The course at Clube de Golfe Aquiraz Riviera is a Donald Steel design which features two contrasting nine-hole loops, Dunes and Ocean. The Dunes is the pick of the two halves, playing in a tropical links-like style.
Built on a huge sand dune this is one of the most beautiful golf courses in Brazil. What makes the scenery so special was the architect’s ability to carve the holes in a way that you can see the sea or part of it from eleven of the eighteen holes.
Forget about a pleasant and calm day, this course is tough and on a normal day the wind is going to be a HUGE factor. I am not talking about the normal 1-2 clubs windy day this is a 2-3 clubs course or drivers ranging from 310 downwind to 230 headwind.
Divided in two parts the Dunnes Course makes a loop in the property and the Ocean Course plays near the ocean with smaller and narrower holes.
The first hole will require a perfect drive because there is a 140 yards lake protecting the green, maybe too difficult for a starting hole but will give the player a good sense about the difficulty of the track.
Number 2 is a short par four on the back of the property that offers a unique view of its size and beauty. The next hole is a grueling par 5 that plays head wind, only a perfect drive will allow the player to attack the 160 yards lake that protects the second shot, imagine playing a par 5 where you need to lay up your second shot.
The fourth hole was my favorite on the front nine, it is not intimidating, you can´t see the ocean but this par 3, built in the middle of the native vegetation was an island of green in the middle of wilderness and sand.
The second half starts with a short par 4 with a very narrow fairway that will require a controlled driver and a short wedge.
Maybe fifteen is the best hole in the course, a classic risk reward short par four where you can try to drive the green with water all the way on your right and coconut trees on your left, all this with a 270 degrees view of the ocean.
Number sixteen plays cross wind, I played here a couple of times and was never able to find the fairway on this long par four. Not only the wind strongly carries the ball from left to right but there are two bunkers protecting the fairway with only 21 yards of landing area and yes I measured it.
The last hole is also very narrow with dunes and dense vegetation defending the sides, if you haven´t lost a ball yet this would be a perfect place to start.
All in all it is a very pleasant course with some very beautiful holes, some very weird holes but if you are not in tournament mood or short on golf balls you will probably enjoy your day a lot.