La Ceiba Club de GolfA pioneer and a hand made golf course…how and when golf came to Yucatán

Born in Progreso, Yucatán, educated as an architect in Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and married in Cali, Colombia to Melba Calero Tejada, Felix Mier y Terán (1923 – 1996) was the visionary architect who brought golf to not only the state of Yucatán, but to the entire southeast of Mexico. A passionate traveler and sailor, many of his trips took him to the Miami, Florida area where he was highly impressed with the golf courses and the homes and neighborhoods around the golf courses. While participating in 1968 in the 1st Sol al Sol Regatta from New Orleans to Isla Mujeres he met avid sailor and golfer John Maehcle and the seed was planted. He became an avid golfer on his trips to the US.

At one point Felix said to Vicente Erosa Cámara, “you’re a banker, you can get the funding, I’m an architect, I can design and build it – what do you think?!”

The “what do you think” idea is now the Club de Golf Yucatán that was founded on April 25th, 1969. Originally named Club de Golf La Ceiba,  “La Ceiba” is the name that everyone still uses. Created in the middle of the low Yucatán jungle, when the city of Mérida ended where Office Depot on Prol. Montejo is now located, the road to Progreso (and La Ceiba) was a narrow two-lane road. For the average Yucatecan, La Ceiba was FAR AWAY.

To sell the colonial homes that were built on the first green and the practice range, Felix advertised in American golf magazines. The results were 12 American couples bought the homes, and that was the beginning of the residential area around La Ceiba. When word got out, the locals bought up the lots  as soon as they hit the market – not because they were golfers, but because they wanted to be part of the boom they expected golf would bring to the area.

It can be said that the La Ceiba golf course was built by hand. No heavy machinery was used: no graders, tractors, excavators, bulldozers or loaders, just some 150 Maya workers from the nearby towns of Dzibilchaltún, Chablekal and Komchen, and two horses that were used to get around the project.

Today La Ceiba is an upscale residential neighborhood nestled in amongst a great golf course that sponsors lots of tournaments, has a golf academy and active club house. La Ceiba Golf Course accepts walk-ons.

New in the area is the Yucatán Country Club, a first-world project that is being built north of Mérida off the Mérida – Dzibilchaltún road. Felix Mier y Terán brought golf to the Yucatán and the southeast of Mexico; Yucatán Country Club is bringing a Jack Nicklaus course to Latin America.

Recommended reading:

The Highest Level Golf at Yucatan Country Club
Golf Club of Yucatán

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