More and more golf lovers are choosing Cuba, where they can holiday and play their favourite sport.
The game of golf has six centuries of tradition which follows strict rules of conduct "golf etiquette", not only applied to players, but also to the course and to the natural environment. In fact, golf's touch of distinction is its intimate relationship with nature.
Because of the sport's characteristic demands, Cuba's fresh air, climate and conditions on many courses are making it a "must" for an increasing number of amateur travelling golfers.
The New World Grows with Golf Golf in the Caribbean and especially in Cuba, is becoming the magic wand coveted by tour operators moving millions of travellers to the region for an active rest.
The old fashioned concept of golf as a game only for the rich is passé. Many people practice it to enjoy in solitude or in the company of friends and, of course, the ever present nature.
In Cuba, golf was added to tourism activities in the 90s. The Ministry of Tourism of Cuba (MINTUR) has been developing new golf courses and expanding those extant among its priority guidelines. Such a strategy is being applied in the Varadero resort area, as in many other tourist destinations in Cuba, as a way to bring large economic benefits to the country.
One of the island's beautiful courses is in the Varadero resort area, some 140 kilometres from the capital. The Varadero Golf Club, next to the beach, has a marvellous view. Although the 18-hole course itself is new, it has an old history. Former owner, millionaire Du Pont de Nemours, originally had a nine-hole course built on this land that has more than 60 hectares of tropical vegetation.
The spinal cord of the Club is the former mansion, Xanadu, the Club House with its exclusive Las Americas restaurant and an excellent wine cellar. Among the great advantages of this course are the short distances and the possibility of sharing golf practice with sea related activities, an option also available in other islands of the Caribbean such as Aruba, the Virgin Islands or Grand Cayman.
A Bit of History Some scholars believe golf originated in the Netherlands because the Dutch word kolf means "bat" or "club". Others maintain that Romans played something similar with a curved stick and a ball made of feathers. The game as we know it today was invented by Scots in the 14th and 15th centuries. At first prohibited, King James IV of Scotland reinstated it and his granddaughter, Mary, Queen of Scots, brought it to France with young man called cadets, meaning boys, a term that became in England "caddy" or "caddie".
The first golf associations appeared in the 18th Century. The St. Andrews Society of Golfers (1754) in 1834 acquired its present name, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.