BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA | In the years when they boasted an empire and business interests that stretched to all corners of the globe, the British had a habit of bringing along their sports whenever they went. Rugby to South Africa and New Zealand, and cricket to Pakistan and India. Golf was another popular export, and one of the places where that game took hold was Argentina. That country had developed deep economic ties with the United Kingdom after achieving independence from Spain in 1816, and by the late 1800s, there was a vibrant and well-heeled community of British expatriates living in that South American land.
In time, the Brits began establishing golf clubs here, first in and around the capital city of Buenos Aires and then in outlying areas, with those places quickly becoming centers of their social and recreational lives. It wasn’t long before locals began taking up the game as well, with a number of Argentines being introduced to golf as caddies. Several of those loopers went on to become touring professionals, and a few won major championships, including Roberto De Vicenzo, who took the 1967 Open Championship, and Ángel Cabrera, who captured the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club and then The Masters two years later.
The British presence and influence in Argentina these days are not nearly as strong. But remnants can be found at many of the older clubs, such as Hurlingham, which was founded in the Buenos Aires suburb of that same name in 1888 and not only features a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in the main lounge of its clubhouse but also a picture of Winston Churchill in the main bar. And golf has steadily grown in popularity throughout the country.
Today, Argentina is home to more than 320 courses, including a pair of Alister MacKenzie gems at the Jockey Club outside Buenos Aires. The vast majority of those are parts of private clubs, but they generally accommodate foreign players who make arrangements beforehand. All told, the country boasts some 100,000 players, with roughly half possessing handicaps. No other South American nation has more. In addition…..READ FULL ARTICLE