To the south of Cancun, 20 kilometres north of Playa del Carmen and just a few metres from the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, is one of the great courses of Riviera Maya: Iberostar Playa Paraíso Golf Club. The tropical climate enjoyed by this area makes playing golf here a delight at any time of the year.
Paul Burke (P.B.) Dye, son of the great golf course designers Pete and Alice Dye, could not have chosen a better location to create Playa Paraíso Golf Club. Imagine a beautiful postcard landscape surrounded by nature, exotic wildlife and ancient ruins. Playa Paraíso is an extraordinary setting where the gentle sea breeze, the warm sun, the lush jungle vegetation and world-renowned archeological landmarks are very real.
For more than a decade, Iberostar Playa Paraíso Golf Club has left its mark on major international sporting events. For example, it has hosted such prestigious tournaments as the World Amateur Team Championships, Big Break Mexico, Iberostar Riviera Maya Open and Bupa Match Play-PGA Tour Latin America, and on nine occasions it has been the venue for the qualifying round of the PGA Tour OHL Classic in Mayakoba.
Iberostar Playa Paraíso Golf Club showcases its premier status as a preferred course for the most demanding golfers.
P.B. Dye designed this wonderful layout, turning it into one of his finest creations. The majestic rolling fairways of perfectly manicured Paspalum grass stretch out as far as the eyes can see, and the stunning natural surroundings enhance the beauty of the carpet-like putting greens.
This fantastic layout features memorable holes, soft-sand and deep bunkers, cleverly domed greens and narrow fairways, which make it a challenging but fair course. The multiple tee decks allow players of all levels to enjoy the challenge, while the signature all-inclusive hospitality of Iberostar – a Spanish chain that has five luxury hotels in the immediate vicinity of the golf course – is extended to players at Playa Paraíso Golf Club. The green fee includes buggy, unlimited food and drink (beer, wine, liquor, bottled water and non-alcoholic beverages) during the round, plus a distance book and score card.
Also in this golfing paradise you can enjoy a superb driving range, a first-class clubhouse with changing rooms, showers and lockers, a bar, a terrace overlooking the course, private golf lessons and a well-stocked pro shop. The round trip transfer from hotel to golf course is serviced by electric cars and a small train.
Extending over 6,217 metres, this spectacular par-72 course has received numerous awards and prizes for its quality and beauty. The layout stands out from the relatively flat landscape that surrounds it, sitting on moulded and undulating terrain. The golf course was carefully sculpted in the Mayan jungle, which can lead to a few lost balls if you are off-target. Iguanas and other animals can become curious spectators of your game along the way.
P.B. Dye incorporated some of the distinctive features of his designs, including pronounced slopes and non-traditional obstacles such as a river bed of rocks. With its narrow fairways and undulating greens bordered by deep bunkers, the course is demanding but fair if your game unfolds without too many mistakes.
Greg Bond: director of operations for Iberostar Golf Resorts
The director of operations for Iberostar Golf Resorts, which includes Playa Paraíso Golf Club and Cancun Golf Club, Greg Bond, talks about the former – with effusive praise.
What are, in your opinion, the features that best define Playa Paraíso Golf Club?
Playa Paraíso Golf Club is defined by its design. It is a world-class course designed by P.B Dye that invites players to enjoy an outstanding experience, with the beauty of its setting and surrounded by natural aspects of the Riviera Maya. They will find perfection in its undulating greens, deep bunkers and narrow fairways, and great care taken down to the smallest details, which makes it a preferred course for the most demanding golfers.
It also has a first-class staff, focused mainly on customer service and offering special treatment and warm hospitality. In addition, we have a pro shop where golfers can find a wide range of accessories and a variety of clothes of the highest quality. Another characteristic that defines the course is its privileged location, as it is located just 30 minutes from Cancun and 15 minutes from Playa del Carmen, so it can be reached quickly and easily.
What hole or holes would you highlight on the course and why?
It is an 18-hole course that is both exceptional and distinctive. I would highlight them all because each one offers its own challenge and landscape, and each one is outstanding.
Any specific aspect that distinguishes it from other courses on the Riviera Maya?
For more than a decade, Playa Paraíso has left its mark in the historical chapters of international golf. Playa Paraíso Golf Club has hosted the National Amateur Team Championships, Big Break Mexico, the Canadian Tour and the PGA Tour Latin America, and has been the venue for the qualification round of the OHL Classic at Mayakoba nine times, when we have showcased our impeccable service and, it goes without saying, the incomparable condition of our golf course.
Can you give us some specific recommendations to help players complete their round with a decent result?
It is a course featuring different levels and slopes, declines and deep bunkers, which makes it exceptional. My recommendation: plan your game, take your time, enjoy it and play safe.
What are the main keys to the course having offering such a spectacular presentation, with perfect fairways and greens?
Undoubtedly it is down to our maintenance team. We have a highly professional superintendent and a team of workers completely dedicated to what they do, taking care of every detail, valuing perfection and enjoying their work, with a lot of dedication to their golf-oriented responsibilities.
A FREE SPIRIT
A free spirit who does not wear wrist watches or look at calendars, P.B. (Paul Burke) Dye is the youngest son of famed golf course architects Pete and Alice Dye. Following his family’s example, P.B. has been “moving dirt” for as long as he can remember. He was atop a bulldozer at age 9 learning the art of shaping golf courses at Crooked Stick in Carmel, Indiana, and at age 16, P.B. helped his dad at Teeth of the Dog in Dominican Republic.
P.B. graduated from the University of Tampa in 1980 where he studied Spanish, a discipline useful to him when in the Dominican Republic. He embraces “The Dye Way” – a personal commitment to “roll up your sleeves” hard work and quality. He has no office, staff, or overhead, and he often lives on job sites, designing and building courses himself.
P.B. has been called a natural–born wizard on a tractor, and he has been known to have aimed a bulldozer into the woods to begin his courses.
A non–stop storyteller and talker, P.B. has constructed more than 30 courses, which are mostly located in the eastern United States.
He maintains two residences, following the golf season: he lives in Ohio in the summer and Florida in the winter, with frequent visits to the family compound in the Dominican Republic.
A survivor of both colon and rectal cancer, P.B.’s acclaimed designs include the P.B. Dye Golf Club in Maryland, The Honors Course in Tennessee, Fisher Island in Florida, and the Legends Club Moorland Course in South Carolina.
Golf, Beach and Circus
Unfortunately, you cannot play golf 24 hours a day so, to make the wait more enjoyable until the next round, nothing better than bathing on a Caribbean beach or enjoying an incredible circus show: at the Cirque du Soleil Theatre, less than 500 metres from the golf course.
The prices to play at this Mexican golf course are not excessive considering its extraordinary quality. In low season (from 1 June to 31 October), the green fee costs $179, while in high season (the rest of the year) it is $209.
To enjoy golf and the Caribbean Sea, Iberostar has five hotels in a privileged setting between the golf course and the fantastic Paradise Beach. All are five-star and their prices, all-inclusive, range between €189 and €405 per room per night.