Golf in Colombia

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Golf. It’s hardly the first sport that comes to mind when you think of a South American country like Colombia, yet it is beginning to gain popularity here.

Colombia boasts over 50 courses, which ranks it third behind only Argentina and Brazil.

Many of these have been designed by the game’s most famous players, including Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.

Bogota accounts for more than half the country’s courses, which makes sense given it is the business, financial, and political capital of the country. And it’s also by far the largest city in terms of population.

However, with additional courses spread throughout Colombia, from the exotic San Andres Islands and Caribbean Coast to the mountainous interior, golf aficionados have the chance to play in a wide range of geographic regions that are all about an hour’s flight from one another.

Medellin, for example, has the most ideal weather for golf, with an equal number of daylight hours throughout the year.

The City of Eternal Spring features the following courses:

  • Club El Rodeo (par 72)
  • Club El Rodeo (par 72) in Rio Negro
  • Club Campestre de Medellin (par 72) in Rio Negro. This course is home to PGA golfer Camilo Villegas.
  • Club Campestre de Medellin (par 72)

Traditionally, golf has been the domain of the wealthy, and access to greens has required costly memberships to private country clubs.

Unlike in the United States, for example, there aren’t a whole lot of public golf courses, but this may begin to change as golf is increasingly promoted to the general public. This openness by the clubs to allow foreigners to play is part of a clear effort to help further promote tourism, and Colombia as a place to do business.

El Rodeo is a private club, so you need a membership to get in. As of April 2015, a membership for a year costs 5 million pesos plus a 660 thousand peso monthly maintenance fee for a single person. A membership for a family for a year costs the same 5 million pesos plus an 826 thousand peso MMF.

The following exceptions do offer tourists an opportunity to play a round:

  • Any guest of a five-star hotel allied with the club can have access to it. Some of these hotels include Dann Carlton, San Fernando Plaza, Medellin Royal, etc.
  • A foreigner (or anyone) who is staying for a short amount of time can contact them and arrange a membership for up to two months which would cost 2 million pesos.

Golf photos from Colombia aren’t as easy to find online as in other countries where the sport has enjoyed greater popularity.

Proexport, the country’s tourism organization, is currently taking the lead to promote the sport and courses internationally.

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This post was written by Dave, and brought to you by GolfNow.com and the Golf Channel.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. Nice write up man, that sounds like that crazy gringo Brian Andrews narrrating that…not sure if that pic of Bogota was at La Sabana private club up in the north but ive seen been there and its amazing, glad its blowing up, jus tneed some affordable recreation courses for the masses to participate

    • I went with my clubs ready and eager to play golf in Colombia last year for 2 months (June-Aug) but was very dissapointed not in the prices or the quality of courses available but in the fact that tourists who travel there on their own can only play if they are members of clubs or guests invited by member. Some of the pricy hotels have access to courses for their clients. I dont see how this policy all over Colombia can encourage golf tourism. I have played all over the world but this is a rare policy.

      • I’ll be retiring soon and want to find a place to escape the heat of the Arizona desert. I would live there for about four months of the year and Medellin is high on my list. But if it’s that difficult to play golf as a visitor, it would be a deal killer. I’m an airline pilot and retirement is mandatory at age 65 which is just 2-years away. I hope during this time they relax the rules and allow more public access for long term visitors.

        Frank

        • Hi Frank,

          Thanks for reading. I hope so too. If Medellin and Colombia as a whole is looking to increase tourism (to 4 million next year alone), as well as attract North American retirees, opening up the golf courses and clubs would make a lot of sense.

    • Colombia’s Mantaraya Travel provides a “Bogotá Golf-Day Tour”

      http://www.mantarayatravel.com/sightseeing-tours/bogota-golf-day-tour

      The website reports that the tour includes a morning drive to the golf course and everything you will need to enjoy your golf round. You will be provided with full first class gear and an expert caddy that will help you sort out the secrets of the course. After the 9th hole, a refreshing break will take place followed by lunch once the course is completed. You can select among the following golf courses: La Cima Golf Club, Bogota Golf Club or the San Jacinto Golf Club.

  2. Any Idea what the employment opportunities are like for Americans at Colombian golf courses? I have been landscaping here in the US for almost 20 years, and looking for a change of climate…Colombia looks damn good!

    Thanks…Robert

  3. Do you know if there are any places in Medellin that rent out golf clubs for the day or a round? It’sf For those on short trips and don’t want the hassle to lug around golf clubs.

  4. Hi Frank. I am a retired pilot from Alaska Airlines. Have yet to play golf here in Medellin even though I am dating a Colombiana for over a year and spending a lot of time in Medellin. I would play golf here every day if I could. Any suggestions?

    Jim Irvine
    Jamzzz@aol.com