The Jockey Club is Argentina’s premier private golf club, having been established in the 1930s with the completion of two Alister MacKenzie designed courses, Red and Blue.
This is a fascinating club for MacKenzie fans to study, as this was certainly his flattest and dullest property yet there remains evidence of his unquestionable design genius across both tracks. The best aspects here are the greens, the Red layout a slight favourite ahead of the Blue because it has more length and a marginally more impressive set of putting targets.
On land as flat as this MacKenzie had his work cut out to make the golf exciting, and this was largely achieved through the construction of push-up greens, false fronts and crested slopes. It seems a contradiction, yet somehow a great architect like McKenzie can make a short course with large greens a genuine challenge for all manner of player. Often here at Jockey Club you only have a short iron approach, but play to a green that falls at the front and leaves slippery downhill putts for those overcooking their shot. Often the targets feel smaller than they really are, principally because leaving your ball under flags or on the right portion of green is so desirable. Pin seekers need to judge distances perfectly, or risk making lots of soft bogeys.
Unfortunately, neither course at the Jockey Club has aged as well as we would have liked, chiefly because the club has planted so many trees but also because they haven’t managed the MacKenzie bunkers and green surrounds at all well. It’s still well worth a look, both for those who love the work of Alister MacKenzie and for those simply curious as to what all the fuss is about.
With little money and virtually no golf contours to speak of, Dr Alister MacKenzie designed for the Jockey Club in Argentina a pair of very subtle, strategic layouts that for their time were quite ground-breaking. Neither track has aged well, but the club is chiefly responsible for this because of over-planting and because they haven’t respected his the man-made contours anywhere near enough. Neither course at the Jockey Club is world-class, but cut some trees, rediscover some playing areas and mowing lines and add just a few sensible back tees and this once again becomes a pretty formidable golf experience. As always any worked carried out should be done by a Quality Endorsed Designer.