Tony Jacklin to design Cuban course


Carbonera Club has found the “signature” for its golf course. It’ll be provided by Tony Jacklin, who has a design office in Bradenton, Florida but can work in Cuba because he’s a Brit.

“Cuba is an ideal location for golf tournaments and has a bright future with regard to courses,” Jacklin said during a visit to the island earlier this year. “Where else can you light up a cigar and strike the ball?”

The design commission is evidence that development is progressing at Carbonera, which will take shape on 425 acres of government-owned property just outside Varadero, about an hour’s drive east of Havana. Besides Jacklin’s 18-hole, championship-length course, the community will include 100 villas, 800 condos, a 120-room hotel, a spa, a marina, a beach club, and a Jacklin-branded golf academy.

Carbonera is being developed by Esencia Hotels & Resorts, an affiliate of London-based Havana Holdings. Esencia’s obligatory Cuban partner is Palmares, a government-controlled entity that’s developed more than 1,000 hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues, and other business establishments in Cuba. Palmares’ contribution to golf consists of what is still, despite much bluster and hype, the nation’s only 18-hole golf course, the Les Furber-designed track at Varadero Golf Course in Varadero.

While he was a touring pro, Jacklin won both a British and a U.S. open championship and was a member of seven Ryder Cup teams. In his second life, he’s designed or co-designed courses in the United States, Spain, Turkey, and the Channel Islands. These days, he’s also been tapped to design two courses in Morocco (in Casablanca and Marrakech) and two in Cyprus (in Paphos and Limassol).

“We are delighted to have a legend like Tony assist us in growing this sport in Cuba,” says Andrew Macdonald, Esencia’s CEO.

Esencia, which now has an office in Cuba, also plans to build a second golf-focused resort in Cuba, this one in the town of Cienfuegos, on the southern coast. The resort, called Rancho Luna, hasn’t yet been master-planned, but it’s expected to resemble Carbonera Club.

This story originally appeared in the World Edition of the Golf Course Report, in a slightly different form. For a sample copy of the World Edition, call 301/680-9460 or write to


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