Golf and Golfing in Panama

Information for the golfer on golfing in Panama: the Golf Federation, the requirements to play (the handicap system, medical certificates) with information on who to contact locally...

Golf is a popular sport in Panama among foreign residents. Golf was first imported to Panama by the Americans who built the canal. In 1930 the first golf course in Panama was built for them.

As the popularity of the sport has grown, Panama has drawn the attention of the some of the foremost golf course designers and developers. Panama is now home to some of the best championship golf courses in Central America and has hosted several championship golf tournaments. Among them are the annual Panama Claro Championship (a leg of the PGA Nationwide Tour) and the BMW Golf Cup International, the world's largest amateur golf tournament.

Golf Organizations

The Panama Golf Association (La Asociación de Golf de Panamá) promotes, develops and organizes competitive and high performance golf in Panama in cooperation with the golf clubs of the country.

Rules

Unlike in many other countries, there are no regulations relating to the playing of golf in Panama, and it is very easy to begin playing at any level. It is possible simply to show up at a course and tee off; there is no need to join a club, and any courses can be played on. Golfers can play without a handicap in Panama, or can bring a handicap from another country. In order to get a handicap in Panama, simply post five scores and average those five rounds. Players do not need a doctor's certificate to play in Panama.

Where to Play

There are many facilities that offer golf throughout the country. Many of the beach and mountain resorts outside the city offer golf courses. Usually these are attached to resort communities and offer free play to their residents, but also offer memberships or passes to guests. Two of the most popular and important golf courses in Panama are the Coronado Golf & Beach Club and Summit Golf Club. Within Panama City there is one driving range for practicing; The Panama Golf Academy is located in Via Israel, near Multiplaza Mall and Hospital Punta Pacifica.

Golf Courses in Panama

Golfing near the beach

  • Bijao development: A residential development on Santa Clara beach with a private nine hole, 36 par golf course
  • Royal Decameron Golf Club: An all-inclusive resort and residential development located on Farallon Beach featuring the Mantaraya (Manta Ray) course, a 72 par 18 hole course designed by Randall Thompson. PGA officials and the US Senior Amateur Golf Championship have been hosted on this course. Also available at the course are a clubhouse, pro shop, driving range and on-site professionals. Discounts are offered for retirees. There are also "ladies' days" and twilight specials
  • Vista Mar: A resort and residential development located in Lago Mar/San Carlos, which features a Michael Poellot-designed golf course. After completion, this will be an 18 hole, 72 par course; nine holes are currently open for play
  • Hotel Coronado Golf & Beach Resort: A resort and residential development located in Coronado, about an hour's drive from Panama City. The development features a Fazio-designed, 18 hole, 72 par course. This is one of the more expensive golf courses in Panama

Golf in Panama City

  • Club de Golf de Panama: A private, 18 hole 70 par course with driving range, pro shop, spa facilities, tennis and racquetball courts and a swimming pool. The course offers memberships to associates of the club. However, it is also possible to be invited to play or become a member by an existing associate. The course also offers corporate plans. This club has hosted many of Panama's championship tournaments
  • Summit Golf & Resort: The first fold course in Panama is located in the suburbs of Panama City, about 30 minutes' drive from the city center. Summit is an 18 hole 72 par golf course built in 1930 for the American canal-zone workers; it was recently redesigned to "World Class" standards by Jeffrey Meyers. The course offers memberships and play-as-you-go rates. There are views of the Panama Canal and Camino de Cruces National Park from the greens. The full service club offers beverage and snack service, a golf academy, a driving range, pro shop, restaurant, gym, event hall, day care, and pool. The course is appropriate for professionals and amateurs, and the resort offers accommodation for children. As well as the 18 hole course there is a 6 hole course, a family center, recreation clubs and day care services

Golf in Boquete

  • Valle Escondido: The Chiriqui resort and residential development located in Boquete is home to a 9 hole executive course that runs through a coffee plantation. With at least two teeing grounds for each hole, the course offers an 18 hole play-through opportunity
  • Cielo Paraiso: Located in Jaramillo, Chiriqui, the Cielo Paraiso golf course was designed by Michael Poellot. This is an 18 hole championship course. All golfers and levels of expertise are accommodated and the course offers a "member for a day" program

Golf in the Azueros Peninsula

  • Chitre Club de Golf: Located in Chitre, Herrera, on the Azueros peninsula, this is possibly the cheapest course in Panama. This a "no-frills" golf course, with no extra amenities or golf carts

Further Information