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Central & South American Golf Course Rankings 2012

21 January, 2012

Central & South American Golf Course Rankings 2012

Top 100 Golf Courses extends its Central & South America rankings

21st January 2012

It has been a challenging process for us to journey through Central & South America, identifying the best golf courses across twenty-one countries. But we’ve done just that. Some countries, such as the Falkland Islands, French Guiana, Guyana and Suriname have only one or two golf courses, and their current golfing facilities are rather too rudimentary to mention in any detail. However, there is some stunning golf to be played in numerous other countries across the continent and subcontinent.

Argentina is at the historical heart of golf in Central & South American and it’s where golf reputedly began in 1890, when an intrepid Scotsman was flung into jail after customs officials in Buenos Aires thought his golf clubs were secret weapons. Little did they know that seven decades later an Argentinean would win more than 250 golf tournaments worldwide. Roberto de Vincenzo is the Argentine golfing equivalent of football’s Diego Maradona and de Vincenzo’s career was crowned in 1967 when he lifted the Claret Jug at Hoylake. Two years later, Ángel Cabrera was born and “The Duck” progressed from caddying at Córdoba Country Club to becoming a two-time Major champion, winning the US Open in 2007 and the Masters two years later.

There are around 250 golf clubs registered in Argentina and there are many Argentinean golf courses worthy of close inspection. I won’t steal any thunder from Javier Pintos, who runs a successful golf travel company called “Let’s Golf Argentina”, because Javier has agreed to write an article for us on his country’s golf courses. I’ll just thank Javier wholeheartedly at this point for helping us assemble our Argentinean golf course rankings.

Caye Chapel is Belize’s only golf course and it’s set on a private 2.5-mile Caribbean island just off the Belize mainland. Originally developed by Kentucky industrialist Larry Addington, the entire island of Caye Chapel is currently for sale. If you have $75 million dollars under your mattress and fancy your own private 265-acre island retreat, complete with airstrip, deep-water marina, eight beachfront villas and eleven marina view cabanas, then Caye Chapel and its championship golf course and clubhouse could be yours. If you do buy it, please forward an invite to the island warming party to the address below!

We currently feature only one golf course in the following countries: Bolivia (La Paz), Ecuador (Quito), Honduras (Black Pearl at Pristine Bay), Nicaragua (Hacienda Iguana) and Peru (Los Incas). We feature two courses in Chile: (Las Brisas de Santo Domingo) and (Leones), two in El Salvador: (Salvadoreno) and (Veraneras), two in Panama: (Coronado) and (Cielo Paraiso) and two in Paraguay (Yacht & Golf Club Paraguay) and (Carlos Franco).

The premier courses in Colombia are located around the capital, Bogotá, and the best is Club El Rincón de Cajicá – to give the club its full title. The Country Club of Bogotá and San Andrés Golf Club are two other Colombian golfing facilities that are from the top drawer.

Costa Rica has become quite a golfing hotspot in recent years and we have five golf courses listed, headed by the Arnold Palmer designed Peninsula Papagayo course at the Four Seasons Resort, which opened in 2004. Designed by George Fazio and constructed by his nephew Tom Fazio in the early 1970s, Cariari Country Club was the first 18-hole course to be built in Costa Rica and it’s our Costa Rican No.2. Hacienda Pinilla was fashioned by American, Mike Young, and our No.3 course weaves its way out through tropical woodland and heads down to the Pacific Ocean on the way home.

Guatemala is another Central American country that punches way above its weight. The Fuego Maya course at La Reunion Antigua Golf Resort is a Pete and Perry Dye design from 2009 which enjoys a stunning setting in a verdant valley that lies between two towering volcanoes. The Mayan Golf Club on the other hand was established in 1918 as the Pamplona Golf Association and is recognised as the oldest golfing society in Central America.

We feature three of the eleven golf clubs affiliated to Uruguay’s Golf Association and the best of these was laid out in 2000 at the Four Seasons Resort Carmelo by two Robert Van Hagge protégés, Kelly Moran and Randy Thompson, from the American Golf Course Design Company.

Last but not least in our whistle-stop tour is Brazil, South America’s largest and most populous country. There are more than 100 golf courses in Brazil and we feature fifteen of the best. Our No.1 Brazilian golf course was laid out by American architect Dan Blankenship, a former associate of Pete and Perry Dye, on Brazil’s Discovery Coast. Terravista opened for play in 2004 and from day one the golf course has received glowing accolades. “Terravista Golf Course has proven to be the most enjoyable project of my career,” said Dan Blankenship with pride. “Working in an area with incredible ocean views from seaside cliffs, native Brazilian rain forest, contours almost ideal for a golf course, and knowing that Brazil was discovered at this exact location 500 years ago, was a wonderful experience. My construction team and I felt honored to be part of this amazing project and also felt a huge responsibility to deliver not just a golf course but a championship course that will stand the test of time in the ever growing game of golf.”

We genuinely welcome feedback… in fact we actively encourage it. So please tell us what you think about our latest voyage through the golf courses of Central and South America. We won’t ever claim to be “definitive” but we are the most “informed” golf course rankings in the business. If you’ve played any of our featured Central and South American courses, we’d be delighted to know what you think, so why not contribute and post a course review or two?

Click here to visit Central and South America on the Top 100 website, or simply click on Central and South America on the left to navigate through the continent.

Keith Baxter


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