Pizá plans Peru's first public course


Pizá plans Peru's first public course
Sean Dudley

Design work is under way on what will be the first publicly accessible golf course in Peru.

Mexican golf designer José Agustin Pizá is leading the design team, donating his firm’s services on a pro bono basis. The project, which will result in a nine hole golf course, plus a practice facility, is based on 23 hectare (45 acre) plot of sandy land in the town of Cruz de Hueso, on the outskirts of Lima and close to the Pacific Ocean.

The greater Lima area has a population of around nine million. Pizá told GCA: “Golf is an elite sport in Peru. There are very few courses, only around nine in the whole of the country.”

Following a grant provided by the R&A, the Peruvian Golf Association approached the country’s sporting authorities for assistance. A central government agency, the sports federation provided the site, and, via the R&A, the golf association contacted the European Institute of Golf Course Architects in search of a suitable designer. Pizá, who graduated from the then EIGCA-endorsed Masters course in golf architecture at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland in 2003, saw the project mentioned in an Institute member communication and offered his services.

Funding for the entire project is not yet in place, but Pizá’s team is working on the design and hopes to be able to complete earthmoving next year, moving on to finish work on the golf holes as finances allow. “We will have nine holes, and maybe a three hole pitch and putt,” he said. “Water issues are important, so we are designing a course that is very eco-friendly. A desert-style course is ideal from a water use perspective, but that is tricky for a beginners’ facility, because desert courses tend to be difficult, target golf experiences. So our solution is to do the holes in three groups, firstly three that are fully grassed, then three more that have less grass, and finally three that are fully desert-style target golf holes.

“Stage one will be the driving range and the first three holes, and the latter stages will be dictated by uptake of the facility. This story has gone national in Peru, and I know there are some businesses that are interested in donating to help make it happen – maybe one hole, maybe some equipment. The involvement of the national government, through the Sports Federation, is huge – that is very rare in Latin America.”