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The Dominican Republic's Golf Coast,Melia Caribe

Calgary Select: The Dominican Republic's Golf Coast vacation

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The Dominican Republic's Golf Coast

By Cortez Egan 21_MeliaCaribe.jpg

(NC)-November and December are difficult months; the golf shoes retreat into the back of the closet while the winter boots and galoshes inch their way to the front. You'll soon be spending more time in snow banks then in sand traps and the only irons you'll need will be for cuffs and collars before work.

It's time to begin planning the annual winter getaway. Of course, holiday planning can be filled with its own challenges: spa holiday versus golf getaway; family vacation versus romantic escape. If only there was an option that suited everyone's needs.

I've been travelling to the Dominican Republic (the "DR") since the early 80's, and marveled at its evolution from a largely undeveloped beach destination into a premier holiday mecca brimming with deluxe resorts, gourmet dining, first-class spa facilities, and-what may surprise you-championship golf courses. Nowhere is this more true than on the DR's eastern coast, Punta Cana. There is no longer any reason to compromise or negotiate with your family over the perfect holiday destination: Punta Cana has it all.

Melia Caribe is a deluxe resort perched on a massive stretch of beautiful Bavaro Beach. In addition to deluxe spa facilities, 7 a la carte dining rooms and a special activities program for kids, it offers three free rounds of golf to its guests at the Cocotal Golf & Country Club, designed by renowned architect Jose "Pepe" Gancedo. Optimizing the naturally rolling terrain, the fairways, while generous, are marked with strategically positioned trees and bunkers. With four sets of tee boxes, accomplished golfers will remain challenged while the less experienced will find room to improve.

The aptly named White Sands Golf Course, a pitching wedge away from the soft white sands of Bavaro Beach, is another of Gancedo's exceptional championship courses. You'll understand why he's the Picasso of golf designers as you tee-up on this breathtaking course, filled with coconut scented palms and fringed with oleander. Guests of the Ocean Blue Golf and Beach Resort will find this course on site, with green fees of $100 USD for 18 holes. Children under 7 stay and eat free at the resort and there are special amenities for teens up to 17; the resort also has bowling and spa facilities.

The Barcelo Bavaro Caribe Beach resort is home to beautiful Bavaro Golf Course. A fully supervised kids' club at the resort allows you to take your time around these challenging 18 holes, and enjoy a refreshment before returning to the resort for a soothing massage or a romantic dinner at one of two gourmet restaurants.

All of these 4 plus star all-inclusive golf resorts are offered exclusively through Transat Holidays, where great service is par for the course.

- News Canada