A symbol of eight decades
Tortugas Country Club has just reached its 80th birthday. This country club, in Pilar, is a pioneer in these sorts of projects, and its 80th anniversary is representative of the success of such projects. The dream and vision of one man were key in the story of this country club, which has become an example of how to execute a project of this size. That man is Antonio Maura.
Founded on August 22, 1930, it was an impulse of the Spaniard, who arrived in Argentina very much in love with his Argentine wife, Sara Escalante. On the land of his father-in-law, in Pilar, they set up the first polo field, on which they would meet with their friends to spend holidays, and from there, the property was dubbed a country club, which at the time was a major subdivision without a perimeter fence, where Sara Escalante de Maura would frequent, of course. She commented to her husband upon seeing the polo games, and the slowness of those who played, that they seemed like turtles (tortugas, in Spanish), and thus the name of the place was born.
The growth of the enterprise was nothing short of amazing, and the original 60 hectares are now 215. In founding the official property, several men were involved, with Antonio Maura elected as the president, unanimously.
This document not only reaffirmed the nomination of the directors, but also the objectives of the foundation, where they would practice polo, golf, swimming, and all sorts of other physical activities, for the exclusive use of the directors and members of the club.
As a testament to the Spanish style that the founders of the first houses brought with them, ornamentations, lookout points, fabrics, and even the whitewash the houses were painted and horse-and-carriage shaped weathervanes with can all be seen. These details somehow reveal the tastes of the first settlers, who originally used the grounds as a vacation destination for the weekend or summer holidays.
Maura passed away in 1964, and since then there have only been three presidents of the establishment: Eduardo Grané, Osvaldo Maquieira Goñi, and the current president, Francisco Dorignac, who has held the position since 1980.
Dorignac, one of the most prominent polo players in Argentina, was part of various prestigious formations of Santa Ana, with which he secured various titles, and of Tortugas. He reached his current position through being captain of the polo club, among other positions. He was also the president of the Argentine Polo Association until recently.
La Tortuga has 446 homes, and 11 in construction, which are on lots that average 1500 m2. 60% of the inhabitants live there permanently, a number which tends to grow over time, as people look for security and stability in their lives. There are 6 polo fields, on which they play one of the most important high handicap tournaments that make up the Triple Crown. There is one 18-hole golf course, and another par 3 course, which are frequented by an average of 130 players per day. Three squash fields, one paddle court, 20 tennis courts, boxes for 300 horses, an Olympic-sized pool, a gym, a multi-sport area, a cinemas set for 70 people, and many other fields, for sports such as field hockey and soccer. There are professionals attending every field, overseeing the games.
This is one of the few urbanizations that has a Coto supermarket within it, as well as natural gas and a service station. There are few available lots for commercialization, which cost about US$250 per m2, and nearly AR$1800 per month in expenses. There is also a chapel for mass and weddings.
The 80th year of this incredible establishment is a tribute to the dream and vision of Antonio Maura, and an exciting time to not only look behind, but to look ahead, as well.
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