An American documents his golfing experience in Cuba as barriers begin to break

Posted: 03-Feb-16 11:57

An American of Cuban descent heads to the island in the company of his Cuban mother in order to visit family. While there he makes the journey to Varadero with the sole purpose of trying out the famed 18-hole championship golf course found in the most famous and biggest of all Cuban beach resorts, and which also happens to be the only one of such size and quality to be found in the entire island. Read on to find out more about his impressions of golfing in Cuba today.

An American documents his golfing experience in Cuba as barriers begin to break

Americans aren’t yet legally allowed to visit Cuba for leisure purposes like beach-basking or, say, golf-playing but that certainly cannot stop (and hasn’t stopped) any American visitor on the island from heading to the beach during a cultural or humanitarian trip (or whatever other purpose from the 12-category list he/she has applied for in order to validate travel to the formerly forbidden fruit of the Caribbean).

So, while most Americans aren’t heading to Cuba to indulge in golfing or laze around in white sands whilst sipping mojitos, there is one US-born golfing enthusiast who during a recent family visit there took time to try his swing at Cuba’s only championship golf course – the Les Furber designed, 18-hole golf course at the Varadero Golf Club.

Writing for Golf Digest, Ashley Mayo enlightens readers on playing golf on “forbidden turf” and lets on the island’s expectations for golf tourism to grow with the planned addition of new courses to be built across Cuba. He writes from his perspective as a Cuban-American with familial ties in the island and ponders on how removed from golf as a sport most Cubans are in reality.

Speaking of his visit to the island and making the journey to the Varadero Golf Club along with his family he says:

“Rolling up to Varadero Golf Club was easy. The staff members were multilingual, and I used my credit card for the $120 green fee, which included a cart and a nice rental set.”

He added that upon speaking to the golf course’s operations manager, Pedro Klein he learnt that the Cuban government plans to build 13 new golf courses in Cuba to attract further tourists to the island, with the emphasis being on them being built for foreigners as Mr Klein guessed there wouldn’t be more than 300 Cubans who play the sport, in fact he went as far as to assure that a good portion of these was accounted for by his own employees. Mr Mayo himself adds:

“My cousins couldn't quite understand my passion for the game. Nor had they ever heard the name Tiger Woods.”

With this in mind Ashley goes on to say that culture-wise golf is light-years away from getting embedded (or even included) in most Cubans’ list of sporting hobbies. Nevertheless golf would be an incredibly attractive draw to foreign golfers as according to Gold Digest’s Architecture Editor, Ron Whitten:

“Cuba, with its topography and abundance of oceanfront, is golf's last frontier. (Its lost courses used to attract stars like Ben Hogan and Sam Snead.)”

Nevertheless Ashley Mayo is quick to add that as it stands now:

“Golf's revival as an authentic part of the culture is a ways off. As the eight of us drove back to Havana, we shared a strange sense of relief. The glitz in Varadero was nice, but the simplicity of Havana felt like home.”


Popular Holidays in cuba

OUR EXCLUSIVE DEALS AND LATEST OFFERS

Best Value

From £599 per person
villa pinares de mayari

Villa Pinares De Mayari

4.0 stars

Beautifully perched on the panoramic Mensura Hill, surrounded by striking greenery, this blessed and secluded natural...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £619 per person
villa mirador de mayabe

Villa Mirador De Mayabe

2.0 stars

This enchanting villa hotel is surrounded by exuberant tropical plants and is perfectly located in a high point towering...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £679 per person
sercotel club cayo guillermo

Sercotel Club Cayo Guillermo

3.0 stars

The perfect haven for lovers of nature in its purest state, the Villa Cojimar hotel sits in an idyllic location amidst...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £679 per person
club amigo atlantico guardalavaca

Club Amigo Atlantico Guardalavaca

3.0 stars

Get away to one of Cuba's best kept secrets for a dream holiday at Club Amigo Atlantico. Guardalavaca is known to host...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £679 per person
tryp cayo coco

Tryp Cayo Coco

4.0 stars

The perfect beach holiday awaits you the all-inclusive Tryp Cayo Coco hotel, where non-stop entertainment and utmost...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £729 per person
memories holguin

Memories Holguin

4.0 stars

Enjoy a perfect beach setting while you unwind in the historic sands of the all-inclusive Memories Holguin. A short...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation

More deals


Explore cuba your way

Tailor made cuba holidays

For those who prefer to travel at their own pace or to explore places not included in the brochure itineraries, we have years of experience at organising tailor-made holidays.

Create the perfect trip with the help of our specialists

Our expert tour consultants will be pleased to suggest ideas to complement your own and to organise the most appropiate programme to suit your interests, time and budget.

Call 0207 644 1600
to speak with our award-winning travel consultants.

If you would like a member of our team to contact you back, please click here Contact us