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30 km from Buenos Aires
Olivos Golf Club is one of the more traditional and recognised golf clubs in Argentina and the Blanca & Colorada (White & Red) nines comprise of the premier eighteen at this 27-hole facility. It was shortlisted by the American PGA to host the World Cup in 2000. Though Olivos was not chosen, it was highly praised by the foreign visitors. It is an English style course with smooth but long slopes. It has big and fast greens with notorious movement, which enhance the difficulty level.
Championships: World Amateur Championship, Los Andes Cup, Argentine Open, Argentine Amateur Championship, National Stroke Play Championship, Argentine Masters Tournament.
In 2010 Olivos Golf Club co-hosted the World Amateur Championship with Buenos Aires Golf Club. France won the event by four strokes from team Denmark.
Words adapted from WeGolf Argentina
Es una de las canchas más tradicionales y reconocidas del país. Cuando los expertos de la PGA de Estados Unidos realizaron un relevamiento de canchas para la disputa de la Copa del Mundo en el año 2000 en la Argentina, Olivos Golf Club fue una de las canchas evaluadas en su momento. Mas allá de no haber sido elegida se llevo grandes elogios de los visitantes extranjeros. Es una cancha de estilo ingles que se extiende sobre un terreno con suaves pero prolongadas pendientes. Tiene grandes y veloces greens y con mucho movimiento lo que los hace un poco más difíciles.
Campeonatos disputados: Campeonato Mundial de Aficionados, Campeonato Sudamericano de Aficionados (Copa Los Andes), Abierto de la Republica, Campeonato Argentino de Aficionados, Campeonato Nacional por Golpes, Torneo de Maestros.
En el 2010 será sede del Campeonato Mundial de Aficionados, Copas Espíritu Santo y Einsehower, junto con el Buenos Aires Golf Club.
It was 75 degrees, partly cloudy, and a light 5 mph breeze. We have caddies. Ronnie Damm is a former mini-tour player. I love talking to golf course superintendents, so I stuck to Ronnie like Velcro for all 18 holes asking one question after the next. He had a cauliflower ear at the end of the round. Ronnie has been the superintendent here for 20 years. He studied at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) Turfgrass Science and Management Department. The course was in good condition, especially after the end of a hot summer. Two weeks before our arrival it had been 105 degrees. The greens were smooth with a speed around 10.
At 6,801 yards the course is a par 72 for members and 71 for tournament play. It is a compact course and an easy walk even though there is a decent amount of down and up terrain. Every hole is hemmed in by a variety of tall, mature trees. Accuracy off the tee is a must. On all four sides the course is lined by single family homes, so out-of-bounds is a factor for wild shots.
There are 73 bunkers. The greens have modest contours and subtle slopes. The average depth is 31 yards with the deepest at 39 yards (hole #3 Par 4 at 420 yards) and the smallest at 23 yards (hole #10 Par 3 at 199 yards). Water comes into play with a pond in front of the green on the famous fifteenth hole. This is a 470-yard dogleg right (par-5 for members and par-4 in tournament events). Going for the green in two requires a long shot through a funnel of trees off a downhill hanging lie. The shot must clear the water and hit to a modest-sized green pinched by two fronting bunkers. Adding to the challenge is a big hump on the left side of the green.
Starting at the 15th tee we finished playing in delightful early evening shadows. After golf we were surrounded by a large group of golfers on the clubhouse terrace for drinks and hors d'oeuvres. Argentina hospitality was an appropriate way to end our brief exposure to golf in their country.
Olivos GC is a private club with 27 holes of world class parkland golf. It was designed by Luther Koontz and opened for play in 1928. The course has hosted many championships, and is regarded as one of the best courses in Argentina.
We felt privileged to walk the fairways- it is hard to gain access…There were no carts at Olivos, but each of us had a caddy carrying our bag and giving directions.
The course is beautifully groomed and doglegs it’s way through a giant botanical garden. The standout hole is the short dogleg par 5 15th hole with a a pond in front of the green.
The par 3’s are consistently strong, and with so many holes framed by mature trees driving straight was a priority…
It is a beautiful place to play golf, but sad to say the trees have become too dominant on some holes, making them almost claustrophobic.
The course would benefit from an educated pruning program, and the turf would benefit as well..
Olivos is regarded by many as the best course in Buenos Aires- it certainly is a lovely place to play golf
Notable holes include:
- the par 3 seventh hole- a mid length shot to an elevated green with some nice movement
- the par 3 tenth hole- a mid length hole with an elevated green protected by well placed bunkering.
- the par 5 fifteenth hole- a dog leg par 5 short enough to tempt the longer hitter to go for the green on the second shot, but with a pond short of the green to keep everyone honest!
Olivos is a joy to play- it's an easy walk through a golfing garden of mature trees and shrubs with some lovely holes to keep the day interesting. The members would cherish having their own piece of golfing heaven.
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
It has been 10 years since as a devoted golfer I started to review the courses I have played. It started from telling details from my round (which really nobody cares) to learning architecture and what potential visitors need and want to know before going to that course. And after sharing my round with my good friend DD, I "saw" what Olivos has and what it lacked of.
In one of my first reviews I just detailed the changes the course went through and just not more, now I see what it needs to get to a deserved World Top 100 spot.
Although I play it 6-8 times a year, usually in competitive events, this time was a friday friendly game together with Mark Lawrie (R&A Latin America Director) and former All Blacks Jeff Wilson and Justin Marshall. We found it great to show these 2 legends the course and the experience was great as course is 2 weeks away from hosting Argentine Amateur Interclubs Championship and it is in excellent shape with greens in its best condition in years.
As DD says, the bunkering of the course (not consistent in design) and some greens design put the course away from a higher spot in World's Rankings and this is something club management show take a look at. But money is an issue here so we have to take what we have and I have to tell you that it is not bad at all. I will be surprised of a best mantained parkland course in Latin America and when prepared for competition one of the best tests for amateur golfers.
With some great holes, especially par 5 15th which is included in the book "1001 holes you need to play before you die", this course is a must play for visitors and also for argentine golfers. It is a place you need to visit at least a couple of times a year to test your game.
If you happen to come, take a look at Biarritz designed greens 1-3 and how a short par 4 like 9th can be a masterpiece.
There are many design changes I could observ and suggest, but the first one would be doing something with 18th. If to remain a par 5, green needs to be move backwards and rethought. If making the move to a par 4, there would be some amazing ideas.
But as it is not our job, just go and enjoy it, golf as it has to be.
I fully agree with this review. There's another factor I wish to point out. Except in the par 3s, in no other holes you can see the green from the tee, which takes away the spectacular views a golf course should provide. In addition, in connection with the review, in each hole there is only one route to play, no alternatives for the bold and for the average player. It is overrated as Number 1 in the list.
Olivos Golf Club is one of the premier classic courses of South America and on a recent visit I had the opportunity to pay them a visit. The first impression of the club and facilities was great. Everything from look, feel, atmosphere and general set up is that of one of the lovely old world classics much like you would find in the UK.
However, it’s not until one digs much deeper and takes a look at the course, changes and architecture that you realize the course’s distinguished reputation clearly stems from many decades ago and what currently exists is a product of neglect, lack of information and far too much tinkering, be it by unknowledgeable greens committees or perhaps even architects that may not have been qualified to work there. For me it’s a shame when this happens to a course even though I understand how it can happen.
To give a couple examples of what I mean I could start with the fact that the club obviously doesn’t have a tree management program in place. They have basically just let all the trees grow out of control and now there is little strategy left besides hitting the ball where the trees aren’t. The problem with this besides the fact that width, open vistas, light and nutrients are lost is that the interesting aspects of many of the greens no longer come into play. It’s no longer possible to vary the course set up based on pin positions and strategy. Yet that was exactly a huge part of what made Golden Age architecture so wonderful.
On top of this the club has renovated several greens and bunkers in a style not consistent with the origins of the course. One example would be where three bunkers were placed in front of a green which all look super modern compared to anything else. Unfortunately, overdone and with neglect for the origins of this classic gem.
Olivos is a great club and it has a tremendous potential to really be something special and my hope in being critical here is only to encourage them to start moving in the right direction. I think the problem is they don’t even realize what they have and how special it is. They are caretakers of a Golden Age classic course and are only neglecting its potential and taking away from how wonderfully fun it could be for all the members rather than just a few better players. My wish for them would be to find a competent foreign architect to provide the course with the loving attention it needs and give it thoughtful reno/restoration to finally take care of it for the generations to come.
On a positive note the bones of the course are solid and there are some signs of what could be. Examples of this would be the greens on the first three holes, the 5th and the 9th hole. These holes are generally good but trees encroach far too much on play and limit strategy. The greens are nice remnants of the excellent course that once was here yet serious bunker work is needed.
A really enjoyable course. About 45 minutes from Buenos Aires and well worth a visit. The set up is parkland style and has an American country club feel on the course. There is quite a lot of variation between the holes. Some long par 4s and some short par 3s. The par 5 15th is the most memorable. Fairways were firm but green and the rough isn't punishing. The greens are were the star of the show. Lots of undulations and really quick! Great fun.