Fans of golf will find some excellent golf courses in and around Guatemala City housed in private country clubs but open to visitors. You can enjoy a round of golf surrounded by the country’s spectacular mountain scenery as you play on narrow, sloping fairways lined with pine trees and a variety of other obstacles.
Several sportfishing outfitters mentioned have combined fishing and golf packages. If you’re interested in either or both of these, contact The Great Sailfishing Company (tel. 7832-1991, 5966-4528 Antigua, or 877/763-0851 U.S., www.greatsailfishing.com) or Sailfish Bay Lodge (tel. 2426-3909 direct or 800/638-7405 U.S. reservations, www.sailfishbay.com).
It’s also possible to arrange a round of golf through the concierges at some of the city’s finer hotels, including the Marriott, Camino Real, and InterContinental. Entry to all of these clubs is by prior authorization only. You’ll need to call ahead or email.
In 2006 and 2007, Guatemala City’s San Isidro Golf Club hosted the NGA/Hooter’s Pro Golf Tour, which has become an annual event between the last week of February and the first week of March. Guatemala is also a major stop along the annual Tour de las Américas in February.
San Isidro Golf Club
Still officially within the city limits in Zona 16, San Isidro Golf Club (tel. 2385-6524, www.clubsanisidro.com) is the city’s most modern and is in a quiet residential section in its eastern extremes. The 18-hole, par-72 course measures 6,640 yards and offers some truly spectacular views of Guatemala City flanked by Agua, Acatenango, and Fuego Volcanoes. Greens fees are $75, clubs rent for $15, a cart rental costs $20, and caddies are $15. The splendid facilities here include a restaurant overlooking the greens featuring a beautiful dining room with vaulted wooden ceiling, a gym, squash court, and a swimming pool with lap lanes.
Hacienda Nueva Country Club
The 18-hole, 7,100-yard, par-72 golf course at Hacienda Nueva Country Club (Km. 25, Ruta Nacional 18, Carretera a Mataquescuintla, San José Pinula, tel. 6628-1000, www.haciendanueva.com, $75 Tues.–Fri., $90 weekends and holidays) is just outside the city near the Carretera a El Salvador and is set beautifully on the grounds of a 16th- century Jesuit monastery. There’s a small chapel with original artwork where Mass is still held weekly.
Facilities include nine tennis courts, two squash courts, tennis and golf pro shops, and a swimming pool that has won international design awards. The clubhouse has three dining areas, including a poolside snack bar, a casual dining room serving international dishes, and La Pérgola, an outdoor steakhouse overlooking the 18th hole. Fees include $15 for caddie service and $25 for cart rental. A limited number of golf clubs are available for rental at $15. There are also a driving range and putting green.
Alta Vista Golf and Tennis Club
The most challenging course can be found just down the road from Hacienda Nueva at Alta Vista Golf and Tennis Club (Km. 27, Ruta Nacional 18, Carretera a Mataquescuintla, San José Pinula, tel. 6641-5058, 7 a.m.–8 p.m. Tues.–Sun., $75), where the 18-hole, par-71, slope-122 course is divided into two nine-hole sections. Additional challenges include 74 sand traps and two water traps with a route defined by 1,800 trees of varying species, adding a nice alpine touch to the incredible mountain views. The clubhouse is in a large and attractive three-story, English-style building with an elegant restaurant, a bar with pool table, an indoor swimming pool, three squash courts, and six tennis courts. Golf cart rentals cost $27, clubs are $12, and caddies $11.
Mayan Golf Course
South of the city in the neighboring district of Villa Nueva, Mayan Golf Course (Finca El Zarzal, Villa Nueva, tel. 6631-0045, $75) is Guatemala City’s oldest, dating to 1918. The facilities here feel somewhat dated but have been well maintained. The 18-hole, par-72 golf course has exquisite views of Lake Amatitlán and Pacaya Volcano along its 7,092-yard length. Rental clubs and golf carts are available and there is a café with a terrace overlooking the course. Additional sporting facilities include a bowling alley, tennis courts, a soccer field, volleyball court, and swimming pool.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com