Club de Golf del Uruguay is one of the true hidden golf masterpieces you’ve never heard of. Unfortunately, with time and land the course is very short by today’s standards; just 6,680 yards. Yardage aside, it is a par 73 as opposed to a typical par 72, with only three par 3’s against four par 5’s. Dr. Alister MacKenzie designed Club de Golf del Uruguay in 1930. In 1975, the course was declared an historical national monument. It remains one of the few MacKenzie courses anywhere in the world where the original design remains unaltered.
The flora and fauna of this course immediately drew me in. In this case, everything from the fairway and green grass types, to the tall Eucalyptus trees and singing parakeets lining each hole. All in all, it reminded me of my home, Australia.
The course offers several signature features of a MacKenzie design. For example, the superb bunkering, the contoured greens with surrounding runoff areas, and the tee boxes in close proximity to the prior green, separated by tightly mown fairway grass.
How it Plays
My favorite hole was the par 5 14th (pictured). Hole 14 is the longest hole on the course, measuring 547 yards. The tee shot calls for the slightest draw for the right-handed golfer. If placed correctly, this would provide an opportunity to go for this risk/reward par 5 in two shots.
The second shot plays toward the green, sitting slightly elevated along the boundary fence. It’s important to note that Montevideo is on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, the only thing separating the course and the shore is a main road. For this reason, hole 14 provides outstanding views across a cove to the city.
The green is well guarded by a water hazard stretching from roughly 80 yards out to the green. This is accompanied by bunkering short left and front to middle right. A missed second or third shot into this green needs to favor the right side. That is to say, anything short, left or long requires a lot of luck to leave any kind of approach for your third or fourth. The green has a tier separating the lower left portion of the green from the front right, middle and rear right of the green. But, there’s an opportunity to make an eagle with a well struck second shot.
I don’t know whether I will ever have the chance to play at Club de Golf del Uruguay again but I would relish the opportunity to do so!