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, private residences and golf.
Lauded by many as the future No.1 golf course in Argentina when all eighteen holes open, the layout at El Desafío is set high up on a mountain with the front nine playing alongside and across deep canyons and pine forests. The back nine is 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.
I played this course in late February for the second time in my life, first one (see previous review) was end of 2014 so it was 26 months after the first time. Although it was some months ago, my memory will help to give a quite precise of how the course has "grown" since December 2014.
The first fact is that now all front 9 are finished and 100% playable. 2 and 3 are two in and out nice par 4s and 9th is a great par 3 with a big rock after the green and the highest spot in the front 9.
The course is still to be finished in many aspects: construction for the back 9 is supposed to start this month, still no Club House and just a few carts which are necessary because for 95% of the golfers the course is imposible to walk as it has some sharp up and down walks and in other cases long distance from green to next tee, espcially from 5th green to 6th tee.
I really expect this course to be finished, it will be good for them, for Chapelco, for the destination and even for golf in Argentina for foreign visitors. It will for sure be one of our most famous courses, not only a great design and challenge but an awesome piece of land elevated even from Chapelco Golf.
We played in a very quiet sunny morning, 25C, almost no wind, some low clouds which made it an even nicer landscape and course was in perfect shape.
It is extremely enjoyable and playable, there are some "forced" carries but not longer than 120yds so everyone can make it. It may make some golfers to be afraid, but it is just beautiful. And fun.
The three new holes are excellent: 2nd has that forced carry with the tee shot with a fairway rolling left to right but the fairway is much wider than it shows from the tee box so just go left and you will find no trouble. Approach shot is a little bit uphill but not long and difficult at all. Then 3rd is a little bit longed and back uphill in the approach with the terrain holding the ball on the right but if you miss left there is trouble.
9th is very nice, with the rock and mountain on the back of the view and shows to be shorter (I over clubbed and flew the green), but there is where to miss and not to be in big trouble.
Now you have a great 9 holes course, must play even more than once. And we just keep fingers crossed to have all 18 soon, it will be famous!