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At 11,800 feet (3,600 meters) above sea level, the dizzying heights of La Paz leave tourists gasping for air. But after spending a few days getting used to the altitude, visiting golf enthusiasts would be mad not to check out the La Paz Golf Club, an exclusive institution that holds the honor of being the highest tournament standard golf course in the world.
Located in Mallasa in the wealthy Zona Sur (Southern District) some 20 minutes from the center, this lush and tranquil course feels a world away from the chaos of downtown La Paz. Perched underneath the watchful gaze of the snow-capped Mount Illimani, the immaculate grounds are chock-full of shimmering lagoons, tall shady trees, and unworldly natural rock formations. Not only is it the world’s highest golf course, but it is also one of the prettiest.
The fairways and greens of this 18-hole, par-71 course are impeccably maintained, an oasis of vegetation in an otherwise barren region. Somewhat taxing for the beginner, there are numerous challenging hazards to contend with, making it extremely important to place the ball well off the tee.
The highlight of the course is the 12th hole, known as the “Moon Hole,” due to its surroundings of bizarre rocky outcrops. Similar to the nearby Valle de la Luna, this is one hazard you do not want to land in.
Remarkably, the thin high-altitude air provides less resistance, which means players can drive noticeably further and straighter. This element can be a little off-putting for the first-time visitor, but thankfully, knowledgeable caddies are on hand to recommend the right club for every occasion.
After finishing an unforgettable round, players can spend time relaxing in the exclusive country club. Despite being over a hundred years old, the club has recently undergone extensive renovations and boasts a number of top notch facilities, including a football field, tennis courts, gymnasium, indoor and outdoor pools, and a spa. Its on-site restaurant and sports bar also serves a variety of food and drink at very reasonable prices.
Foreigners looking to play a round while in La Paz should get in contact with Golf and Tours Bolivia, who offer return transport, green fees, and equipment as part of a tour that actually works out cheaper than going it alone.