By: Liborio País
Interest for golf all around has given rise to considerable mobility throughout the world by travelers looking for the possibility of participating in tournaments where formerly acquired skills may be applied, or the peculiarities of the golf courses located in new environments may be enjoyed.
Cuban tourism officials have not disregarded this field, that’s why they plan to build 16 golf courses in the provinces of Holguin, Pinar del Rio and Matanzas, where there is already one in the famous beach resort of Varadero. When all projects and plans materialize, what could become the most famous golf circuit of the whole planet will be completed, including other touristy destinations amply coveted, such as the Dominican Republic and Mexico.
In these two nations there are around fifty first-level facilities to practice golf, which will be back as part of the Olympic Program in the London Olympic Games scheduled for the coming July and August.
In some experts’ opinion, the old Quisqueya courses as well as the Mexican Cancun’s and the Mayan Riviera ones stand out for their layout and for the fact that the designers and builders set their minds to turning them into true centers of man/nature sustainable coexistence.
The former objective will be one of the challenges for Cuban architects and workers in general: to try to parallel their predecessor’s imagination and talent, considering that the one existing in Varadero is already a masterpiece.
Those interested could check on the quality of this course during the IV International Tournament Copa Montecristi, scheduled for March 19 through 21 in the Varadero Golf Club facilities.
According to the official announcement, three different categories will be opened, two for men and one for women, by means of which a competition started in 2009 will be continued.
The Caribbean circuit, still in the executives’ imagination, could be started in one of the two ends, the Dominican Republic or Mexico, Cuba being in the midst.
The Varadero facility is one of the two existing in Cuba. It’s a 69 hectare course with 18 holes, fit for high level tournaments. The other golf course is located in the capital city, in Capdevila, but can not be compared to the one in Varadero regarding its size and conditions. It is only superior to the Blue Beach field in its age. The Capdevila course was constructed in the 50’s of the 20th Century, and the following story goes back to that time.
Soon after the triumph of the revolution in 1959, the ex world heavy weight champion of professional boxing, the mythical Joe Louis, came to Havana. He wanted to play golf in that course, but the owners prevented him from doing it because he was black.
Because of that, the Cuban Government nationalized the Capdevila course almost at once and Louis went in and satisfied his wish to brandish a club and spend a good time in the beautiful scenery.
According to the head executive of the International Association of Golf Tour Operators headquartered in London, Peter Walton, Cuba has potential to become an important venue in this area, and to form part in a spectacular triad together with Cancun, Riviera Maya and the Dominican Republic.