Golf in Cuba is on the upswing and the top links in the country are found at Varadero’s Golf Club – the first 18-hole golf course in Cuba.
In 1927, the French American millionaire Irenee DuPont de Nemours bought acres and acres of land on the Hicacos Peninsula, better known as Varadero. His architects drafted a grandiose, exquisitely-located retreat, to be built where the rocky hills meet virgin beaches. Despite having designed an 18-hole golf course for the front “yard”, in the end, only a 9-hole course was constructed.
And so Mansion Xanadú was born. Four stories high, with almost a dozen bedrooms with adjoining bathrooms, terraces and balconies of precious wood, the grand house became the millionaire’s vacation villa, where he stayed only a few months a year, beginning in 1930.
DuPont visited Xanadú for the last time in 1957, two years before the triumph of the Cuban revolution. He died (at the age of 85) in the US on December 12, 1963 – coincidentally, the same day that the Mansion Xanadú restaurant was inaugurated, with the Russian astronaut Valentina Tereshkova as guest of honor.
Today, Mansion Xanadú is the stylish clubhouse of the Varadero Golf Club. It is an extremely elegant property that has been painstakingly refurbished and renovated according its original design.
The mansion features guest (hotel) rooms (5 doubles and a single), lobby, restaurants, panoramic bar with live music, wine cellar, and a beach club. While it functions as a hotel, it also has services and facilities for incentive travel, weddings and other celebrations. Even for non-golfers, it’s a romantic place to dine seaside.
In 1999, the property was re-branded as the Varadero Golf Club, following a reconstruction of an 18-hole golf course by Canadian architect Les Furber.
The course boasts a classic design with wide, tree-lined roads, and a broad, open green combined with a modern style (a Target Golf design), where narrow roads and protected greens are surrounded by sand traps and various salt water lakes connected to the sea. The links’ design, with holes located beside the sea and shoreline, are other handicaps on this course.
The technical description of the golf course is:
- 18 holes; 72 par: five 5-par holes and five 3-par holes; the remaining 8 holes are par 4.
- 6 269 linear meters of trajectory between the First Tee or starting point and Green 18.
The capital Havana, 2 hours from Varadero, features a 9-hole golf course, located about 10 minutes outside the city center.
This is just the beginning of the sport in Cuba: several major golf resort and development plans are currently being considered for approval by the Ministry of Tourism.