Playing golf in Guatemala at La Reunion: Pete Dye still makes them tough
Having been in Guatemala and at the new La Reunion resort near Antigua for a little more than 24 hours, here are some of my initial impressions on my first trip to this beautiful country:
Pete Dye, even at age 83, hasn’t mellowed a whole lot – at least in terms of designing golf courses. He and son Perry created the new Fuego Maya Golf Course here at La Reunion, and it’s as tough as any golf course I’ve ever played ? especially from the back tees at 7,302 yards. Built on the slope of the 10,000-foot Fuego Volcano, the course features some huge elevation changes and potentially severe uphill or downhill lies. Plus, there’s a 682-yard par 5.
With that said, this course, which opened in November, is magnificent both in scenery and in maintenance. Fairways and greens are flawless bentgrass, which is rare in Central America or the Caribbean.
Guatemala is in its golf infancy. La Reunion, with its 26 luxurious casitas, fabulous Italian-Argentinean-fusion restaurant and helpful staff, is Guatemala’s first golf resort and site of one of only a half dozen or so golf courses here.
Volcanoes are much more impressive in person than on TV. Four of them surround the golf course at La Reunion and at least a couple of them are active. While finishing a round, we could hear one of them rumbling, which is both awe-inspiring and a touch frightening at the same time. At night, I could see the glow of lava at the top of one of them, which serves only to remind us that the earth itself is a living, breathing entity.
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