Friday, December 22, 2017

The 7000 Yard Challenge

While on vacation, I played a round at the La Reunion Golf Resort which annually hosts the PGA Latinoamérica Tour's Guatemala Stella Artois Open.

The PGA Latinoamérica is one of several third-tier tours.  It is a level below the Tour which directly feeds players into the PGA Tour.  From the championship tees the course plays 7,275 yards with a course rating of 75.4 and a slope rating of 150.  Typically, the courses I play are around 6,000 yards, rating below 70, and slope between 110 and 125.

Fuego Maya course scorecard

It was a really nice course.  It was not cheap.  A round with a cart, plus rental clubs, and a caddy came out to $200.  The price was quickly forgotten as I stepped onto the manicured fairways surrounded by three volcanoes!  The 75F temperature didn't hurt either.

Clouds hiding the volcano peak

I decided to play from the championship tees and try to break 100.  In the pro shop, I requested a caddy that spoke some English and they accommodated me.

I started out well by hitting the fairway and the green on the first hole.  Unfortunately I three putted for a bogey.  The second hole was a long 200 yard par 3 with an elevated green.  I ended up with a five.  I bogeyed the third hole and got my first par on the fourth that was a par 3.

The next hole was the hardest, a par 4 measuring 460 yards.  I earned my bogey.  The sixth had a blind tee shot.  I ended up hitting a straight drive but it landed in the adjacent fairway.  My second shot was a solid 3-wood.  I didn't reach the green and had a subpar chip.  The scorecard was marked with a double bogey.

Hole 7 was a long par 4.  I had a good drive and then a second shot with the 3-wood.  I ended up just short of the green and three putted from there for a bogey.  The next hole ended up being my first bad hole.  It was a double bogey but my drive was way right, the second shot wasn't good, and neither way my third.  I finally got on the green with my 4th shot from 80 yards out.

To end the front nine, I battled the 510 yard uphill par 5.  My drive ended up five yards left of the fairway and it just got more difficult from there.  I recorded a triple bogey.  I was +8 thru seven which was pretty good, but the last two holes pushed my score to 49.  I was on pace to break 100 but felt a bit disappointed based on how I finished the front nine.

It didn't get any easier on the back.  The 10th, a 427 dogleg to the right, was the toughest hole in my opinion.  The tee shot was downhill with a narrow landing area.  I managed to hit the fairway but from there it was all uphill literally and metaphorically speaking.  The second and third shots were poor.  After getting on the green, I three putted and a snowman (8) made it onto the scorecard.  That was my worst hole of the day.

I double bogeyed the next two holes.  One of them was a 219 par 3.  It was not looking good.  But I turned it around a bit by parring the par 5 12th.  The next hole was my best.  I hit the fairway and had a blind shot to the green.  I hit it a bit right of the green but with all the mounds around the green, somehow the golf ball rolled down to the center of the green!  With the caddy's help, I sank the birdie putt.  Then I parred the next hole.

Made this birdie putt

The 16th was the signature hole.  It was a par 5, 682 yard.  I hit the fairway and had a good second shot.  From there, it could have been better.  My chip was not good and I three putted.  


17th was a short par 3 and I hit it ten yards left of the green and got a bogey.  The last hole was a downhill par 4, 491 yards.  And wouldn't you know it, I pulled my drive way left and out of bounds.  I added a penalty stroke and teed it up again.  It was a straight shot.  I missed the green and two putted for a seven.

When the dust settled, my score came out to 98.  I did it, I broke 100 on a pro course.  I played 15 holes at bogey golf but butchered the other three with a +10.  But the only ten that mattered was the 10 out of 10 golf experience.


  1. I'm not a golfer, but it sounds like you did well.

    Enjoyed the volcano. Here's a shot of one in nearby Costa Rica from my trip there in 2016 (click here).

    1. Maybe I could have done a little bit better but it is hard when playing a course for the first time.

      Very nice and so is the temperature down there :)