Baja Birdies

World-class golf courses dot the narrow 20-mile corridor running from the shaded streets of quaint San Jose del Cabo to the lively nightclubs of Cabo San Lucas, at the tip of the Baja peninsula.

By: Cori Kenicer

World-class golf courses dot the narrow 20-mile corridor running from the shaded streets of quaint San Jose del Cabo to the lively nightclubs of Cabo San Lucas, at the tip of the Baja peninsula.

Tops on the must-play list are Palmilla, Eldorado, Cabo Real and Cabo del Sol. The terrain typically varies from hilly desert to beachfront, with ocean vistas common throughout.

Palmilla is the only true golf resort, which controls the hotel and golf on property. Palmilla’s 27 holes the Mountain, Arroyo, and Ocean nines represent Cabo’s first Jack Nicklaus Signature Course. The elegant, historic 115-room hotel in classic, old Mexico style with red-tiled roofs and whitewashed walls overlooks the tranquil Sea of Cortes.

Troon Golf, the leading luxury golf management company, assumed management of Palmilla on June 1. A new golf clubhouse is being planned, according to Ray Metz, director of golf. High season greens fees are $185 (hotel guests) to $205 (outside play), and room rates range from $430 to $1,295. Packages are available. Call 800-637-2226.

Jack Nicklaus also designed Eldorado Golf Club, which opened in 1999. Six holes front the Sea of Cortes, some so close that you can hear the flying fish, or skate fish, slapping the water as they soar in and out of the waves. High season greens fees are $246. Nearby Cabo Real Golf Club is under the same ownership. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., it opened in 1994 and hosted the PGA Senior Slam. High season greens fees are $215. For both courses, call 800-393-0400.

Midway along the corridor sits award-winning Cabo del Sol, consisting of the Nicklaus-designed Ocean Course, rated one of the Top 100 Courses in the World by Golf magazine, and the new Desert Course, a Tom Weiskopf design. A lavish new clubhouse is scheduled for completion some time this year. High season greens fees are $228 on the ocean course and $198 at the desert course. Call 800-386-2465. Where to Stay

A 10-minute walk from downtown Cabo San Lucas, Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos (148 guest rooms) and Pueblo Bonito Rose (260 rooms) sit next door to each other on the El Medano white sand beach. All rooms have kitchenettes. Pueblo Bonito Rose offers a full European spa in its two-story building.

On the secluded Pacific Ocean side of the peninsula, the new Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach will complete its 519 luxury suites by the end of this year. “Guests at any of our three hotels have access to all facilities, including a free shuttle,” said Luis Yuen Villalobos, Los Cabos general manager.

Room rates range from $195 to $245, with special Stay and Save packages. Call 800-990-8250.

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