Puerto Rico is a paradise destination for many reasons, but one we haven’t talked about yet is sport. While baseball is the country’s flagship sport, there are others, with top players and a huge fan base. Down here you can spend hours if not days watching not just beisbol but also basketball, boxing, fencing, and golf. It’s this last which we’re going to focus on today, as it can be a dream come true to play golf on immense courses surrounded by picture-perfect beaches and mountain views.
A Bit of Puerto Rican Golf History
The island’s first course was built in 1930 in the San Juan district of Río Piedras, and throughout the ensuing years, more were built, in Guánica on the southwest coast and Humacao on the east coast. Interest in golf continued to grow and it was during the Second World War that more golf courses were built for the military, such as in Aguadilla on the northern west coast and San Juan. For example, at Old San Juan‘s San Felipe del Morro Fortress, green areas were used for golfing while it was a US Army fort (up until 1961).
Today golf in Puerto Rico is truly a big deal – and in fact, in January 2023 the Latin America Amateur Championship, with many players hailing from the island, became the first championship of its kind to be held on the island, played at the Grand Reserve Golf Club, on the northeast coast overlooking El Yunque National Forest; the venue had already hosted other tournaments, like the Puerto Rico Open and the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball.
And beyond the Grand Reserve, a number of others have been ranked among the best in the Caribbean/Mexico.
7 of Puerto Rico’s Top Courses
The TPC Dorado Beach is up on the north coast just a half hour west of San Juan and is considered to be one of the world’s ten best golf resorts. With a pair of superb 18-hole courses surrounded by incomparable natural beauty, it’s a perfect place to swing a club surrounded by all kinds of luxuries and extras.
Over on the east coast, a half hour from San Juan in the other direction, the Bahia Beach Resort & Golf Club in Rio Grande has 18 holes designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. for you to drink in dreamy views of the ocean. On the same side you’ll find the 36-hole Grand Reserve Golf Club, home of the Puerto Rico Open; the venerable, iconic El Conquistador Resort with another 18 holes; and the 36-hole complex at Palmas Athletic Club.
Heading south to the city of Ponce, the Costa Caribe Golf & Country Club offers more great scenery right next to the sea. Some 40 minutes east of here, El Legado in Guayama is another excellent 18-holer designed by the iconic Puerto Rican player Chi Chi Rodriguez for an amazing experience in a unique setting.
Out on the west coast there’s an interesting course running along the cliffs, the Royal Isabela, which in addition to teeing up some spectacular views also offers challenging play because of the sometimes stiff winds up here. Meanwhile, the Punta Borinquen Golf Club – Puerto Rico’s first public links – is somewhat more modest than others on the island, but does boast great design and beautiful natural surroundings (and by the way, they say that golf-loving General Dwight Eisenhower spent hours here when the it was part of a US Air Force base).
So golfers, hop on a flight to Puerto Rico and experience golf from a different point of view – Latino Caribbean style!
Photo | Ajai Business Enterprises