Friday, March 11, 2011

Dramatic Course in Puerto Rico Emerges along Panoramic Coastline

(ISABELA, Puerto Rico) - One of the most dramatic golf courses to emerge in many years, the setting for the new Golf Links at Royal Isabela is where golf was meant to be played.

This Atlantic Coast island destination club and resort curls itself along the rugged cliffs at the northwest edge of Puerto Rico. Designed by golf architect David W. Pfaff, in collaboration with brothers Stanley and Charlie Pasarell, the founders of Royal Isabela, the golf course is unlike any other in the country.

As they followed the landscape at Royal Isabela, Pfaff and the Pasarell brothers found natural plateaus for wide fairways and large greens, hugging the cliffs along the way. But they also implemented numerous vertical sod-face bunkers, which add a classic Scottish flair to what is otherwise a warm, tropical paradise. (Indeed, the Royal Isabela property was used for the filming of "Perfect Getaway," which was set in Hawaii.)

Having played golf for many years in Scotland and Ireland, when the Pasarell brothers decided to build their own course in their homeland, they envisioned holes that allow for a multitude of strategies on how to play each shot - high, low, draw or cut - all in the ever-changing elements that naturally accompany a seaside layout.

"Tropical Scotland," Stanley Pasarell calls it. "If the Open ever leaves the British Isles, this could be a venue."

The centerpiece of a private gated community and resort golf club, the Golf Links at Royal Isabela is 90 minutes from San Juan International Airport and only 20 minutes from Aguadilla International Airport. The property stretches along 426 ocean-front acres with cliffs that range in elevation from 150 to 350 feet above sea level, creating an intimate paradise for the custom homes and villas that are planned for the community.

Membership to the golf club is by invitation only, but the golf course will be available to resort guests, with the lodge, clubhouse, signature restaurant (La Casa) and guest village set for a soft opening in Summer 2011. Future guests at Royal Isabela will have their choice of 20 beautifully designed one-bedroom Casitas, with expansive indoor and outdoor space, ocean views and close proximity to the golf course and other amenities.

Natural elevation changes accentuate the invigorating cliffs setting for the Golf Links at Royal Isabela. Native grasses, natural sand dunes and craggy cliffs have been preserved and are integral to the design. Together with the trade winds - which can turn from friend to foe at any moment - these elements play a role in shaping the character of the golf course.

Throughout the golf course construction process, the vast majority of the work was done by hand or by using small, very specialized equipment, reflecting the desire to disturb the land as lightly as possible. Lakes and ponds that were found naturally on the property were enhanced and made a part of the golf course, always maintaining the property's natural characteristics.

More than 20,000 native trees and indigenous, ornamental plants have been propagated and grown in the Royal Isabela on-site nurseries using seeds and cuttings gathered on the property, while 40 acres of turfgrass was grown on property, specifically for the golf course and surrounding landscape. Other than the putting surfaces, every blade of grass and every plant within Royal Isabela was grown on the property.

"A legacy has been created here - one of appreciation for the environment and of respect for its history," Stanley Pasarell said. "This is what makes the Royal Isabela experience truly one-of-a-kind."

Envisioned and designed with great passion for the land and the game, the Golf Links at Royal Isabela features an imaginative sequence of large greens, many with multiple tiers. Quite notable are the island green at the par-3 ninth hole and the double green perched on the edge of a cliff that is in play for No. 12 and No. 14. Even more creative - and inspired by the landscape - is the sixth hole, uniquely designed with two separate fairways and greens, which part at the landing area off the tee to create a par 4 and a par 5.

Royal Isabela is not limited by any one signature moment. Mother Nature has provided them continuously from start to finish. There are six sets of tees, which stretch the layout to a maximum of 7,667 yards as a par 73, and 7,538 yards as a par 72 (depending on how No. 6 is played).

The greens at Royal Isabela are Mini Verde (Ultra Dwarf Bermuda), while the fairways are 419 Bermuda, with rough made up of Zoysia, Native Bermuda, Pangola, Estrella, Guinea, Coqui and numerous other native grasses. Guests may use solar carts that are available, but caddies are required.

For additional information, access the web site at or call Mariel Prieto, Marketing Director at 939/940-4150.


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