Papagayo Peninsula, Guanacaste
Course Architect: Arnold Palmer
Distance from Playas del Coco & Hermosa: about 45 minutes
About an hour North of Paradisus Playa Conchal on the Papagayo Peninsula you'll find the new Four Seasons Resort and their incredibly beautiful Arnold Palmer golf course. This land was chosen for the golf course because of the spectacular views and also the natural elevation changes that occur and create holes that are unforgettable. The Palmer team did a wonderful job taking advantage of what they were given and I doubt that they have ever had a better piece of land to work with.
The front side of the golf course is set up with three Par 3's, 4's, and 5's. The back is the traditional setup five, two and two configuration. The first hole is a very fair Par 5 that lets you get over the first hole nerves without putting up a big number. From there you simply play the course: a combination of great views, elevation changes with interesting holes, wind that is always present but not a major factor the day I played, greens that roll true and will be running about a 9 or 10 on the stimp meter, and rough that is still forgiving but will get tougher as time goes by.
The vistas are spectacular and are equal to any that you will experience at Kauri Cliffs or Pebble Beach. The elevation changes and changing wind conditions make each round a new experience. Similar to Pacific Dunes in that when the wind is quiet the course is manageable, but when the wind picks up even the best players will have their hands full.
Playing the course at the Four Seasons can only be accomplished by staying at the resort and this makes it the most expensive round in Costa Rica. But an overnight at the hotel with an afternoon round upon check-in and then followed by a round in the morning is a good option. Due to fact that they don't allow outside play you can count on a course that is not packed and allows for plenty of time to take photos and simply enjoy the beauty that surrounds you.
Helpful Hint - In addition to bringing lots of balls as out of bounds can be serious crevices or thick jungle, bring a camera and lots of film as this is one of the most picturesque courses you can play.