Guatemala Golf Course Guide
Of the estimated 55 million golfers in the world, it would be a safe bet to say that a very small percentage of them would consider Guatemala a golf destination. And yet, there are some world-class golf courses here if you just know where to look.
Mayan Golf Club
Recognized as the oldest golfing society in Central America, the Pamplona Golf Association (as it was then known) was established in 1918. First situated in the La Paz district of Guatemala City, it was moved to La Chacara and finally, in 1962, relocated to its present location between San Miguel Petapa and Villa Nueva.
Contact: Mayan Golf Club, Finca El Zarzal, Villa Nueva, Guatemala
Tel: +(502) 6631-0045 Website: mayangolfclub.com
18 holes; Guest policy Open; Driving range; Rental carts; Rental clubs; Caddies; Teaching Pro available.
Other facilities: swimming pool, bowling alley, tennis courts, sauna, restaurant, bar.
Altavista Golf & Tennis Club
Considered one of the more challenging courses in Guatemala, it is just down the road from Hacienda Nueva Country Club. This 18-hole course was designed by the Black Knight Design Company. There are 74 sand traps, two water traps and a route defined by 1,800 trees of varying species, adding a nice alpine touch to the mountain views. The clubhouse includes an elegant restaurant and an indoor swimming pool. …continued on page 40
Contact: Altavista Golf & Tennis Club, Km 27.5 Ruta Nacional 18, San José Pinula, Guatemala
Tel: +(502) 6641-5057 Fanpage: facebook.com/AltaVistaGolfClub
18 holes; built 1991; Guest policy Open; Driving range; Rental carts; Rental clubs; Caddies. Other facilities: swimming pool, racquet ball/squash courts, tennis courts, gym, lockers, sauna, restaurant, bar.
Hacienda Nueva Country Club
This 7,100-yard course is just outside Guatemala City near the Carretera a El Salvador and set on the beautiful grounds of a 16th-century Jesuit monastery. There is still a small chapel with original artwork. Facilities include nine tennis courts, two squash courts, tennis and pro shops, and a swimming pool that has won international design awards. The clubhouse has three dining areas, including a poolside snack bar.
The course is player friendly, with some challenging elements for the more advanced golfers. Bunkering may be sparse, but the difficulty lies within their strategic placement around the greens. The greens are known for being consistently immaculate.
Contact: Hacienda Nueva Country Club, Km 25 Ruta Nacional 18, San José Pinula, Guatemala
Tel: +(502) 6628-1000 Website: haciendanueva.com
18 holes; built 1996; Guest policy Admittance only with previous authorization (or with member);
Driving range; Rental carts; Rental clubs; Caddies; Pro available. Other facilities: swimming pool, squash courts, tennis courts, banquet rooms, sauna, restaurant, bar.
Guatemala Country Club
This “old-school” course has been around so long that Guatemala City has grown up around it. It is hiding in plain sight just a couple of blocks off of Roosevelt near the Trebol. Open only to members and their guests, there are not many elevation changes on this course but it sports some long par threes and greens with hard-to-read breaks. Fortunately, the caddies know their job so you just have to hit where they tell you.
The clubhouse restaurant is an homage to the 1950s executive men’s lounge featuring mostly wood and leather. The plate-glass windows overlooking the 9th and 18th greens allow you to enjoy your meal while watching your fellow golfers pursue their perfect game.
Contact: Guatemala Country Club, 30 avenida final, zona 11, Guatemala
Tel: +(502) 2434-6193 Fanpage: facebook.com/GuatemalaCountryClub
18 holes; built 1928; Guest policy Only members and their guests; Driving range; Caddies.
Other facilities: swimming pool, squash courts, tennis courts, restaurant, bar.
San Isidro Country Club
As private as it is spectacular, this is a newer addition to the courses in Guatemala. If you know someone who is a member and they invite you to play with them, don’t hesitate. There are well-designed signature holes with some views overlooking downtown Guatemala City and some with volcano views. Fun to play but watch out for the fast greens.
Contact: San Isidro Country Club, Finca San Isidro, Santa Sofía, zona 16, Guatemala
Tel: +(502) 2364-2424 Website: San Isidro Country Club
18 holes; Guest policy Private; Driving range; Caddies. Other facilities: squash courts, tennis courts, gym, restaurants, banquet rooms.
La Reunion Golf Resort – Fuego Maya Golf Course
On Sunday, June 3, 2018, Volcán de Fuego erupted in a series of explosions and pyroclastic flows that not only devastated the area, it also caused the death of hundreds of people.
In the aftermath, the local economy also took a significant hit as many inhabitants were employed at the nearby Hotel La Reunion Golf Resort & Residences.
The resort’s crown jewel was the magnificent Pete Dye-designed golf course Fuego Maya which hosted the PGA Tour Latinoamérica Stella Artois Open and also attracted both tourists and hotel guests from around the world.
The volcano was notable for its constant low-level activity, which before the eruption was considered just part of the resort’s local charm. With no major eruptions since the 1970s, the site was considered relatively safe and thus the hotel and golf course opened in 2009 to international acclaim. Minor ash expulsions and thunderous booms were a regular occurrence. Occasional evacuations happened, but no one expected this devastating eruption.
Lava flowed down the mountain, covering the golf course and hotel, and ash spread far and near, prompting the closure of the La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City over 40 miles away.
Unfortunately, rebuilding the golf course and resort may prove to be overly expensive and dangerous. While many of the residents of the small communities in the area depended on the resort for their livelihood, questions remain as to the safety and advisability of rebuilding so close to a volcano as active as Fuego. As recently as November 2018, the volcano spewed lava and ash high into the air and prompted more evacuations of the area.
It seems as though La Reunion and the Fuego Maya golf course are likely lost to history. The incredible spectacle of playing a round of golf on a championship course with ash and thunder rumbling in the background will live in the memories of those who were lucky enough to play Fuego Maya during its nearly decade-long existence.
Golf Expert Editor-in-Chief