PRENSA (Press and Story)

After 25 years of running corporate golf events from my home base in Pittsburgh, PA, FAIRWAYS GOLF SERVICES I now live just outside Bucaramanga, Colombia with my wife Sandra and her daughter, Catalina.

Golf has been a passion of mine all of my life, and my new surroundings do not change that. In fact, I have a new-found passion that I hope you will share with me.

Bucaramanga, Colombia and its neighboring cities of Floridablanca and Piedecuesta (which is where the golf course is located) have a population of approximately 1.5 million people. The area has two private golf clubs within the city limits but no public golf course of any kind.

What we have done is built a 9-hole par 3 course. The holes range from 75-120 yards. The greens are made of the same grass as the fairways and we maintain the course with one small lawnmower and one weed whacker. Our Foundation, El Derecho A Jugar, is certified by the Colombian Government although we do not qualify as a 501C3 in The United States. The goal of the Foundation is to bring golf to the children, families and people of Colombia. We offer free lessons and golf for kids under 14 four days a week. We charge our paying customers the equivalent of $2.50 for 9 holes and $4.50 for 18 holes. It is a a FirstTee concept with a twist, WE ARE INTRODUCING THE GAME TO ALL PEOPLE, not just the underprivileged.
To underestimate the potential draw of golf in Colombia would be to ignore global golf statistics, even in soccer-crazed countries. Golf is flourishing and will continue to grow globally. In some instances, it needs nurturing and cared for. Colombia is one of those instances.

The average income in this area is approximately $400 per month. We need private and public support to exist. Our donations have slowed since the global downturn, however, we are existing and more people are coming to learn and play.

Bucaramanga is the country’s 5th largest city, the capital of the State of Santander, and has never been afflicted with the past issues of notorious cities like Bogota, Cali, or Medillin. Bucaramanga carries the moniker, “the Pretty City” and is known for its many city parks. Sandra and I are now living in a house adjacent to the course and we are intimately involved with the day to day operations.We have spent nearly all of our lives savings on buying the 12 acres of land. With the help of a few generous donors, we were able to raise $30,000 to transform a fruit and vegetable farm into Tierra Del Sol Golf Course.

The sport that we love and take for granted is out of reach for the common citizen due to land costs and average income. Help us continue our project. We are breaking social barriers and teaching the world that golf truly can be… A GAME FOR ALL.


Thank you Tony Ciabattoni & Sandra Gonzalez

8 comments for “PRENSA (Press and Story)

  1. August 27, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    What a great cause, the kids in Colombia will have so much fun on their new golf course. We should expect to see more great golfers from Colombia on the PGA Tour in the near future.

    As you well know Bravo Cigar is a 100% Colombian cigar, the only all Colombian cigar in the world. The tobaccos that makeup our cigars are all grown in Colombia by Colombian farmers and are beautifully handrolled by Colombian artisans. Bravo Cigar supports the people of Colombia and now Bravo Cigar supports you Tony and your great project.

    For every cigar we sell, Bravo Cigar will donate $1.00 to “The Right To Play” Foundation.

    I hope others will join me in this great project and donate.

    Help build Colombia a golf course.

    Senor Roberto Juarez

  2. May 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm


    It takes a great man to give so much of himself. And this venture is just one example of taking what talent or knowledge you have best, and using it to give back to your fellow man. I am for one thankful and proud of the work you are doing. I don’t know what LGA or its members can do for you, but we will give what we can.

    Thank you Tony.

  3. patricia stroh
    May 25, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Tony y Sandra

    Felicitaciones !!!!

    es lo mejor que han podido hacer ya que NO debe ser un deporte EXCLUSIVO

    para Socios de Clubes o gente con dinero…

    hay mucho niño aqui en Colombia con escasos recursos pero con GRANDES TALENTOS

    Séan Uds creen la fundacion con buenas bases y que los dineros que les lleguen sean manejados solo por la fundacion.

    • admin
      May 27, 2009 at 4:21 pm

      Gracias Patricia,

      Si usted necesita mas informacion, por favor escribe a mi esposa Sandra

      Estamos buscando para palos, pelotas y por supuesta donaciones. Abrimos en julio 1.

      Yo espero que yo puedo hablar mejor en julio!!!

  4. juancarlos moreno
    May 26, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    felicitaciones por esa iniciativa aca en bogota no hay ningun sitio como ese el golf economico se practica en briceño y no es muy costoso el unico problema es el peaje, tambien quiero saber como se puede colaborar con la fundacion para que esos ñiños y todos los demas puedan practicarlo
    coridal saludo
    juan carlos

  5. juancarlos moreno
    May 26, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    la pagina podria ser en español ?

    • admin
      May 26, 2009 at 6:43 pm

      Por ahora la pagina esta solo en Ingles. Tratamos hacerla en Espanol, pero in unos meses.

      Lo siento por mi Espanol.

  6. justin cohen
    December 6, 2009 at 4:34 am

    Hi I saw your site and your project is sweet. I live in el Cerrejon and Im the advisor of the high school golf club. Ill be in Buc soon Id love to come visit…adios Justin

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