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TRAVEL


If the food and restaurants suit you, the famed


coffee industry will entice you even further. Colombia is famous worldwide for its tasty beans and exports most of the high-end coffee consumed in the United States. Colombia takes its coffee industry so seriously that Juan Valdez, the industry’s figurehead/actor, is elected by the Coffee Growers Federation—for life. When the food and coffee have gotten your


attention, there is the lesser-known flower industry. Colombians grow all types of flowers and greenhouses dot the landscape. Approximately 75 percent of the flowers distributed for Valentine’s Day in the United States come from Colombia. Golf will play a huge role in the outreach Colombia is making to attract visitors, particularly with the sport being re-introduced into the Olympic program for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Already the home of the season-opening


Nationwide Tour event, there is the possibility of a second event in the northern part of Colombia in the future. The new Latinoamérica Tour that begins play later this year will have events in Bogotá in September and in Cali in December. The Tour de las Americas, which ended its 2012 season in early June, has multiple Colombian events on its schedule. The European Challenge Tour, similar to the Nationwide Tour for the European Tour, held an event, the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Classic, in early March on the Caribbean coast at Barranquilla Country Club. There were multiple Colombian events on the Canadian Tour in 2011. Add in professional stars such as Camilo Villegas on the PGA TOUR and Mariajo Uribe on the LPGA and golf has lots of momentum. Of the country’s 51 golf courses (and growing), 23 are located in and around Bogotá. The majority are private, but there are ample opportunities for access by tourists. Most courses don’t have golf carts, but caddies are plentiful. Country Club de Bogotá is a 36-hole complex located in the


center of Bogotá and was built in the 1940s. With multiple doglegs, it is reminiscent of old-school layouts in the States. The hotel where Nationwide Tour players reside during tournament week is only three blocks away. One of the most unique courses on the outskirts of Bogotá is


Club de Golf La Clima, a public course that is situated at 9,000 feet, the second-highest course in Latin America. On the first tee, a long, downhill par 4, the clouds are below the course. The fifth hole, an uphill par 4, is nicknamed “Stairway to Heaven” because it is the highest point on the course. With its excellent Brazilian bermudagrass greens, La Clima is well worth the $36, including caddie fee. Another nearby course, La Pradera de Potosi, is a private


94 PGA TOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE 2012


Bogotá is Colombia’s center of golf, with 23 courses located in and around the city.


The “old-school” Country Club de Bogotá.


parkland-style course. The residential development largely consists of New Mexican architecture. There are 200 caddies on site, supported by a club foundation. Two hours northwest of Bogotá is Club Payandé, a course


designed by American Scott Miller. When the adjacent Black River overflowed in late 2011, a few of the holes needed to be rebuilt. The result is that the back nine has a distinctive Augusta National feel. The par-3 15th hole, which was not damaged, looks similar to the 12th hole at the home of the Masters Tournament. The redesigned par-3 12th hole at Payandé was rebuilt based upon a photo of the watery 16th hole at Augusta National. The development of the game is a focus in central Bogotá where


the Federación Colombiana de Golf has a netted range, golf shop, restaurant, short-game area, putting green and nine-hole par-3 course among the high rises. It costs $5 to play the par-3 course. With the recent improvements, Colombian officials are in


the process of re-branding their country’s mission to appeal to international visitors. Golf and tourism walk hand in hand in this effort. ■


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© MARCA PAIS COLOMBIA; ISTOCKPHOTO; PGA TOUR IMAGES/ STAN BADZ


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