One really famous Argentinean golf hole is the 15th at Olivos Golf Club, which is included in the book 1001 Golf Holes you must play before you die. Javier Pintos (our Argentina Correspondent) isn’t sure if it’s the best hole in the country but it’s certainly the most famous. As a fun exercise, he has created “My Best 18 golf holes in Argentina” to fashion an imaginary golf course with his favourite holes.
My best 18 golf holes in Argentina
Hole 1 – SAN ANDRES GOLF CLUB – Par 4 420 yards
A great opener, tree-lined on both sides and with a very tricky green described by Tom Doak as the best putting surface in Argentina. It’s a two-tiered platform, with the chance of a very tough short pin and the back left position demands one of the most precise shots in the country.
Hole 2 – BUENOS AIRES GOLF CLUB – Par 5 515 yards
A 90-degree dogleg caused by a lake which was easily carried in the 2000 EMC World Cup when it played as a par four hole. The second shot uphill offers a challenge with bunkers on the left and a canyon with trees on the right where recovery is tough. It has a big sloping green with plenty of good pin positions but it still offers a good chance for a birdie to get your round going.
Hole 3 – CAÑUELAS GOLF CLUB – Par 3 155 yards
This hole features an island green, similar to the famous 17th at TPC Sawgrass, where the tee is a little bit raised from the green level which has two platforms and is bigger than the famous Florida version. It usually plays into the wind in a wide open place so correct club selection is the difference between an easy par or disaster.
Hole 4 – CHAPELCO GOLF CLUB – Par 4 420 yards
This hole is furthest from the Clubhouse, in the middle of a Valley which is usually the breeziest part of the course. Into the wind, club choice can be driver and long iron, without the wind the mound that splits the fairway can be carried to leave only a wedge to a small sloped green.
Hole 5 – GOLF CLUB ARGENTINO – Par 4 360 yards
One of the great short par fours in Argentina, where length off the tee is important but isn’t mandatory. The fairway is pretty open until 150 yards from the green with a cross-bunker on the left and big oak tree on the right at 100 yards to a very small green which breaks from front-to-back, making it very tough to hold an approach shot.
Hole 6 – MAR DEL PLATA GOLF CLUB (Playa Grande) – Par 4 360 yards
This is the best par four in the country. A slight dogleg left with a small forest on the right and sand mounds on the left, with two pine trees that really come into play off the tee on a left to right sloping fairway. Wind is always a factor and it can play from a short lob wedge to a 7 iron into the wind. The green slopes from back-to-front and anything over the pin will require the fastest putt in Argentina.
Hole 7 – EL DESAFÍO MOUNTAIN RESORT – Par 4 330 yards
Another great example of where a short par four can be great. It’s driveable from every tee except the black for amateur players and the clever shot is to aim to the right side and let the terrain make the ball break back to the front part of the green for an easy chip or a putt. Don’t miss left where bunkers and dense fescue rough can be a nightmare. Laying up is easy but it will leave a very difficult approach shot so this one calls for brave hearts.
Hole 8 – El POTRERILLO DE LARRETA COUNTRY CLUB – Par 5 550 yards
A great golf hole, with a stream that runs along the right of the fairway then crosses in front of the green before continuing on the left side. Usually a 3-shotter, there’s danger for the tee shot on the left side with rocks and trees. Laying up isn’t hard but the small, water-protected green also has a bunker on the right side, making it one of the most challenging short shots you’ll face.
Hole 9 – HURLINGHAM CLUB – Par 3 176 yards
One of the nicest half-way houses you will see in Argentina stands before the 9th tee. After a hot-dog and either a soup in winter or something fresh in summer, you will face this very challenging par three with a bunker on the right side and an undulating green that slips away to the back and left.
Hole 10 – JOCKEY CLUB RED COURSE – Par 5 500 yards
“The hole without a par” as it is regarded, this fantastic MacKenzie green has really everything to be a nightmare. It is a short par five where even pros after a 300-yard tee shot can easily make a 7. It has a big bunker on the right side and almost half the green is up the hill where short balls will definitely roll back to the front of it. And the back part rolls away to the end so you need to be extremely precise with the approach shot. It’s my favourite hole on this course.
Hole 11 – ESTANCIA LA PAZ – Par 5 531 yards
This amazing golf hole
starts the stretch with the river on the right side. A fairway that
rolls downhill where a good tee shot will give you the chance of
going for it but you have to carry almost up to the green’s edge as
the ball could roll back like that famous 15th hole at one of the
Majors… a hole that is not only great but very nice!
Hole 12 – NORDELTA GOLF CLUB – Par 3 200 yards
This hole faces the biggest lake on the property and it’s one of the first that was finished during construction. It plays to a two-tiered green with a bunker on the right side and some room to miss on the left. Into the wind you can consider it a short par four and lay up… just joking, but a great golf hole!
Hole 13 – MARTINDALE COUNTRY CLUB – Par 4 430 yards
Although not a big fan of this course, I really like the challenge of the second shot to a two-platform green where the high part is on the right over the bunker and the left is the lower portion. It’s pretty wide off the tee, but if missing on the right then the approach remains extremely demanding.
Hole 14 - PILARÁ GOLF CLUB – Par 5 540 yards
It plays as a true links hole, slightly downhill with small bunkers spread for the tee shot which, if you carry, there is a chance of getting home in two shots. A very small green is protected by a big bunker on the right and a smaller (and deeper) one on the left. A layup will provide an easy approach and a chance for a birdie. If you go over the green, marsh and water will destroy your chances of making this a good birdie chance.
Hole 15 - OLIVOS GOLF CLUB – Par 4/5 480 yards
Described as one of the 1001 holes to be played before dying, this fantastic par five (par four for professional events) is a strong dogleg right with the second shot going downhill with a small lake on the right. The green has three protecting bunkers (right, left and long). You have to love it, if played during fall the oak trees frame it in amazing colours.
Hole 16 - SAN ISIDRO GOLF CLUB – Par 3 190 yards
This might not be a popular choice. There are a couple of holes on the course I could have selected (7th, 8th, 14th, 15th) but I need a par three to balance the imaginary venue and this one provides challenge and beauty surrounded by 60+ year-old trees and a tough shot over a front/right bunker with only a small space left for a running shot.
Hole 17 - MAR DEL PLATA GOLF CLUB (Playa Grande) – Par 4 420 yards
The most iconic green on the course – the only one that doesn’t totally break towards the ocean – for a hole that will always provide a strong test. The tee shot is not easy but there is room in this left-to-right sloping fairway. Everything short of the green will roll backwards to the front right and will leave a tough chip over the bunker. It’s one of the toughest greens to read.
Hole 18 - JOCKEY CLUB RED COURSE – Par 4 340 yards
There could have been many other choices like 18th at Pilará, Nordelta, Mar del Plata, Buenos Aries Golf Club, San Andres and others, but finish facing that amazing clubhouse and try to beat the Valley of Sin on a severely sloped green. It’s just a great finish to my imaginary favourite course in Argentina.
19th Hole – The Terrace at MAR DEL PLATA GOLF CLUB
After the round, just take an imaginary flight to the terrace at Playa Grande facing the course, the port, the ocean and the sunset and enjoy a nice “picada” with a cold beer and be glad to be a golfer, there is no place in South America for an after-round drink like this one.
This is just my choice, using my imagination, listing the holes I enjoy more with some criteria on quality, golf design and challenge. It’s a very nice par 74 which I will play always in my mind as my favourite round in Argentina.