This week sees a new event – and new country – showcased on the world’s biggest stage: the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic.
Previously on the Web.com Tour schedule, the event has been elevated to the PGA Tour with 300 FedEx Cup points on offer and a purse of at least $3m.
Through a new four-year agreement, Grupo Puntacana, which owns and operates Puntacana Resort & Club, will serve as the host organisation and the Tom Fazio-designed Corales Course will remain the tournament course.
Opened as recently as 2010, the course plays along the cliffs, bays and coves of the Caribbean Sea and the inland lakes and coralline quarries.
Water only comes into play once on the front nine at the 390-yard third hole, but there are plenty other hazards in the shape of huge bunkers. The front nine concludes with a spectacular par-3, where the green sits in an exposed position at the top of a rocky headland.
Six of the course’s holes play along the ocean including the final three, known as the ‘Devil’s Elbow’. The dramatic 214-yard 17th plays along the edge of the cliffs, while the 18th hole includes a breathtaking forced carry over the cliff-lined Bay of Corales.
“Hosting the very first PGA Tour tournament in the Dominican Republic is an honour both for Puntacana Resort and Club and for the Dominican Republic itself,” said Frank Rainieri, Chairman and Founder of Grupo Puntacana.
“This is an affirmation of the exceptional golf facilities we have down here, and we are thrilled to expose the international golf community to the Dominican Republic.”
• Founded by Batholomew Columbus in 1496, capital city Santo Domingo is the oldest city in the Americas.
• Dominican Republic is the second-largest country in the Caribbean, behind Cuba.
• Each of the flag’s three colours have a meaning. The white of the cross represents salvation, the red rectangles represent the blood of the heroes who fought for the independence, and the blue rectangles stand for liberty.
• Some 98% of the country speaks Spanish, 1% French, 0.5% English and 0.1% Arabic.
• Golf isn’t the most popular sport in Dominican Republic… baseball is. Other than USA, it supplies the MLB with more players than any other country.