3 years since my last visit to El Potrerillo and while about to write a detailed review I see that I had never reviewed the course although I prepared for Top 100 most of the Info and rankings for Argentina! It is now time to pay this debt and post a detailed review of what El Potrerillo is and what golfers may expect when driving from Córdoba to play this masterpiece.
In 2014 the wonderful Club House was not finished and now it is: elevated over 18th green it offers views of 9-18 and the landscape is one of the nicest in the world. The service has been improving every year (I played here 2001-2009-2012-2014-2017), catering at both half way and club restaurant are outstanding and service provided by every club employee is at the highest level. New Golf Carts, concrete car paths almost finished, course in amazing shape despite dormant winter Bermuda and some of the fastest greens in Argentina.
The course was designed by local architects but as devoted golfers and great players, Javier and Alejandro have been putting their eye in improving the course and the experience every year. We bring our COPA MOLITOR every year here and the experience keeps getting better every time, course grows in maturity, maintenance improves constantly and with the new Club House and the Hotel inside the property Potrerillo de Larreta offers the highest quality experience for not only golfers but also for non golfers, you can bring your wife and she will be very happy while you spend some time on the course.
One of the aspects that could improve is the driving range, which despite being very scenic is a little small for large groups or crowded Tournaments but for warm up sessions it works fine and with the view you have it is tough to complain.
We use to come every year for this Tournament, our own “Ryder Cup” playing match play for 3 days and staying in the area either in the charming Hotel inside the course or at Solares del Alto, a fantastic hotel with one of the best restaurants in the province (Leyendas Bar) where the variety and quality of the food is 10 out of 10. Playing the course 3 consecutive days, with different conditions each round and different partners of different skills gave me a real clear view of how good this golf course is. There is challenge at every shots and we played 10 feet stimp bent grass greens in windy conditions, playing medal play on Sunday would have been a real nightmare. The destination is great and can offer a great experience, especially for those golfers not only from Argentina but from places like Chile, Peru and Uruguay with direct flights to Córdoba.
The course starts with a challenging par 4 with an elevated tee shot to a dog leg right green where judging the approach distance is the clue after a tough tee shot for a starter. Second hole is really nice but maybe the weakest: a must birdie par 5 for low handicappers which plays too short and with a sort of unfair tee shot. With a nice stream crossing the fairway twice it has the potential of a great short par 4 but it is a strong dog leg left par 5 where the second shot is easy if you target the best spot of the fairway. Number 3 is one of the highlights, an elevated tee shot to a 155yds par 3 with great views of holes 8-9 and the mountains. 4th is a challenging par 5 dog leg right with a sort of uphill tee shot and a semi blind second shot where long hitters will be able to get home in 2. In par 3 5th hole we have the start of their own Amen Corner with 3 great holes surrounding the Hotel and Chappel in the nicest landscape of the property. This par 3 playing almost 200yds from the tips offers a great challenge as the tee shot needs to be extremely accurate. Then par 4 6th hole is the best hole of the property with another elevated tee to a left to right sloped fairway with a stream on the right that crosses before the green and a huge eucalyptus on the right side that makes it tougher to place a good tee shot. Then 7th is a short par 3 with water in front and on the right plus native area on the left and over the green, despite being short it can turn into a nightmare (on the last round all single digit golfers we scored 5-5-6-7 hitting a wedge to the green). The beauty continues with 8th, a great risk reward par 5 with water all along the right side which crosses to let 40yds before the green, you will be able to get home in 2 but a miss will turn it into high numbers. Final hole on the front 9 is a 90 degrees uphill and dog leg right par 4 where the second shot plays really similar to Augusta National’s 18th, even the green is similar. On the last day playing into 40km/h winds and playing 430yds it was a driver and hybrid for the longest hitters of our group.
Back 9 starts with the toughest one on the course, elevated tee to a fairway cut twice by water streams and playing 445yds. It was a nightmare for our group with wind left to right, scores were way over par by most of us. 11th is the other weak hole in my opinion: the first 2 days it played downwind for a driver and a wedge, last day into the wind driver and 4 iron, but from the tee the fairway line is not clear and maybe unfair for higher handicappers or shortest hitters. Short par 4 12th is one of the really good ones, where placing tee shot is the clue but also the approach shot is tough with one tree at each side of the green. Par 5 13th it totally uphill and if your drive is not long enough you will just see the upper part of the flagstick. Although it might look easy, OB on both sides and some cross bunkers make it a really good one. 14th is a 200yds downhill par 3 with OB on the right and the 17th fairway on the left 15mts below the green. You need to be wise to choose the correct club and accurate with the execution! 15th is one of my 3 favourite holes, downhill tee shot to a generous fairway protected by trees on the left and bunkers on the right then to an elevated greens which breaks dramatically from end to beginning: a short shot can come back 30yds easily and a long one can put you in front of the toughest putt on the course. One of my playing partners (a 2 handicapper) hitting a putter from the end of the green went 20 yds long! 16th is the last par 3 and it is maybe the least nice but a great hole as well going little uphill to the mountains and almost 200yds long protected by bunkers on both sides. The last par 5 is almost 640yds from the tips, downhill with OB on the right and bunkers and trouble on the left as well. If your tee shot is not long enough, you will have to lay up and make it a 130yds 3rd shot as the line is blind over trees and very long. 18th has a very narrow tee shot (a 3 wood for longest hitter to get a necessary draw of it) to an elevated 3 platform green. This is a great finish to a fantastic course and if you come and play you will see why famed architect Tom Doak placed it so high in his Latin American rankings.
Could the course be improved? Of course! Apart from my own opinion about 2 and 11, some cross bunkers could be taken away and in some places less tree would not only give better views but some escapes for wild shots. Is it that good? YES! Definitely a MUST PLAY for every guy wishing to complete the greatest courses in the world. Is it worth a golf trip? OF COURSE! You may complete the trip with Alta Gracia GC, El Valle del Golf GC (Nicklaus), Cordoba GC (Villa Allende, home of El Pato Cabrera and El Gato Romero) and Pueblo Estancia La Paz (located in one of the greatest Estancias in South America).
If you take the chance, El Potrerillo will give you quality service, great food and a fantastic golf course, playable for everybody if correct set of tees is chosen.
Date: June 27, 2017