Tee Times

Golf gems from around the world


Brazil has everything the discerning globetrotter might desire—accented by exotic beaches, samba music, the annual Carnival festivals and, of course, the potent caipirinha, a national drink made from cachaca, sugar and lime. Golf has never really factored into Brazilian itineraries, but in recent years a quiet yet sudden transformation has been underway, thanks largely to the impressive designs of American Dan Blankenship, a former shaper for Pete Dye. His best designs—Buzio, Terravista and Comandatuba—are exceptional resort courses showcasing Brazil’s tropical coastlines and exotic flora.
A visit must begin in Rio de Janeiro, one of the great cities of the world. Guests of the Hotel Intercontinental may schedule a round at Gavea, a must-play course and Brazil’s oldest and most exclusive club. A trip north to Buzios, near a seaside resort town, is also highly recommended. And Hotel do Frade, three hours to the south, should not be missed—the beachfront resort boasts a scenic course memorable for its fragrant scent of wild honeysuckle and the aguna patrolling the fairways.

A flight north is necessary to call at the Hotel Transamerica, a beachfront hotel on the island of Comandatuba. Its Ocean course, the best course in Brazil, cuts back and forth between the beach and palm forest, and features massive waste bunkers, an obvious Dye trademark. Elsewhere in Bahia, golfers should try Terravista, especially since its new course—built along the crumbling cliffs 50 feet above the beachbreak—is every bit as good as Comandatuba. Direct flights are available on Varig Airlines from New York, Miami and Los Angeles.
varig.com.br; braziltourism.org. ––Colin Sheehan


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