Imagine playing match play on one of the most beautiful courses in the world against the person who designed and built it. Yes, it doesn’t get any better than this.
Why is Terravista so beautiful? Imagine a course that runs near the Ocean. OK that’s cool. Now imagine a course that runs near the Ocean but it’s built on the top of a 50-meter cliff – yes this is super cool. There are four holes running right along the cliffs with two holes requiring a forced carry over them. Wait a little we will get there in a while but first let’s start from the beginning.
Terravista starts with an easy dog leg right par four followed by a par three with a lake guarding the left side and a big but undulated green. Number 3 is a nice par five where it is better to lay up in front of the green than to attack it.
The best hole on the front nine is number 6. This is a very interesting short par four in the shape of a boomerang with a bunker in the middle and everything sloping from this central point. If you can carry 230 yards you should aim right of the bunker and the hill will feed your ball almost to the green. If you don’t hit that far, aim left, you will have a longer but not so difficult approach. The designer, Dan Blankenship, told me that this hole came out just the way he wanted and it sure plays great.
Number 7 is the hardest hole on the course, long and tricky. The green is huge but there is a false front that would make MacKenzie proud, don’t miss your approach short because your ball may roll back 40 yards.
The second half is where the course meets the sea so be prepared and have a camera always ready. It all starts at #12 a drivable par four with the Ocean on your left and a big downhill on your right. The hill looks intimidating but it is actually a good place to leave your ball. From there you will have an uphill pitch to a forgiving green.
The next hole is a short par five that plays harder than it looks. Ocean on your left and OB on your right will require you to find the fairway on your first shot and stay there. The green has many contours and sits higher than the fairway, study your approach shot wisely because it is hard to make an up and down here.
Number 14 is the signature hole, a marvelous par three with the green hanging on the cliff edge. It is 210 yards from the back tees with a 180-yard forced carry over a 45-meter cliff – the visual impact is hard to describe. Even if you are playing from a different set of tees get a ball and give it a go from the back tee. The green has three tiers and if you find the correct one you will have a good chance to score a birdie.
After this shot of adrenaline, you should take some time at the 15th tee and enjoy the view. There are several turtle nests at the foot of the cliff so it is easy to spot them swimming in the water near the coral. By the way, this explains the turtle tee markers.
Number 15 is my favorite hole, another forced carry over the cliffs to an angled fairway is the perfect setting for a heroic hole – the closer to the cliff you go the better angle and the shorter distance to the green. The second shot will face the green surrounded by bunkers, a coconut plantation and the ocean, the only acceptable miss is short.
By the way, remember that match play? We were all square at the 17th and halved the last hole. I don’t know of a better way to finish a wonderful day’s golf.
Date: January 29, 2017