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Costa Rica Golf

Adding to the lushness of Costa Rica’s tropical setting are the manicured golf courses that dot this beautiful country. Imagine surfing at sunrise followed by an afternoon game on one of the 18-hole championship golf courses. With its perfect weather and focus on ecotourism, Costa Rica has recently gained a reputation as one of the world’s leading golf destinations. Traveling has never been this easy with flights from Miami to San Jose taking just two hours, with several airlines to get you there.

The year-round warm weather, coupled with un-crowded courses, make Costa Rica a golfer’s paradise. Groomed into the natural setting are dozens of courses ranging from rolling fairways overlooking the ocean to open links tucked between mountains. Although ocean-view courses are popular with tourists, Central Costa Rica offers several championship fairways surrounded by tropical rainforest.

The majority of courses are relatively new, having been built after the tourist boom of 1990. Costa Rica’s courses were designed by world-renowned golf architects including George Fazio, Robert Trent Jones II, Ron Garl, Ted Robinson, Mike Young, Arnold Palmer and Tracy May. In addition to the various country club courses, many of the luxury hotels offer private courses on resort grounds. Below is a list of some of the country’s leading golf destinations.

Peninsula Papagayo
One of the latest courses to join Costa Rica is located at the Four Seasons Peninsula Papagayo in the northern Guanacaste province. Designed by Arnold Palmer, the course boasts ocean views on 14 of its 18 holes. The wide fairway is somewhat challenging, but can be mastered with help from one of the resort’s private instructors or golf clinics. Prices are slightly reduced during twilight golf sessions, with tee times offered daily from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm. Clubs and shoes are available for rent from the Pro Shop open from 6:15 am to 6:00 pm. Children under 16 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. Although an extraordinary course, it is only available to guests of the Four Seasons Peninsula Papagayo.

Santa Cruz
Located in the Guanacaste province is the 18 hole championship course, Hacienda Pinilla Golf & Country Club. Designed by Mike Young, this layout covers 7,274 yards with ocean views and open fairways. Pinilla is a great place to test your skills.

Located nearby is Playa Conchal Golf Resort, an 18-hole course designed by Robert Trent Jones II. The 6,956 yard course offers an ocean view, with each hole incorporated into a tropical landscape. Situated on the grounds are stunning lakes and ravines, where crocodiles have been known to roam. The magnificent resort surrounding Garra de Leon is considered the most luxurious golf course in Central America.

Central Valley
Near San Jose in the Central Valley is Valle del Sol, a sprawling 18- hole golf course designed by architect Tracy May. Nestled in a garden setting, the fairway meanders past a series of pleasant lakes and streams. Backdropping Valle del Sol are Costa Rica’s volcanoes Irazu and Poas, also part of the Poas National Park.

West of San Jose is the 9-hole course, Los Reyes. Lined with towering trees, Los Reyes is a private club open to guests for a reasonable price. Popular on the weekends, this manicured course can best be enjoyed midweek when fairways are less crowded. Ideal for practicing short shots, is their second course just east of San Jose.

Also in the San Jose province is the famed Cariari Country Club. As one of Costa Rica’s first courses, the 18-hole championship fairway was designed by architect George Fazio and is considered to be one of the best courses in Central America. Built on an old coffee plantation, the 6,590 yard layout features a challenging, tree-lined fairway and 132 slope. With a course rating of 71.9, the course demands very precise strokes in order to reach the green. The field’s total extension is 35 hectares, which is two thirds of the Club’s property.

South Pacific Coast
With ocean views and a rainforest setting, Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort is considered a golfer’s dream. Located on Herradura beach, this 18-hole, par-72 championship course was designed by Ted Robinson. It is not uncommon to spot exotic wildlife including monkeys and macaws. The course was first opened in 1999, and is still recognized for its 6,707 yard course just two hours from San Jose.

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