Climbing out of the city to the North you will find the rolling landscape, tangled shrub and wild flora of the low sierra for as far as the eye can see. Nestled in amongst the beautiful and wild terrain is an oasis of elegance that was the former home to one of the early presidents of Argentina. He built his Estancia on the site of a former Jesuit community. He created a wonderful parkland with lakes and trees around his colonial style house that now forms the centerpiece of the estate. If you like everything to be understated 5 star. This is your club.
This is number one for me of the big four in Cordoba. But they all offer something wonderful and different to each other. There is not much between them. Very strong courses.
Estancia La Paz has it all. It is an amazing facility. It has timeless panache that marries the brave, the bold and the new to exquisite history and quality. A Celebration of all that Argentina can deliver. A unique offering that is worthy of your journey here. Come and stay here and time stands still. I wish I had but my whistle stop tour brought me here for one ephemeral round.
Sprawling across the estate, never hemmed in, the winding golf course manages to pull off a rare trick. It blends into the landscape. Never dominating it. It cuts through the wilderness without ever intruding. You begin in the landscaped parkland and journey out into the feral and wild bush land beyond and back again. So, it is a course that has two distinct parts, non-identical twins but always consanguineous.
You never look back as each hole leads you further into the scenery, on expertly manicured fairways generously laid across the rolling undulations of the bush, inviting shots to greens that are thrilling in execution and tees that serve as vista points for the world class challenges ahead. Each hole is distinct from the last and it is a voyage of discovery that is sympathetic to the location. There is a wonderful languid flow to it all. Effortless harmony.
It’s a young course but feels like it has been here forever. Always aesthetically pleasing to behold with stark bunkering with crisp definition that I have not seen before. Very different form the modern fashion of bunkering, evocative of a bygone age, that eschews the lines found here for a more rugged dunes style. Eloquent in form they make no allusion to nature. Always purposeful. In addition, there are vast waste bunkers flanking some holes guiding your lines. You have many options from most tees and can choose a strategy.
The tumbling River that bisects the property is crossed several times and is in play on a few holes on the back nine, then we turn for home and back into the parkland where lakes and streams border fairways and greens on the flatter ground.
The two massive par 4’s of 16 and 17 are where this course might need attention. The 16th Doglegs too short from the tee, forcing a carry over towering mature trees or an Iron tee shot leads to a longer second than the tee shot. Maybe a risk reward narrow avenue to glimpse the green from the tee and perhaps create a carry across a waste bunker within that narrow avenue to the fairway beyond giving the hole new temptation?
From 17 I want to see that magnificent Estancia built in 1830 from the tee, The 17th green sits majestically in front of it. Currently there is a dogleg to the left and a straight tee shot slips into the trees on the right too easily. Straighten the hole first and then perhaps add some fairway features if required. I want to drive toward the Estancia not into nowhere. A small fix.
One thing is for sure, there is palpable passion in this project and they are rightly very proud of what they have achieved here. I have no doubt they will always look to the future and cherish the rich history of property and improve it year upon year. It is only a matter of time before the top 5 has a new entry.
The 18th brings us home in fine style to a simple club house that is a temporary but stylish modern affair. You can sit and have a beer overlooking the 18th green and lake beyond or, as I did, sit and enjoy a fine meal on the president’s veranda soaking up the atmosphere of this wonderful unique place, with a glass of delicious Malbec and of course, a wee steak.
JCB LAY Instagram: the_barefoot_golfer
Date: December 08, 2018