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Golf Takes Off Again as Key Puerto Rico Lure

Golf is giving a big push to tourism as visitor numbers grow following the devastating blows of Hurricane Maria two years ago

Discover Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico’s first-ever Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), announced that Island is seeing a huge bounce back when it comes to the popularity of golf on the island. Puerto Rico’s courses and resorts are reporting substantial growth in rounds and revenue during the first four months of 2019 (compared to that timeframe last year), a trend mirroring the Island’s tourism ascension.

Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Golf & Beach Resort’s country club – which includes two Troon-managed courses – reports a 128% revenue increase January-May, with rounds played rising 56% for the period.

The courses at TPC Dorado Beach, Rio Mar Golf & Beach Resort, The St. Regis Bahia Beach, Coco Beach, Palmas Athletic Club, Royal Isabela, and Costa Caribe are just a few of the island’s 17 golf venues. Like Puerto Rico’s robust tourism trends in key performance indicators, golf is increasingly drawing Island visitors, due in part to strategic campaigns lauched this year by Puerto Rico’s official tourism marketing arms.

TPC Dorado Beach Director of Golf Jeff Willenberg describes his club’s financial performance as exceptional. “Club membership has grown at an incredible pace this year, and golf rounds are doing extremely well,” said Willenberg, who oversees a 36-hole golf operation with membership and public play.

The increases align with Discover Puerto Rico tourism statistics. They include January –April 2019 occupancy spending reaching $373.6 million, the highest in the past eight years, and an increase of 12.4 percent. The Island’s rapid lodging spend growth was driven by a rise in bookings of vacation rental properties, accounting for 23 percent of the notable jump. This is underscored by strong passenger arrivals (a rising number of which are travelers who golf), reaching 1.5 million for the January – April timeframe.

There are 17 public-access golf courses on Puerto Rico, a significant number for the Island’s quaint size. They range from luxury resort to municipal, spread across all four sides of the Island – several clustered near historic San Juan – as well as located inland. Ocean front views, omnipresent palm trees, and mountain and rainforest vistas define their settings.