, and are highlighted by several signature holes.
The par-five 3rd is the ultimate risk-reward three-shot holes on the Flamboyan course. Long hitters have the option to cut a large portion of the hole by carrying a section of a lake that rides along the entire right side of the hole. If successful, they'll have no more than nine iron into the green. However, if unsuccessful, they'll be right where they started, hitting three.
The Flamboyan and Palm courses are the only courses in Puerto Rico to offer views of Vieques, an island off the southeast coast known for its amazing beaches. The downhill par-four 14th on the Palm course provides the best view on the entire property and makes for a great approach as players must contend with a strong headwind and a green that slopes heavily from right to left.
Costa Caribe Golf Country Club
Costa Caribe is notable for having the first island green in Puerto Rico. It is also the only golf course in Ponce, the island's second-largest city. It has 27 holes, and players can interchange the three nines to play 18 holes or play all 27 in one day!
While it isn't near San Juan, Costa Caribe has many positives, like the only course outside of El Legado in Guayama to offer unparalleled views of the Caribbean sea and proximity to the city of Ponce, which will offer a completely different experience than that of San Juan.
El Conquistador Resort
Designed by Arthur Hills, who has designed more than 200 courses, this is the most mountainous golf course in all of Puerto Rico. It provides stunning elevation changes, most notably on the par-five 15th, where you can see rolling hills and plains for miles and miles. The course is loads of fun to play, and the resort has a beautiful waterpark and adjacent island that guests are sure to enjoy.
Another two truly incredible holes are the par-three 9th and the par-four 18th, which share a green that is more than 90 yards long. It is situated at the bottom of a hill where players from the clubhouse and resort guests can see you drain a long birdie putt on either green!
That does it for the top golf courses in Puerto Rico! While united by a common theme of excellent resort golf and tremendous ocean views, each Puerto Rico golf course is different, each with its own unique character and flair.
At each course, you'll see a group of friends that have become family over the game of golf, each enjoying their time together at the golf clubhouse restaurant. And, on top of the familial environment, there is great golf to be played at courses that have received some of the best golfing talents in the world.
In Puerto Rico, you'll find some of the best golf in the Caribbean. I hope you can come to visit and play some of the courses listed here. You'll enjoy the courses so much that, like me, you won't be able to decide which is your favorite!
This article was produced by Wealth of Geeks.