Termas de Río Hondo Golf Club is the latest development in Santiago del Estero Province’s plans to position the nearby town as a top tourist destination, joining the new Formula 1 racetrack, international airport and national museum of art and history as yet another local star attractions for visitors.
“We designed a golf course that will attract people to the region to stay and play for several days,” said Bruce Charlton of RTJ II Architects when the course opened in 2018. “But it was also important that we give them a golf course that someday is going to host a world championship level golf tournament.”
The course lies within a large coastal wetland habitat bordering the Rio Dulce, with wide and engaging fairways allowing golfers latitude to cope with the changing winds that often blow around these parts. Sandy waste areas border many of the holes as they weave in and out of nine ravines in a very natural environment.
Several holes can be played as a long par three or short par four, with others as optional par fours or par fives, allowing the course to be set up differently on a daily basis. One thing’s for certain though: golfers will surely discover new and interesting challenges every time they play here.
In the R&A publication Golf Around the World 2019 Brad Klein had this to say about the new layout:
"Since the goal of the golf course is to attract play from a wide range of golfers, both skilled and unskilled, the fairways are wide and generous and the tees sport a ribbony look suited to varied set up.
'We could easily have over-designed what was really a blank canvas,' says Bruce Charlton, a veteran of the Jones design operation who oversaw site work on the project. By preserving and in some cases transplanting native mesquite and chiapi trees, the course was given a look befitting the Gran Chaco."
Termas de Rio Hondo Golf Club located in Santiago del Estero is the first design from the famed architect Robert Trent Jones II” in South America and together with the Car Museum and Moto GP Track are part of a very ambicious project from the Province Government to increase the Tourism to this famed place where the mineralized termal waters are the main attraction
The Development is something totally unusual in Argentina and offers a type of course that our country didn’t have before. Designed and constructed with every possible modern feature: paspalum grass coast to coast which allows irrigation with low water quality and where the condition is extremely good.
The design as many of the assistants to the opening ceremony siad is in the style of the Rio Olympic Course, Streamsong 3 Venues or Chambers Bay. There is no rough at all, the main obstacles are water hazards, native areas and some trees. Wind is always a factor here, not only due to a windy zone but to the course being wide open.
One of the main design features is that the course can play as a par 71-72-73 as two holes have double fairway options that can be par 4 or either a 5. There are 4 sets of tees, with all range of yardage par 3s and course can be from 7510 to 6950, 6393 or 5893 yds and 5218 yards for ladies and junior players. Greens are of all sizes, from some small ones to a couple of really big ones as well. The famed “texas wedge” is to be used a lot as many of the greens offer the chance of putting or the classic bump and run.
A couple of holes to highlight:
- 9th with the double fairway that plays par 5 over the left hand side canyon and par 4 using the right path.
- 3rd is another great that can play as a 4/5 with the green on the edge of the canyon
- 4th is a fantastic 3 of only 131yds flying over the same canyon.
- The par for the final four holes stands 3-5-3-5 where a lot of action can happen, this is another unique feature of this fantastic venue.
The infrastructure is something also unique, 45 brand new Club Car, 2 Bar Carts, 2 8pax carts to pick people from the hotel plus 17 new Toro Equipment blows away any past standard in Argentina. Double tee Driving range, huge practice area and putting green complete a great facility.
Nice Club House with andaluz architecture complete a great combo and a serious candidate for the South America Top 10 in the near future, with a big looking terrace to the golf course.
It was a great experience to share the opening ceremony and we are sure this course will attract many golfers in the future. I can compare it to Chambers Bay but in a different environment, something totally new for us. And a true game challenger, if you want to win the match against the course both ball striking and short game need to be sharp!