LUGARES MAGAZINE Nro. 37
Page. 34 - 45
By: Julia Caprara
CORDOBA GOLF Y TURISMO
There are those with Quebrachos and oak trees, those with elegant club-houses with easy rounds or for super-pros. All of them green- of course, all of them near. In Córdoba its is easy to become an addict of swings, greens and fairways. Maybe it is because the Sierras blend in with the golf courses or because all the courses are so close to each other, the fact is that everything is green in Cordoba. At this time of the year it should he brown but it is green. Julie gets carried away and takes one photograph after another. She buys "peperina". We take a big breath, taking in the view with our eyes and the fresh air with our lungs. Not only from the hi, window in the living room of La Carolina in Ascochinga, that wouldn't be a big deal. Its logical. The estancia is located near the golf-course from where you can see the players but not the balls or the 18 holes. Green tranquility, as is golf always from afar.
It is Saturday and the easy par 72 Ascochinga course is teeming with very concentrated players for their four hours of play. You don't see any of this from La Carolina, you can't hear either the gunshots of the pigeon hunters whose prey is destined for the pot. You can however smell the aroma of the mushroom sauce which is being prepared by Hugo and Marisa that will accompany our evening, meal of the freshly killed birds.
Julián Martínez bought this estancia on the advice of his friend President Roca, who owned the estancia La Paz only a few kilometres away. He named it after his wife Carolina Estrada. It was she who decided to build the church in Ascochinga that was inaugurated on 15 February 1900. Almost a hundred years later and recently renovated by the locals, the church shows off its pleasing yellow colour to the Córdoba sky above the unusual winter green. Inside there is a skilled nun making rosaries and selling dulce de leche eggs and "colaciones". They remember Doña Carolina even more than John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who visited the church in 1941. Carolina was the mother of Julián and Alberto in whose hands the estancia has remained and Celia, their sister. Julián was the man of Victoria Ocampo's life. Though he was not her husband he was the famous "J" in her autobiography. Today the presence of all of them can he felt in the Ascochinga air, the almost non-existent town which strives to grow despite its founders wishes. However, La Granja, Agua de Oro, the surroundings of Jesus and María, Santa Catalina and Salsipuedes, are awakening with newly. Opened bar, restaurants, inns and cabins. The Friulians, who settled in Colonia Caroya, have turned their locally made salami into a national delicacy -simply irresistible.
The next greens are in La Cumbre. It isn't far but a picnic on the way is the perfect excuse to stop and enjoy the region's gastronomic specialities.
An excellent way to reach La Cumbre is on the Candonga road. It is only 45 kilometres but with an unforgettable stretch of 10 kilometres which begins at Agua de Oro and seems to have no end. The Candonga chapel, former oratory of the Santa Gertrudis estancia, is a national pearl lost in the middle of the woods. These lands belonged to Juana Rodriguez Navarro de Quevedo who did not enjoy a very good relationship with her Jesuit neighbours in Santa Catalina although she ended up selling them her estancia. Since then Candonga varies between the "to he or not to be" in the history of the Jesuits.
The golf course in La Cumbre is something else. It also has 18 holes-but what holes! They boast their history among bills and ageless trees with the English style clubhouse and their reputation for being the most challenging in the country. It is a par 70 course dating hack to 1924. The many members of the club blend in well with the artisans that abound in the area. "The mix of different people is good for the town" boast the locals, surprised by the number of Porteños who have settled here recently. Before booking a round at the course or dedicating yourself to eat the delicious Batelino alfajores opposite the Recova cap, it is advisable to pay a visit to La Urraca, the shop belonging to Suzy Withrington. We took refuge in La Teodora. Ignacio Allende greeted us in his magnificent house filled with roaring fires. He showed us the fish filled pond, his 7 hole golf course, and the area of high ground, cleared of all its trees where he plans to build his dream house. We also went to see his five small, but inviting, guest cabins. For those who prefer a more active stay there is paragliding and horse riding available in the town. In the surroundings you can easily find small workshops and factories making chocolates, lavender and various raspberry, based products. It is worthwhile to stop at La Esquina and El Manzano. Much More delicious is a stop at Los Jardines de Yaya but he warned - this may affect your figure!
Alta Gracia is the summit of civilisation. Ranging from the Jesuits to Che Guevara more and more famous folk adopt the town as their home. In addition to the museums, the Club Hipico, the motor racing circuit, the Anizacate River, Alta Gracia also has its own golf Club. It', a 9-hole, par 72 course, used by the locals who alternate between it and the Villa Allende club-perhaps the most highly regarded course in the area, and the new Las Delicias club, a stop that all golfers should make en route to Córdoba city.
Amateurs, beginners and professionals can practice their swing at El Potrerillo de Larreta. El Potrerillo is part of the old Jesuit estancia, which was bought by the writer and diplomat Enrique Larreta in 1918. It now belongs to his grandson Ignacio Zuberbuhler and his wife Cynthia Earnshaw. They currently have only a 3-hole Course that they plan to extend to 9, and then 18 holes. Golf is a family passion fur the Zuberbuhlers. The colonial Style manor house is decorated with religious icons from the Alto Peru. The furniture dating from the era of the Vice-Royalty complements the delicious cuisine seasoned with the wonderful tales regaled by Ignacio and Cynthia.