Puerto Rico's spectacular new course is a jewel worthy of royalty
Charlie Pasarell understands the meaning of patience. The native Puerto Rican tennis great is best know for his 1969 Wimbledon marathon against Pancho Gonzales, a 112-game affair that remained the longest match in event history until 2010.
But thanks to the new Royal Isabela layout in Puerto Rico, he may one day be better remembered for sculpting fairways than for crushing forehands. Pasarell co-designed the course with his brother Stanley and longtime Pete Dye associate David Pfaff, and the trio has delivered the most spectacular course in Puerto Rico and one of the most scenic in the world.
Draped atop jungle-strewn cliffs 75 miles west of San Juan, this semi-private stunner serves up a kaleidoscope of environments, from Hawaiian-like tropics to Old World links. Still, this beauty is a beast from any tee--notably the double-green clifftop 12th and 14th holes--and the forced carry makes the long par-3 17th a thriller.
In April, 20 casitas and a lodge will transform the property into a boutique resort. The tennis star turned designer lost that famed Wimbledon duel 11-9 in the fifth, but with Royal Isabela, it's game, set and match for Pasarell.