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Golfing in Guanacaste

Teeing Off In Guanacaste...

by Richard "The Golf Guy" Shaffer

"I have been playing golf for 50 years prior to moving to Costa Rica in 2006. So naturally, when my wife and I settled in to our new life, I went looking for golf courses in my area. What I found was, what Costa Rica lacks in "quantity" is more than made up in the "quality" of the courses."

It must be understood, golf is not a Costa Rican sport and probably ranks somewhere between ping pong and ice hockey amongst the Tico population. For this reason there are only 7 Championship, 18 hole golf courses in the entire country. As a comparison, Costa Rica has 7 golf courses on 1.5 times more land area than Maryland but Maryland has 230 courses. Kentucky has about the same population as Costa Rica but has 300 more courses.

Needless to say, finding a course is no easy feat and getting to one can be even more challenging. The good news is, four of these courses are located in the Guanacaste province. All are reachable by car within 90 minutes from the nicest hotels on the Pacific North Coast.

When a golfer visits a place for the first time, he wants to know:

•              "Does this area have a good golf course that I can play?"

•              "What is the course like?"

•              "How do I get there?"


•              "How much does it cost?”



Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone take all the anxiety out of the foreign golfing experience while you are in Costa Rica?


If that's the case, you should think about calling me. I'm Richard the Golf Guy, and I will arrange your tee times, carts, club rentals if needed, and transportation to and from Hacienda Pinilla and Reserva Conchal. I will be happy to offer advice on the other 2 courses.


I am available as a playing partner, or a guide. And because of my association with these courses, I can usually save you money.

If you are in Costa Rica, you can call me at:

Office: 2697-1707 or Cell: 8877-8047

Or just email me at:


Four Seasons Golf Course

This magnificent par 72 course was designed by The Arnold Palmer Group to be a true resort course. This course, with all its spectacular views is designed to give pleasure with a slight amount of challenge.

There are five sets of tees designed to accommodate all skill levels. At 6,788 yards, the blacks play to a 71.9 slope and a 141 rating. The other 4 tees play at 6,522, 6,147, 5,579, and 4,880 yards respectively. The holes designs and lengths are varied with a lot of elevation changes.


The biggest difficulty here is managing your concentration as the vistas are an extreme distraction. This course is set up to be played by Four Season hotel guests only, so in order to play a day room has to be reserved. If the cost of playing is not an obstacle this is the most beautiful course in Costa Rica and worth the expense.



Cost: $195 + Room Fee of $200-300 (potential cost is $495)

Reserva Conchal Golf Club

Reserva Conchal was designed by Robert Trent Jones Junior to fit into a ocean side condo community development and to be the center piece for the “new” Westin Resort. A good overall description of the course is that it is lush and beautifully maintained. Very typical of a Robert Trent Jones Jr. course the tees and greens are elevated. Six of the holes have lakes that can come into play. The course plays to a par 71 with 4 sets of tees. The back tees will challenge at 7,021 yards and a rating of 74.9 and slope of 137. The other three tees play to 6,558 yards, 6,023 yards, and 5,323 yards.

Cost: $155-185

Hacienda Pinilla



Hacienda Pinilla was designed by Mike Young to wind around inside of a 4,000 acre working cattle ranch. No cows are allowed on the course. This course has the best green complexes in the country, they are fast and true. Heavy priority should be placed on your approach shot here as all the greens are well guarded. This course plays a long 7,296 yards from the tips and has a rating of 75.4 and a slope of 145. When the Papagayo winds blow in March it can play a little tougher. The other three tees are 6,689 yards, 6,189 yards and 5,106 yards. This course is the most representative of the countryside of Guanacaste and well worth the effort.


Cost: $125-185

Papagayo Golf and Country Club

This course, located just minutes from Playas Del Coco and Playa Hermosa, did not have a professional designer nor does it have a professionally trained greens keeper. However, if you are looking for a fun round on a cute little course here it is.

From the back tees it plays to 6,028 yards in a par 72 layout.

The middle tees measure 5,684 yards and the forward tees are set at 4,778 yards. Not a long course but it is wise to hit it straight as most fairways are tight and the greens are small,

Cost: $95

This article is reprinted here with permission and courtesy of Richard "The Golf Guy" Shaffer.
© November 2011.
"So boys and girls, when you are in Guanacaste and get that golfing feeling, give Richard a call and tell him Mr.Di sent you."

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