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El Desafío

El Desafío

San Martin de los Andes, Neuquén
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ArchitectBadgeGreg Norman
San Martin de los Andes, Neuquén
  • AddressEl Desafio Mountain Resort, RN40, San Martin de los Andes, Neuquén, Argentina

Designed by Greg Norman, El Desafío (The Challenge) opened its first nine holes for play in 2015 as part of a private resort featuring golf and polo, as well as other equestrian sports, a nature reserve with trails and private residences.

Lauded by many as the future No.1 golf course in Argentina if all eighteen holes open, the layout at El Desafío is set high up on a mountain with the first nine playing alongside and across deep canyons and pine forests. The back nine will be set higher up on a natural plateau across more rolling terrain. As Norman described, “the views are absolutely stunning in all directions and the topography allowed for routing the course amongst some of the most scenic golf terrain in the world”. No two holes play in the same direction, and Norman does a neat job framing stunning vistas on every hole.

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El Desafio has wide generous fairways allowing for multiple strategies off the five sets of tees. Fescue fairways and green surrounds play fast and firm, ideal for the ground game using the natural terrain. Beautifully designed rugged bunkers are strategically placed and add great contrast to the course, but most greens use also wide open slopes and ridges for protection, making the course very interesting. Greens run true and slopes are not too aggressive. Every hole on the front nine is unique, and spectacularly designed.

In Volume 2 of the Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, authors Tom Doak had this to say about the course: “What will probably be the best course in Argentina was only half finished when I saw it, but the first nine manage to traverse difficult land and incorporate great mountain backdrops on nearly every hole. It will play tough in the windy climate here – all of Norman’s designs do – but for once he’s done his best to make the course playable and to let the steep slopes help you rather than hurt you.”

Tom Doak's assertion that El Desafio will probably be the best course in Argentina when finished remains to be seen, but it's worthy of his high rating as a nine holer. Interestingly, Doak also lists El Desafio as the most unique and best cart course in in the aforementioned guide. It's certainly a must-visit course right across the street from Chapelco.


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Course Architect

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Greg Norman

Greg Norman Golf Course Design was established in 1987 and in three decades since then, the company has worked on more than a hundred projects across thirty-four countries in six continents.

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