Paradise Golf in the Dominican | Adventures In Golf Season 4


Hi. I’m Erik, and this is
Adventures in Golf. For this episode,
you might think that we’re in a 17th century
Mediterranean village, but Margarita the donkey and I
are actually in the Dominican Republic, and we’re about to
play a top 100 golf course. [THEME MUSIC] [CARIBBEAN MUSIC PLAYING] For this adventure, we
traveled to the southeast coast of the Dominican
Republic to play the Teeth of the Dog Golf
Course located within the Casa de Campo Resort. [CARIBBEAN MUSIC PLAYING] With breathtaking views
and seven dramatic holes that run along the
coastline, it’s no wonder that legendary
course architect Pete Dye considers Teeth of the Dog
to be one of his best designs. Upon arrival, were
greeted by director of golf operations Robert
Birtel to talk more about the course and
the surrounding resort. Oh, good putt. Oh, almost, little low. Yeah, it’s fun to watch
people play from up here. Yeah. So I think one of the
interesting things that I’m noticing about Teeth of the Dog
is that a lot of resort courses don’t have the
element of history. What do you see as being some
of the most interesting aspects of the history of this place? So Casa de Campo itself started
being built basically in 1971, when Teeth of the Dog opened. But before that, the
reason it was built is the Central Romana
is the sugar mill, and it used to be called the
Puerto Rico Sugar Company. And it was previously owned
by Paramount Pictures. And Paramount
Pictures, it turns out, didn’t know a whole lot
about growing sugar, but they knew a whole lot about
building an awesome resort. And they built it originally
for their movie stars and their high profile
guests to come down and enjoy the Dominican Republic. So did Paramount
commission the golf course? Effectively, yes. Mr. Lima, who was
running the sugar mill at the time, who is still
here, he contracted Pete Dye, and basically came down
and said, where should we build the golf course? And Mr. Lima had the foresight
to say, Pete, build the golf course wherever you want. A lot of places say, hey, we
want to build houses here. Build the golf course
around the houses. And they did the opposite. So would you say then that,
in a sense, Teeth of the Dog had an artistic license that
most resort or real estate projects just
don’t have anymore? I think so. He had the freedom
to do what he wanted, and that’s what
makes it so special. Dominican Republic has it all. That’s the slang,
actually, for the tourism– Head professional Manuel
Relancio knows firsthand how special the course is. I’ve been here for six years. Every time I go into the
ocean– the ocean holes, I really appreciate,
and I thank where I am. It’s a special place. It’s just unbelievable,
hard to describe. Where were you
working before here? Before here, actually I
was playing mini tours– PGA Latin America– Really? Mini tours in the States. You know– Grinding it out, Tin Cup. Grinding it out, Tin Cup. So now I can say that every
month at least, I make a cut. You know what I mean? And with that, it was time to
see if I could make the cut. But first, I meet JJ,
my caddy for the day. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] I’m doing this job since 1977. Wow. Here? [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]? [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] Wow, so you’ve been here
when the planes still landed? Yes, right there on
the landing strip. In the 1970s, there
was an airstrip that cut directly
through holes 9, 11, and 18 of the golf course. Believe it or not,
a bell would sound to warn golfers of incoming
and outgoing flights. It remained in operation
until the year 2000, with the opening
of the new airport. Sometimes you had 10 people
waiting for the plane to take off and come in. Was it loud– very loud? Yeah. Yeah. Noisy place. I love that they
kept a piece of it. [MUSIC PLAYING] How many hole-in-ones have
you seen on the golf course? Three only. Three only hole-in-ones? Yes, two on the fifth
hole, one on the 13th. All right, well, let’s go. Perfect. Welcome. Perfect. I can’t wait. [MUSIC PLAYING] All right, we are going to
walk, but we have some carts, because it looks like
it’s going to rain. I arrived in the
Dominican yesterday. It’s the 48th country
I visited in my life. This is my first tee shot here. Wasn’t the best
shot I’ve ever hit. So you must caddy for a lot of
different types of people here. Can you talk about who
you’ve caddied for? I caddied for George Bush,
father, George Bush Jr. For presidents? Yeah. I caddied it for
President Clinton. So that three presidents. Actors– any actors? You know, maybe. Maybe. You don’t care too much? I don’t care. I like to do my job. Let’s move on. OK. I’m waiting to see these teeth,
and I don’t see any teeth. Where did they come up with
the name Teeth of the Dog? You will see a lot of coral
rocks around the tee boxes, around the edge of the ocean. And one day was
Pete Dye overseeing all the construction. The employees, the workers,
they were putting the stones, the rocks one by one. They were cutting themselves in
the hands by putting the rocks. And they were like, Oh
man, [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH].. Andre, what did you say? It’s like a teeth of the dog. It’s biting me all
the time, every time I put it, because I
put it one by one. And I was like, oh,
that’s pretty interesting. That’s a cool name. And that’s how it became. Fifth hole– this could be the
first ever hole-in-one recorded on Adventures in Golf. 9 iron, 157, little
down downwind. [MUSIC PLAYING] There are not that many
holes like this in the world. You play 1, 2, 3, 4, get as
far away from the clubhouse as you can, get to the
ocean, spin around. Little short iron par three. You’ve got the beach. [MUSIC PLAYING] I mean, the title
of this episode should just be Paradise Golf. [MUSIC PLAYING] When you’re caddying
for a US president, what do you talk to them about? You know what I have
with President Clinton? On the eighth hole,
he had a 10-foot putt. OK. I said, President,
hit it over here. But the way he putts,
he spins the ball, and the ball will go like that. He hit it through the break. He said, JJ, bad read. I said, President, bad putt. Come on, don’t spin it, roll it. And he did. But you went in the hole. He said, oh, JJ, you’re right. I said, thank you, President. [MUSIC PLAYING] Even just now, after a
couple hours out here, you can see why it’s
so highly ranked. [MUSIC PLAYING] What’s your favorite hole, JJ? Seventh hole. Seventh hole. What’s Pete Dye’s favorite hole? Well, that’s a hard question. For Pete Dye, this is– it’s like home for him. He’s very, very–
he loves Casa a lot. He comes quite a bit. He says, I created
11 holes, and God created the other seven, the
seven that are by the ocean. It’s amazing, yeah. He says that about his course? About this course. Look at my ball. Thanks, Pete Dye. There is literally
the volcano mouth that my ball is sitting in. I hit a wedge maybe
10 feet offline and skipped down into what is
about to be the greatest up and down of my life. [MUSIC PLAYING] That’s a very
interesting little area. I’ve never seen that
on a golf course. This is one of my top
courses in the world for me, in my bucket list. It’s unbelievable. One of the guys I worked
with, we were talking, and it’s like, you’ve
just got to know. You’ve just got to know. If you don’t get it, maybe
it’s not right for you. And now I can say I get it, too. It’s not just the golf that
makes this place special. It’s the community
that surrounds it. And it’s unlike most of what
I’ve seen in the 48 countries that I’ve traveled to thus far. I used to live in that house. Really? Yeah. That’s the first
guy I caddied for. And you lived in his house? Yes. He asked me, JJ, you would
like to take care of my garden and stay there,
live in the house? I said, why not? Then the second time, when
he came back the next year, he said, listen,
you’ve got two options. I want to buy you a scooter, or
I want to send you to school. Which one you want to pick out? I said, I’d rather go to school. Wow. I’d rather go to school
and study English. And he paid for everything. Golf can really
change your life. Yes.

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