LA ROMANA, Dominican Republic — First off, don't confuse the La Romana Golf Club - the Dominican Republic's newest course - with the La Romana Country Club, the private course set within Casa de Campo, one of the world's largest and most famous golf resorts about 45 minutes away.
The new La Romana at Bahia Principe opened in mid-November well off the radar of most golfers, but it's got some nice potential. At least three or four greens on the 7,325-yard course weren't ready for play the day the Golf Advisor team showed up. They were covered with sand. With time, that problem should be resolved as Paspalum grass usually does well in the islands.
The biggest selling point is four holes set on the Caribbean Sea, although one of them, the tricky, split-fairway par-5 eighth hole, will probably need to be changed in the future. Right now, both sides of its split fairway are too narrow. Players stand on the tee having no idea how to play the hole.
Plenty of good holes populate the rest of the routing, designed and built by Maverick Golf. All of the par 3s are superb. The third hole plays to an island green. The dramatic seventh plays along the shore, while the 16th hole leads players back to the sea. The tough par-4 17th hole keeps the seaside scenery alive, winding along the water to finish at the double green shared with no. 8.
Eventually, homes and villas will line La Romana. With a giant clubhouse and nine-hole, par-3 course open since 2013, this facility should serve locals and bargain-hunting tourists well in the years ahead.