When we in the northern hemisphere start thinking of places to go during our offseason we traditionally think of places like Florida, South Carolina, Arizona, Mississippi, Mexico or perhaps the Islands of the Caribbean. But down under in the Southern Hemisphere the seasons are also changing and their peak golf season is just about to get under way.
I was lucky enough to have visited a number of regions throughout the country but not nearly for long enough! How long would it take to visit all the great wine regions and winemakers in Argentina? That is how long I want to stay next time. When we think of Argentinean wine we automatically think of Melbec’s but I have to tell you that I tasted some Cabernet Sauvignons that were just as memorable.
A visit to Argentina could be one of those once in a lifetime trips but my bet is that try it once and you will be back again. Unless you make your first trip for 2 weeks or longer you just won’t get the taste and feel for the whole country. It is the kind of place that makes you want for more. I would suggest an 8 to 10 day two center trip for starters with Buenos Aires being your primary destination since that is the main airport in the country although for those visiting wine region of Mendoza, changing planes in Santiago Chile might be a better option. That worked out perfectly for me.
I would also look at this kind of a vacation as a vacation with golf as opposed to a golf vacation. There is so much history, culture, and spectacular scenery to enjoy that you will want to dedicate some entire days for that. For some of us that become a little weaker after a few martini’s and some fine Argentinean wine the nights tend to become a little longer especially in a city like Buenos Aires where the action only stops when no one is left standing. Guaranteed you will need some recovery time. Golf every second day would be ideal.
The City of Buenos Aires is home to some of the best golf in the nation while some of the most spectacular golf is reserved for the more mountainous regions in Patagonia. We will cover that off another day. Topping the list of the must play courses in Buenos Aires and in no particular order are:
- Olivios Golf Club which just so happened to be hosting the World Amateur while we were there and this traditional parkland style course was one of the courses in consideration for the 2000 World Cup.
- The Jockey Club is an 80 year old Allister MacKenzie gem that has twice hosted the World Golf Championships as well as the Argentine Open. Fast undulating well protected greens are the trade mark of this course.
- Buenos Aires Golf Club is a 27 hole layout that has the notoriety of having Tiger Woods and partner David Duval as winners of the 2000 World Golf Championships. What are the chances of that ever happening again?
- Pilar Golf Club is another 27-hole complex, traditional in style, fun to play yet a great test of golf. Most memorable is the last hole of the Colarada nine which is a 665 yard par 6 which I managed to birdie.
- San Andres Golf Club built in 1905 is certainly one of the oldest clubs in the country. Hit it straight here or you will find yourself being punished by the very tall trees that line the fairways. A member’s course with impeccable conditioning.
Now that we have you thinking, the absolute most important thing that you DO NOT WANT TO DO in Buenos Aires is DRIVE on your own. You have never seen anything like this. In one part of Buenos Aires, I think I saw 16 lanes of traffic all in one direction. Let your tour operator arrange for your transfers to play golf and pick you accommodations in the downtown area and you will be able to walk or cab it everywhere. No problem getting a cab with over 32,000 floating around the city.There are approximately 500 hotels in Buenos Aires so plenty of styles and price points but I would recommend 4 star or better and you likely want to be close to downtown in close proximity to either the shopping areas Florida Street, Sante Fe Avenue, Belgrano and Palermo Hollywood, or the dining areas such as Recoleta Las Canitas, Puerto Madero and Palermo Veijo.
You should include at least one city tour as a part of your itinerary. Ours included a very entertaining visit to Caminito Street in the heart of the colorful (mostly blue and yellow) La Boca neighborhood home of the Boca Juniors one of the popular soccer teams of the city. The city itself lies on the banks of Rio de la Plata and combines European style appeal and the Latin/Spanish feeling.
Bring your appetite and if you have cholesterol issues…well …bring some pills because you are going to want to have some beef. Although there is cuisine from around the world meat based dishes lead the way. Don’t expect to be eating too early in the evening, although you can, most restaurants get busy around 9:30 PM. Once you are done you might as well head out and learn to Tango that will wear it off or just watch the professionals……I think I lost a few pounds watching them and did not spill my drink doing it.