The ‘Championship’ golf course at The Cariari Country Club was Costa Rica’s very first 18 hole golf course. The course was designed by George Fazio in 1973 and built by his cousin Tom Fazio. Before it became a golf course, it was originally a Costa Rican coffee plantation.
The golf course has tight tree-lined fairways with notably few fairway bunkers, and fairly large, fast Bermuda grass greens that are well-bunkered. Running streams criss-cross the fairways throughout the course adding to its difficulty. Due to the undulating terrain, there are many uphill and down targets and lies. For decades the golf course at The Cariari Country Club had the reputation of being the best golf course in all of Central America, but with the rapid growth in popularity of golf in Costa Rica at the turn of the Millennium, there are now more contenders for that special honor.
The Cariari Country Club has been the site of large golfing events such as the Central and South American Open, co-sponsored by the U.S. Professional Golfer’s Association, and the Friendship Tournament. In the past, these events attracted outstanding players like Chi-Chi Rodriquez, Tom Weiskof, Larry Ziegler, Raymond Floyd, Peter Jacobsen, David Graham, Curtis Strange, and many more. Although the site for local tournaments is now shared with the other 18 hole courses around the country, The Cariari still gets its share of local tournaments.
The Cariari Country Club, at over a 1,000 meters (3390 ft.) in altitude, is just 15 minutes from Costa Rica’s San Jose airport and 25 minutes from downtown San Jose. On the property, there is a driving range and putting green for practice.