Golfing in Los Cabos

With both established and new courses, Los Cabos has golfing down to a tee By: Kenneth Shapiro
Golfers at Puerto Los Cabos Golf Club have views of the entire coastline. // © 2011 rose CAPASSO
Golfers at Puerto Los Cabos Golf Club have views of the entire coastline. // © 2011 rose CAPASSO

Greens Fees

Palmilla Golf Club
Rates include golf cart, bag tag, practice balls and bottled water.

Through April 30
7 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.: $220
12:00 p.m. to close (twilight): $160

From May 1 to June 30
7 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.: $180
12 p.m. to close (twilight): $130

Puerto Los Cabos Golf Club
High Season: $195-$140
Mid/Low Season: $150-$110

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The Details

One&Only Palmilla

Palmilla Golf Club

Puerto Los Cabos Golf Club

In the past few years, golf has experienced tremendous growth in Mexico, with many destinations either building or significantly upgrading courses. One destination, however, continues to shine above the rest as the epicenter of golf in the country. Los Cabos has long been a golferís paradise and, with its wide variety of classic courses as well as some newcomers, it truly deserves its position as a world-class golfing getaway.

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the area and play two beautiful courses -- one a perennial standout and the other a new course on the verge of greatness.

Palmilla Golf Club
The Palmilla resort has the distinction of being one of the first in Los Cabos. It was originally built in 1956 -- which for this part of Baja qualifies as ancient history -- and it served as a hideaway for the Hollywood elite that pioneered this tourist mecca, including John Wayne and Bing Crosby. In addition to 173 luxury accommodations, the resort is home to Palmilla Golf Club, a 27-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, which served as the site of the 1997 Senior PGA Tour Senior Slam event.

Managed by Troon Golf, the course layout is broken up into three different nine-hole tracks -- the Arroyo, Mountain and Ocean courses -- with a par of 36 per course. I played the Arroyo and Mountain courses and walked the Ocean course. All three are scrupulously maintained and offer amazing golf with plenty of challenges, awe-inspiring views of the Sea of Cortez, exotic desert landscapes and more. The Mountain course is a little longer than the others at 3,602 yards from the black tees (compared to 3,337 for the Arroyo course and 3,434 for the Ocean course) and, with its elevation changes, it might be a bit more challenging for less experienced golfers.

My favorite holes include the par-4 fourth hole on the Arroyo course and the par-3 sixth hole on the Mountain course, both of which feature stunning water hazards. And the third hole on the Ocean course -- with a seaside green that feels like it's practically a part of the crashing surf -- is probably one of the most beautiful holes to be found anywhere.

Puerto Los Cabos Golf Club

Los Cabos has been a popular destination for leisure boaters for decades and, because of that, the Mexican government invested in a second marina closer to San Jose del Cabo. Called Puerto Los Cabos, this development also includes luxury real estate and a brand-new golf complex, the Puerto Los Cabos Golf Club.

Managed by Questro Golf, the Puerto Los Cabos Golf Club officially opened in 2007; however, only 18 holes of the eventual 36 holes are finished. Eventually, there will be two 18-hole courses -- the Mission Course, designed by Greg Norman, and the Puerto Course, designed by Jack Nicklaus. Today, golfers can play nine holes on both of the courses and decide for themselves which course designer is their favorite so far.

When I arrived at Puerto Los Cabos Golf Club, I was a little concerned because so much of it is still under construction. However, once I got out on the par-73 course (currently called the Composite Course; 7,461 yards from the gold tees), I found a truly top-notch golfing experience. At the end of the day, it was difficult to decide what I liked better about the course: the panoramic mountain views that stretched all the way down the coast; the challenge of holes such as the 14th hole that forced me to shoot over two different arroyos; or the 15th hole that runs along a pristine stretch of deserted beach.

Where to Stay
While there's no shortage of luxury accommodations in Los Cabos, the One&Only Palmilla would be my pick for an upscale golf outing centered around these two courses. Not only is it convenient for the Palmilla course, but it's also a short drive to the Puerto Los Cabos Golf Club as well.

One&Only Palmilla continues its legacy as a hideaway for the world's rich and famous, and for good reason. The ambience throughout the resort is warm and welcoming, and the accommodations have a historic feel without being stuffy or old-fashioned. My guestroom featured all the expected amenities as well as some extra perks, such as a telescope for stargazing, complimentary tequila for a nightcap, an oversized bathtub and more. If possible, book clients into a suite that comes with its own infinity-edge plunge pool. Unlike some resorts whose individual plunge pools are really more like outdoor bathtubs, the private pools at the One&Only are spacious, making for a great way to end a long day of golf.
Highlights of the resort include two pools; one of the few swimmable beaches in Los Cabos; a tennis facility; an award-winning spa; a conference/events center; a top-notch kids' club; and several restaurants including Market by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

For clients interested in world-class golf during the day and unequaled pampering at night, a Los Cabos golf trip is a hole in one.


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