First nine of Nicaragua course opens


Sean Dudley
By Adam Lawrence

Husband and wife development team Jorge and Lori Estrada are almost ready to open the first nine holes of their new Nicaraguan golf community, Montecristo.

The Estradas, who moved to Nicaragua from the US in 1997, descend on husband Jorge's side from three of the country's former presidents. Both medical industry professionals, they initially used their expertise to open Nicaragua's first orthopaedic facility, and later developed a number of community outreach programmes.

More recently, the Estradas set their sights on a piece of Pacific coastline just an hour west of Managua’s international airport. The property, now named Montecristo, comprises 2,000 acres of land alongside the ocean. Here, the couple are developing one of Nicaragua's first international standard golf resort communties.

Georgia-based golf architect Mike Young has designed the Montecristo golf course, which plays along a point where the Rio Soledad meets the Pacific Ocean. The site has more than 300 feet of elevation change, although the front nine, which will open in early 2013, is set on a relatively flat plain, with the river to the south and the Pacific to the west. The back nine climbs up into the mountains with views in all directions of ocean, river and the interior.

“The golf course is designed on a truly incredible piece of land,” said Young, architect of more than 40 courses in five different countries, who is working with his son, Ashley, on the Montecristo project. “Building a golf course on such dramatic property and using skilled American labour plus local Nicaraguan workers mean things don’t always evolve quite as quickly as you would like, but in the long run the golf course is going to not only introduce a new way of life to this culture but also offer numerous opportunities to people here that don’t necessarily exist today.”