Golf did not arrive to Costa Rica until 1940 , when the Costa Rica Country club designed and built a 9-hole course, where only the wealthiest of Costa Ricans were members. The population of Costa Rica in 1940 was less than 700,000 people. Though the Country Club is no longer only for the elite, this still remains a members only course. Thirty years passed before Costa Rica got its second golf course, the 18-hole Cariari Country Club, also a private club. At the time, the Cariari was considered the best golf course in Central America.
Shortly after the Cariari came Los Reyes, a 9-hole private country club. By the 1970’s the population had grown to 2 million, but golf still was not that popular, and three private clubs seemed to satisfy the golfing community living here. At the beginning of the 1990’s tourism here soared as Costa Rica’s eco-friendly reputation was spreading. Rumors of new courses to come began circulating. But it wasn’t until 1997, that Valle del Sol finally became Costa Rica’s first 18-hole public golf course. Soon after the turn of the Millennium, Hacienda Pinilla and Reserva Conchal Resort opened providing us with two well-designed 18-hole courses.
In 2005 Arnold Palmer designed Four Seasons opened with its spectacular layout, as well as the nearby Papagayo Country Club designed by Pete Dye. Two new 9-hole courses opened on the eastern side of San Jose, being the first courses in that area. How many more will open, hopefully more. For someone who plays golf here three times a week, there now are some good golfing options, and for tourists coming to Costa Rica, you might want to consider bringing your clubs.