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LA ROMANA.- “You’re hitting a tee shot and suddenly a wave hits you. You listen to the sound of the sea very close while you play; It’s impressive and you never cease to amaze. Being cloudy, with sun, with rain, each time a different playing field”. This is how this wonder is described that is in the Dominican Republic, where the Latin América Amateur Championship (LAAC). That majestic stage of the contest will have great promises of the future. And it will be played at the Teeth of the Dog, a golf course nestled in one of the most incredible landscapes in the world to play this sport.

Manuel Relancio He is Argentine, he is 38 years old and Head Professional of the course since 2013. He competed in the PGA Latin America and studied in the United States with a golf scholarship. He turned professional, but then turned to the operational side of golf. Also to teaching: “I was fortunate that a position opened up here and I wanted to make a career outside of Argentina to take advantage of my university degree in sports management.” A native of Corrientes, he told THE NATION all that this means wonderful playing field, on the shores of the imposing Caribbean Sea.

Diente de perro, the imposing golf course in the Dominican Republic, on the shores of the Caribbean Sea
Diente de perro, the imposing golf course in the Dominican Republic, on the shores of the Caribbean SeaTeeth of the dog

“Diente de Perro is one of the best courses in the world and it’s not because I’m working here, it’s a lot of fun,” explains Relancio. The brain of this field was Pete Dye, architect and designer of many golf courses in the world and died in January 2020, at the age of 95. In addition, Relancio stated: “For him, this field was one of the favorites of several of those who were his creation.”

With seven holes by the sea and 11 where you can see the different shades of blue and light blue water, Teeth of the dog, located in Casa de Campo resort & Villas number 1 in the ranking of Caribbean courts. Furthermore, in the ranked 27th in the world between international fields.

La Romana, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Pictured at the 2022 Latin America Amateur Championship at Casa de Campo Resort on January 17th, 2022. (Photo by Enrique Berardi/LAAC)Enrique Berardi / LAAC

But the description of this terrain with 18 holes and 7,263 yards is also in the way of playing: “Strategically, from tee to green it is not so complicated because it has wide fairways and you can spread the ball from the tee with the drive”, explains Relancio. And he adds: “The great defense is the second shot to the green. The greens that have a lot of hill, you have to know where to attack, which flags yes and which flags no. Also, he explained: “The course has the peculiarity that the greens get a little hard and more so with the wind, which generally blows from 11 to 16. There it is felt more, especially on the holes of the sea.”

Manuel Relancio, in action on the playing field of which he is Head Professional
Manuel Relancio, in action on the playing field of which he is Head ProfessionalKindness Manuel Relancio

A storm in 2019 was to blame for the court having some modifications, who will be protagonists because some parts of the course had to be readjusted: “One on hole 4, par five; there was a very large flagship tree to the left of the green and unfortunately a storm took it away. We had to cut it and it was wider and easier. Later, on the 7th hole, a par three, we widen the tee more towards the water, so you have to hit a shot over the sea”, but the requirement of being one of the best golf courses in the world puts to the test to Relancio: “In any case, Dog Tooth always requires a lot of work and small changes to be well ranked,” he explains.

Golf.  Dog tooth
Golf. Dog toothTeeth of the dog

The technical specifications of Diente de Perro are ideal for top-level players to carry out their training: “It’s great because it challenges you with all kinds of shots: high, low, with wind, it also allows you to draw the ball from left to right.” right, from right to left, you have to have a good short game, he tests many parts of the game”.

And of course. Dogtooth is chosen for this by some great players: “Ángel Cabrera He has come to train here and said that the field is impressive. Also, a player who is still part of our house is the Spanish Miguel Angel Jimenez who comes in his free weeks in which he does not play the Senior tour, and another is the Puerto Rican Raphael Fields”. Some tournaments of great importance have passed through Diente de perro: “We have hosted tournaments three times in the PGA Latinoamerica and it is the third time in the LAAC”.

The Latin America Amateur Championship generates a lot of expectations for Teeth of the dog and Relancio feels it and recounts it with great anxiety: “It’s going to be the best we’re going to have. The field is in perfect condition. Thursday and Friday we will have low scores, and Saturday and Sunday the greens will get harder, with harder fairways and more hidden flags. You have to take advantage of Thursday and Friday to do as little as possible and then stay the weekend. The tournament is going to be defined in the last four or five holes on the sea”, Manuel leaves his impression.

La Romana, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Pictured at the 2022 Latin America Amateur Championship at Casa de Campo Resort on January 16th, 2022. (Photo by Enrique Berardi/LAAC)
La Romana, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Pictured at the 2022 Latin America Amateur Championship at Casa de Campo Resort on January 16th, 2022. (Photo by Enrique Berardi/LAAC)Enrique Berardi / LAAC

To the 102 players from all 30 countries participants awaits a huge challenge and Relancio gave some details of how the competition can be faced: “The par five change is a little easier, there are going to be many eagles (two shots below par), that hole must be taken advantage of to lower it, to make four or three blows, because you arrive in two. Without the tree on the left that bothered us before, there are many chances of an eagle. It’s a good hole. And the 16, which is in the sea, plays different psychologically because you have to go over the sea; if you make par there, it’s a good score”.

Abel Gallegos, Argentine and defending champion of the LAAC 2020 for his consecration in Mayakoba, Mexico, he talked about the golf course: “It’s an incredible course that I didn’t know about. The view is very deceiving, it seems that it has a narrow fairway, but no, I think the secret will be in the shots to the green. We also have to see how the wind is this week”.

As a connoisseur of the course and golf, Relancio has his feelings: “There are several favorites, but Juan Cayro Delgado, from the Dominican Republic, Mateo Fernández and Abel Gallegos, from Argentina, and Julián Périco, from Peru are my candidates, but there are very good competition and can be for anyone. May the best win. For the boys it will be an unforgettable experience”.


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