This Golf Club has an interesting story, apparently, Getulio Vargas at that time president/dictator of Brazil was a fan of golf but was unable to play at Gavea Golf Club because he had some mobility issues and the terrain there was very hilly. With that in mind his friends commissioned Stanley Thompson from Canada to built a nine hole course on a flat terrain at Barra da Tijuca, that was in 1933 and Rio de Janeiro was Brazil´s capital.
Now with 27 holes Itanhangá is one of the largest golf clubs in the country and still carries Getulio Vargas as it´s member number one.
The course starts with a drastic dog leg right with water defending the left side and threes the right. Long hitters can try to fly a 5 wood over the trees but the correct shot is an iron to the middle of the fairway leaving a short approach shot to a upsloped green. Number two is another dog leg par four but this time longer and not as angled as the first. Since the land is very flat the architect used doglegs and bunkers to defend the fairways so good players will need to move the ball from right to left and left to right in almost all holes.
My favorite holes in the first nine are number eight and nine, two medium length par fours that are in the western part of the club and very near the beautiful Pedra do Banco (Bank Rock). Big rocks surround Itanhaga but this is the closest and most beautiful.
The second nine starts with a nice par three where you cross a channel that is not in play but offers a nice setting. The one hole that I dislike is the par five eleven, this hole runs very close to the club´s fence and strong slices will send the ball not only out of bounds but maybe to some ones windscreen, knowing that I pull hocked my drive to find my ball in the fairway of the hole on my left. For me the first rule in golf is security so I don´t think that the lay out of this hole is correct but let´s move on.
Number 12 is the hardest hole on the course a dog leg left with the channel defending the front of a sloped green. It is one of those holes that you need to hit a good driver, a good approach shot and continue alert on the green. A par here is almost a birdie
After this test of golf you will relax on a beautiful short par three with water defending the front of the green and some bunkers. You can expect more water on the second nine because there is a channel crossing the property from north to south.
The best use of this hazard is on number 18 a superb finishing hole where you have the channel all the time on your left and a big lake on your far right. The correct shot here would be to aim at the channel and fade the ball away from it. You will need to take the big dog out on this one because with 431 yards and a lake defending the right entrance of the green there is no room for an easy lay up.
Itanhangá is a very technical course that will test good players while being gentle with beginners and since it is completely flat walking is definitively an enjoyable experience.
Date: June 06, 2016