Puerto Rico

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Puerto Rico has 25 golf courses, 17 of which are championship greens designed by some of the top names in the business. The island's newest course, the Royal Isabella, opened in mid-2011. Together, the courses provide a wide variety of golfing experiences. The island’s golf history dates at least to the ’50s – Puerto Rico is the birthplace of the celebrated Chi Chi Rodriguez, who mastered his skills at the Rockefeller-built courses surrounding Dorado Beach. There are no courses of note in San Juan but excellent options are within a 45-minute drive.

Puerto Rico Golf

Arthur Hills Golf Course

Located near Fajardo, the El Conquistador’s 18-hole, 72-par course is known for steep climbs and breathtaking views of the ocean and rainforest. While most Caribbean courses are flat, Arthur Hills is set apart by its vertical climbs, the steepest of which tops 200 feet. Make sure you play the full course; the last shot soars over a dramatic waterfall.

1000 El Conquistador Ave., 888-557-6372, www.elconresort.com
Tags: golf | editor pick | smart splurge | views | sports

Bahía Beach Golf Course

Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. and managed by Troon Golf, this course lies 23 miles east of San Juan. Bahía Beach recently received a serious overhaul thanks to the new St. Regis Resort, which opened in 2010, and has been recognized by Audubon International as being an environmentally friendly course. Famed boxer Oscar de la Hoya, who is also an avid golfer, owns a house that overlooks parts of the course. 

Villas de San Francisco Plaza, 89 Ave. de Diego, 787-809-8920, www.bahiabeachpuertorico.com
Tags: golf | sports

East, West, Sugarcane, and Pineapple Courses

Located 22 miles west of San Juan, the Rockefeller-built, Hyatt-flagged resorts are closed, but the four golf courses by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. are still the most beloved on the island. The East and West courses are probably the most demanding, while Sugarcane dishes out wind and water hazards. Hit a lousy shot and you might have to pay for Chi Chi Rodriguez’ window (he has a home there).

100 Dorado Beach Dr., 787-796-1234, www.doradobeachclubs.com
Tags: golf | editor pick | smart splurge | sports

Ocean and River Courses

Tom and George Fazio designed the 6,782-yard Ocean course, while Greg Norman made his first (and only) mark in the Caribbean creating a 6,945-yard course that follows the Mameyes River. The two courses meet at a lavish country club surrounded by the Wyndham Rio Mar resort, 30 minutes east of the San Juan airport.

6000 Rio Mar Blvd., 787-888-7060, www.wyndhamriomar.com
Tags: golf | sports

Palmas del Mar

There are two excellent courses at this resort in Humacao, 34 miles southeast of San Juan. The Flamboyán is a Rees Jones championship course that winds through a maze of brilliantly colorful, flamboyán “flame trees”) and is one of the Caribbean’s finest. The Gary Player designed Palm Course offers resort-style links with water hazards, sneaky bunkers, and rolling greens. Next door: The largest private tennis club in the Caribbean.

170 Candelero Dr., 787-285-2700, www.palmascountryclub.com
Tags: golf | views | sports

Trump International Golf Club

The Trump International Golf Club is located in Rio Grande, 21 miles east of San Juan. Tom Kite designed two different courses here – the Championship and the International; the former is the site of the Puerto Rico Open, an annual PGA Tour event. The lush El Yunque rain forest serves as a backdrop on many holes.

100 Clubhouse Dr., 787-657-2000, www.trumpgolfclubpuertorico.com
Tags: golf | views | sports

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