Not many people are aware of the fact that Brazil is slowly but surely becoming quite a popular golf destination. Many people that plan on visiting this country will spend a couple of hours at a golf course having fun and relaxing. The question is where golf players can make the most of their time? With the help of this article you will be able to know which places to visit in order to enjoy a beautiful afternoon at a golf course.
First of all, Salvador Da Bahia is dedicated to this sport. By dedicated we mean that they have actually created a Department of Golf within its tourism department. One of the most important golf courses in all Brazil is Costa do Sauipe Golf Links which is in Sao Joao. It was designed by Brian Costello and takes advantage of its gorgeous location overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Another interesting option is Costa do Sauipe which is the championship course which hosted the Brazilian Open back in 2005. The course is known for being kept in a perfect condition and it has a golden reputation across the country. It features all the needed, like carts, driving range as well as a clubhouse with all of the amenities needed for the golf players. An avid golfer by the name of Alexandre Rui Chammas, a resident of Sao Paolo, stated that this golf course is in fact one of the best courses in all Brazil.
An alternative would be Comandatuba which is a privately owned course belonging to Transamerica Hotel that in fact dominates the entire island. The course itself is not only a golf experience per say but also an ecological excursion because by going here you will notice a wide variety of birds, anteaters, foxes and even monkeys. The golf course was designed by the famous American golf course designer Dan Blankenship. Although the setting is quite exotic, the golf conditions are just perfect. An 18-hole championship course that plays at nearly 7,000 yards from the tips, Comandatuba will challenge you with a respectable 72.9 rating.
In the Rio de Janeiro region, there are a couple of golf courses in Buzios, and in the opposite direction – in Angora dos Reis, where there is a luxury resort that has a great field and it is connected to the local hotel. To the south, there are the Florianopolis greens. The location is known for being a great place for sea sports like swimming, surfing and diving, but of course, it has some great golf courses.
Yet another important travel attraction in the country where there is a golf course is Iguassu, located in the mid south, near the frontier with Argentina and Paraguay. Iguassu boasts the world’s biggest waterfalls, a natural phenomenon far beyond Niagara Falls. The local Bourbon Iguassu Golf Resort hotel has excellent greens.
There is a recent development in golf courses in Bahia, a situation which will most likely be found in other locations across the country thanks to the media which encourages people of all ages to start enjoying this hobby which in the past was only for the upper class.
Although golf in Brazil is becoming more popular, it has not yet gained the popularity it has in Europe or the US. There are around 100 clubs registered with the Brazilian Golf Federation, and 40 of them are located in the country’s wealthiest state, São Paulo. Another 10 of the clubs are registered with the Rio de Janeiro Federation. The Brazilian Golf Federation (Confederação Brasileira de Golfe – CBG) website has information on golf clubs and driving ranges throughout the country.
* Brazilian Golf Federationa (Confederação Brasileira de Golfe)
At: Rua Paes de Araújo 29, conj. 42, 04531-090 São Paulo
Tel: (11) 3168 4366
* São Paulo Golf Federation (Federação Paulista de Golfe)
At: Rua Antonio Gebara 177, Jardim Ceci, Planalto Paulista, 04071-020 São Paulo
Tel: (11) 5594 3839
* Rio de Janeiro Golf Federation (Federação de Golfe do Estado do Rio de Janeiro)
At: Rua Olegário Maciel 451, Co. 308, Barra da Tijuca, 22621-200 Rio de Janeiro
Tel: (21) 2495 4915 / 2495 5003
Playing Golf in Brazil
Golf rules in Brazil are the standard R&A rules although each club may have local rules depending on the course conditions.
Brazil follows the handicap system established by the United States Golf Association (USGA) but clubs do not require a player have a handicap in order to play. Note that not all clubs have a course rating yet.
For foreigners in São Paulo wishing to transfer their European or USGA handicap, it is recommended to contact the São Paulo Golf Federation for information.
When to Play
In Brazil, golf is a year-round sport. Although there is an official season which generally runs from February or March (depending upon Carnival) until November, this may vary from club to club. In São Paulo, the rainy season is December and January, with downpours almost every day in late afternoon or early evening.
Getting into a Golf Club
All clubs in Brazil are open to visitors although at many clubs it may be necessary to be signed in by a member. Inquire when booking.
There are no membership fees to be paid for a one-off round of golf, just a course fee. Prices vary depending on the day of the week and the club itself and its facilities. This fee usually provides full access to the club’s facilities which always includes a changing room (often with a sauna), a restaurant and bar, and may include a swimming pool and gym.
Although insurance and a a medical certificate are not required to play, a medical certificate may be required to use the swimming pool. Depending upon the time of the day and day of the week, this may be arranged with the club doctor during the visit.
Most golf clubs prohibit shorts or jeans.
Golf Club Services
All clubs will be able to suggest qualified instructors who can provide golf lessons. All clubs have both caddies and golf carts available for hire, and these can be arranged either upon arrival or in advance.
For those who do not have their own set of clubs, most clubs can rent them to visitors and the driving ranges all have equipment for hire. There are a growing number of golf equipment stores in Brazil’s major cities, though most clubs have pro shops on their grounds selling a range of golfing equipment and accessories.