Played Reserva Conchal Golf Club using a 5 day unlimited golf card the last week of March. The weather was absolutely perfect from sunrise to sunset every day. Throw in the Pacific Ocean, the native Costa Rican dry tropical forest, and the golf facilities and it makes for a wonderful combination. The forest includes coatimundi, monkeys, iguanas, raccoons, countless exotic birds, and native species of trees that made this a truly memorable experience.
Robert Trent Jones ll designed the course and as he has stated “The very best courses are those where nature has provided the canvas and my job is to discover her secrets and reveal them. I try to design golf courses that will fascinate people so they’ll want to play them many times and learn the depths and meanings of the courses’ stories, their subtext, their poetry.” Thanks RTJ ll, you made me want to play this course many times and enjoy every minute of it.
During my afternoon rounds I basically had the course to myself along with nature. One day I was taking pictures of some resting monkeys near the 16th tee and a howler monkey howled and pretty much let me know I was being watched. The monkeys are considered the loudest land animal and can be heard clearly for 3 miles. Quite a feeling being with nature in the Costa Rican tropical forest. Every hole was a fun memorable experience especially when you combine the golf with the surroundings.
As far as the golf course alone, Reserva Conchal is a true challenging championship layout that measured about 7,000 yards from the gold tees. The course certainly had several elevation changes and the swirling Pacific Ocean breezes made for interesting club selections. The practice facilities were excellent as there were 4 practice greens, a nice natural grass driving range, and also an area that had a tent to hit under to get out of the sun. The pro shop staff was excellent and their hospitality was exceptional. The course played very hard and firm and the greens were a good speed and rolled true. The greens held shots pretty well as I noticed the greens were hand watered during both the morning and afternoon rounds.
The first hole started out with a 319 yard par 4, the shortest on the course, where it was best to be about 100 yards from the green after the tee shot as the green was very shallow and surrounded on 2 sides by a ravine. The second and third were par 4s that measured 438 and 466 yards and were both excellent tests. The 4th is a 585 yard par 5 that is a true 3 shot hole with nice views of the Pacific Ocean. The downhill 209 yard par 3 fifth is protected by a pond on the right and if you go left the ball could bounce to the right on the green. The sixth was a nice uphill 443 yard par 4 that played much longer up the hill on the second shot. The 542 yard par 5 seventh hole could be reached in 2 but is protected by a large pond in front of the green to catch short shots. There is plenty of room to the right to lay up if do not want to go for the green in 2 but there are also 13 bunkers to avoid. The 8th is a 183 yard par 3 that is protected in the front and left by a large ravine and 2 bunkers to the right. The 9th is a solid 422 yard par 4 with a pond along the right side on the drive and in front of the green.
The back nine starts out with an excellent 446 yard dogleg left par 4 with a ravine protecting the green to the left and short. The 189 yard par 3 11th has a two-tiered green with an elevated green and is protected by bunkers short and right of the green. The 420 yard par 4 12th is the signature hole on the course and a drive to the left is ideal. The green is elevated and the second shot plays longer than the distance. The 445 yard par 4 13th is another challenging hole with the ideal drive down the left side and another uphill second shot that plays longer than the distance. The downhill 382 yard par 4 14th is the second shortest par 4 on the course but there are several well placed bunkers on the tee shot and around the green. The 154 yard par 3 15th is the shortest par 3 on the course but the 3 tiered green is protected on the right by a large bunker. Shots hit to the left can bounce right on the green. The 554 yard par 5 16th has an elevated tee with views of the Pacific Ocean in the distance. Avoid the bunkers on the second shot and this is a true birdie hole. The 212 yard par 3 17th was one of my favorites on the course as short is not an option as it is all carry over water and 3 bunkers surround the green. The 547 yard par 5 18 hole was a nice way to finish the round as water surrounds the entire left side of the hole and short of the green. This green can be reached in 2 but requires two precise shots. There is plenty of room on the right for those not wanting to take the risk of going for the green in two.
Overall a great golfing experience that would be highly recommend to anyone visiting Costa Rica. Click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDxPUbT619A to see a You Tube slideshow of some pictures I took during my visit. Jim Brady
Date: April 06, 2014