The resort town of Varadero – sometimes known as Playa Azul, meaning “Blue Beach” – lies on the Hicacos Peninsula, a mile wide finger of land that extends around ten miles from the north coast of Cuba. Famed for its expanse of soft, white sandy beaches, over a half a million people arrive here on holiday every year.
A major hotel construction program in the 1990s may have transformed Varadero in recent times into one of the largest attractions in the Caribbean but it was back in the early 1930s, when the former Du Pont chemical company chairman moved to the area, that the resort first appeared on the tourist map.
Irénée du Pont de Nemours built Xanadú Mansion – now a boutique hotel and Varadero’s clubhouse – as his retirement home on the rocky crags of San Bernardino and the French American millionaire also engaged Herbert Strong to lay out an 18-hole golf course within landscaped gardens for his enjoyment.
Unfortunately, the course was destroyed by a hurricane soon after it was completed and it reopened again in 1936 as a 9-hole layout. Long after the Cuban Revolution and the demise of its former owner, the property was re-branded as Varadero Golf Club in 1999.
Canadian architect Les Furber was tasked with creating a new 18-hole course at Varadero Golf Club but it’s not known how many, if any, of the original fairways were incorporated into his new design.