Nine of the best golf courses to play in Brazil

Santapazienza golf club

There are only around 75 golf courses across Brazil – significantly less than many other nations of a similar size.

The only Portuguese-speaking nation in the Americas, Brazil is the largest and most populated country in South America.

From a landscape standpoint, Brazil has it all: tropical beaches, the Amazon River, jungles, and five different climates.

It doesn’t have it all when it comes to golf courses to choose from, but here are nine of the best.

Alphaville Graciosa

The Alphaville Graciosa Club is situated in a suburban area a little outside of Curitiba, the state capital of Paraná. The course opened for play in 2001 and is designed as six par threes, six par fours, and six par fives.

The 7th hole, a short, par-4 that slopes downhill and plays to a well-guarded green, is a delightful hole. But golfers would be incorrect to believe that playing a round here is like taking a leisurely stroll in the park, even if the course is just 6,569 yards overall from the back markers. That being said, two of the par fives are longer than 600 yards.

São Fernando

Situated around 40 minutes by car from São Paulo’s downtown, this golf course provides a rigorous assessment of players’ abilities in an ideal parkland setting.

When Lee Elder, George Knudson, and George Archer faced off in the 1970 challenge match series on “Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf,” the charms of this stunning parkland course were first introduced to a larger television audience in the United States.

Fazenda Boa Vista (Palmer)

Originally a 3,500-acre sugar and coffee plantation, Fazenda Boa Vista is now a resort and real estate development, within an hour’s drive from the bustling metropolis of Sao Paulo.

The golf course lies gently on the terrain and blends in well with the natural tropical foliage thanks to the application of tried-and-true traditional architectural concepts. The course offers strategic difficulties as well as beauty, which golfers of all skill levels are likely to appreciate.

Fazenda da Grama

Large estate homes surround the main course at higher elevations on this exclusive 18-hole, 7,123-yard layout that is located within a natural amphitheater.

The exquisite plantation-style clubhouse, perched on a hill with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, golf courses, and the enormous namesake lake below, is the first stop on your golf adventure.

Golfers of all skill levels will find a fulfilling and pleasurable round of golf with four sets of tees to modulate difficulty. The majority of holes allow for both a more aggressive approach and a more cautious mode of play, the choice is yours.

Terravista

First laid out by American architect Dan Blankenship, the Terravista golf course was inaugurated in 2004. Its sprawling fairways blanket 175 acres of resort complex overlooking the Atlantic.

The front nine is routed through Atlantic rainforest while the back nine is played closer to the coast. Four holes are laid out along the edge of the spectacular cliffs.

The signature hole at Terravista is undoubtedly hole 14, the much-photographed par three has its green perched 150 feet above the water’s edge.

Gavea

A relatively short course, which plays just over 6,000 yards from the back tees, Gaves is situated beneath the massive granite outcrop known as Pedra da Gávea, which towers over the property. It might not be that long, but distance on the challenging charmer doesn’t matter as much and it will test your shotmaking.

Gavea twists and turns over hilly terrain before crossing a main road to begin the back nine.

Holes 10 to 14 are laid out on a small parcel of land adjacent to the São Conrado beach, where the lake also comes into play.

The highway is then crossed again to complete the round adjacent to the fairways of holes 1 to 9.

Sao Paulo

The historic Sao Paulo golf club is today completely hemmed in by housing and industrial buildings on all sides as the city has expanded over time.

The environs don’t detract from what is a classic layout that has stood the test of time impeccably. Tree-lined fairways snake over an aesthetically delightful tract of land where water more than plays its part in proceedings. Water hazards are a feature on the loop around holes 11 to 13 and at the conclusion to both nines on holes 9 and 18.

Rio 2016 Olympic Golf Course

The Rio Olympics Golf course is an extremely demanding course in the tradition of great championship layouts.

The layout has plenty of undergrowth and is very open so the wind presents a real challenge to the golfers, who also have a fair number of bunkers to deal with. The fairways are narrow and this course will demand great precision from players.

Santapazienza

The setting for Santapazienza is a spectacular parcel of land, with water features, great trees and significant elevation changes. Designer Tom Fazio, who led the project alongside his son Logan, was free to explore ways to maximize the potential of the land. He believes he created a golf experience unlike any in the world.

The Fazios pulled out all the stops to make Santapazienza as visually pleasing as possible.

A feature of this course often noted is the so-called Jesus Bridge, so named because carts appear to be driving on water on the low bridge across the river running through the property.

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