The par 5 4th green
The stream at the 14th hole Looking across to the 17th green
Next stop was Club El Rodeo Macarena in MedellÓn, a 40-minute flight from BogotŠ. The journey out to the Macarena is about an hour from the city centre, but itís well worth the journey, offering some great golf holes with fantastic elevations and views. Again a caddy is advisable especially as there are some step hills to get up and down, and with the altitude and lack of buggies youíll need one.
The practice facilities are not the best but enough to warm up and adjacent to the first tee along with a very good practice putting green, so you donít have to go too far. We played the back nine first, which made the tenth a fantastic opening hole. The first is a pleasant enough opening hole, but you really get a feel for the course standing on the second tee. The 193-yard, par-3 second hole is a memorable one: you hit your ball across a ravine that has water some 100ft below, and if you look to your left youíll see the green of the par 3 17th coming back in the opposite direction!
I must say this is my favourite course of the trip. Itís a fantastic design and in really good condition: the greens are a nice fast pace, but not to fast. If this course was in England or the US it would receive rave reviews, and with a bit more manicuring would be a must-play course, although actually I think it is now.
Itís hard to pick standout holes because I enjoy them all. I actually think there is only one weak hole on the course and thatíd be the par-3, 13th, and to be fair Iíve seen a lot worse. The run of holes from the second to the ninth is great and youíll enjoy them all, especially the tee shot on the fourth Ė you just have to admire the hole from the back tee even if you decided not to play from it. The fairway sits some 40ft below the back tee and you drive through a funnel of trees Ė spectacular.
The course doesnít let up on great holes and the tenth is a great opening risk-and-reward hole to get the back nine underway. At 377 yards it sounds like this dogleg left is out of reach, but with the altitude and the change in elevation from the turn of the dogleg where the hole drops some 70-100ft, hit the right-shaped shot and you can reach the green. Just be careful of the water to the right of the green Ė but hey, youíre on holiday so just go for it.
As I said earlier, there is only one really weak hole on the course. Youíll love the back nine just as much as the front. There is water on all but the 18th hole, but it doesnít always come into play. If I was pushed to pick out a favourite hole it would have to be the 14th. It has a stream you have to carry with your tee shot, which then flows down and round the left-hand side of the green. Itís a great little hole, and depending which of the four tee options you choose to play from is anywhere between 428-278 yards.