It was in 1957 that a group of young Colombian men with heady golfing ambitions purchased a modest plot of land in Cajicá, to the north of Bogotá, and laid out an elementary 9-hole course.
Within the space of six years, the new club – named El Rincon – acquired more land and hired none other than Robert Trent Jones to fulfill the golfing dreams of its founders by designing a world class 18-hole layout, aided by the construction skills of Argentinean Alberto Serra.
Bounded on the eastern side of the property by the Bogotá river, El Rincon’s tree-lined fairways are routed over a pleasantly undulating landscape in two returning loops, each of which feature a number of small water hazards (holes 6 to 9 on the front nine and holes 13, 14 and 16 on the back nine).
The architect factored in the elevation of the course at over 8,000 feet above sea level when he laid out the holes. To compensate for a 10% increase in ball flight, he extended the overall length to 7,542 yards from the championship tees – only one of the ten par fours (the left doglegged 4th) plays to less than 400 yards from the medal tees.
According to George Peper and the editors of GOLF magazine, “El Rincon’s 7th is a respectable 179 yards in length. This short hole is the only major revision Jones made to the course he designed in 1963. Prior to the 1980 World Cup, Jones redesigned the hole to mirror changes he had made to Baltusrol’s 4th in 1954.
A small lake completely separates the teeing ground from the putting green. A stone wall protects the front of the green, adds a crisp line, and accentuates the severity of the hazard. Anything played too long will find one of the three sand-faced bunkers clearly visible from the tee.
Recovery from the sand must contemplate too long a shot finishing in the water. Finally, the diagonal positioning of the green disguises the length of the hole. This is a captivating short hole that demands good judgement and distracts with great beauty.”
The World Cup was played over the El Rincón course in 1980 when the Canadian team of Dan Halldorsan and Jim Nelford held off a strong challenge by the Scottish pairing of Sandy Lyle and Sam Torrance to win the tournament.
Sandy at least had the consolation that year of picking up the International trophy for the golfer with the best 72-hole score. Sam however was destined to never triumph in the World Cup team event, finishing in the runner-up pairing four times in all – with Sandy as his partner in 1979, 1980 and 1987 and with Gordon Brand Jnr in 1984.