Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dr. Mackenzie in South America, Punta Carretas, Montevideo

I’ve spent the last two months living and working in Punta del Este, Uruguay and took some time to visit 3 courses where Dr. Mackenzie worked way back when.  Club de Golf del Uruguay, Campo de Golf de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, and Jockey Club.  I’ve been lucky and dogged enough in the last few years to visit his courses in Michigan, California, Australia/New Zealand, and now Uruguay and Argentina.

First Stop:  
Club de Golf del Uruguay (renovated/re-routed by Mackenzie, 1930)
Punta Carretas, Montevideo, Uruguay

Hoyo 4--Par 4
A sporty track with several short par 4's (from the tips…322y, 349, 325, 304, 338), average length par 3’s  and 5’s.  All the greens are boldly elevated, back to front and well guarded by interesting/arty bunker horizons.  Some of the par 5’s are reachable but not all have a way to run a ball up the front.     The course sits on a promontory above the harbor and gently slopes towards the water.  The routing takes the golfer in all directions up,down, and side to side exploiting ocean views all around.

I found the drainage ditches in front of several of the lower lying greens to be one of the interesting elements found in the context of golden age design and construction.  These drainage swales created some strategic choices on the reachable par 5’s and 4's, risking a tricky chip opposed to laying back with a full wedge….The bunkers were all fairly shallow with convex outside edges (to shed water above the heavy clay soils, no doubt)
Hoyo 8--Par 4
Drainage path in front of green site

An interesting fact about the club is that the local government requires the grounds to be open to the public at 2pm on Sundays.  No golf but I did see some children romping in the sand traps, runners and picknickers.  Probably a horror at most private clubs in the US, everything seems a little more relaxed down here.  On Monday morning the golf course is open for play to the public all day for no charge!  I walked the whole course Sunday afternoon, but played holes 9-18 (x2) on Monday as the front nine was closed for maintanence.  

For more pictures check out the slideshow!

Punta Carretas

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