Tee Time In Paradise

Cabo is earning a reputation as a top golf destination

By: By Kenneth Shapiro


Cabo Real
Los Cabos Convention & Visitors Bureau

Questro Golf

Our Experts’ Personal Favorite Courses

Frederico Vaughan, director of golf for Questro, on his favorite courses to play:   

"At the moment we have three golf courses open for play; Cabo Real, Club Campestre San Jose and Puerto Los Cabos.

"Cabo Real, a Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed course, which has become a must-play course in Cabo, is the only desert course in Cabo that has wall-to-wall grass. (Most of the other designs in Cabo have only grass where it’s needed.) Cabo Real’s front nine holes are without a doubt the best in Los Cabos. It’s beautiful mountain scenery with three oceanfront holes.

"Campestre, a Nicklaus-designed course, is laid out over a flatter surface but with more challenging greens and with a new type of grass. This grass can resist some saltwater when irrigated and is a much greener, which makes it look flawless. This course has an ocean view from every single hole. It’s a fun course, and will become private in a few years.

"Puerto Los Cabos is our newest jewel. This unique course is located within a privileged 2,000-acre destination resort and offers our players spectacular and breathtaking views of San Jose, mountains and pristine beachfront (with three fantastic oceanfront holes). Along with the scenery, Puerto Los Cabos has the largest private marina in Mexico and will offer luxury hotel accommodations."

Ella Messerli, Los Cabos Convention & Visitors Bureau, on her favorite courses:

"The Cabo del Sol courses are perennial favorites — The Ocean Course and the Desert Course. Having two drastically different options on one property is convenient and they are both phenomenal courses, designed by legendary golf course architects such as Jack Nicklaus (Ocean Course) and Tom Weiskopf (Desert Course). The Ocean Course was ranked #1 Best Course in Mexico in 2008 by Golf Digest, offering golfers seven holes directly along the coastline, earning the course its nickname of ‘Pebble Beach of Baja.’ The Desert Course is a target-style golf experience with sloping fairways and plenty of bunkers with views of the Sea of Cortes from every hole."

Vaughan offers tips for golfers:

"I would suggest playing Puerto Los Cabos now because in the future it will have 18 holes for the public facility designed by Jack Nicklaus and 18 holes of a very exclusive private course designed by Greg Norman.

"The catch is that for the next three years the course is open to the public with nine from Nicklaus and nine from Norman, which is a very rare and unique opportunity. This will surely become a top 100 course in the world."

Messerli offers tips for golfers:

"A good thing for any golfer to know when playing in Los Cabos is that the fun doesn’t stop there. I always like to remind golfers that they are also in the presence of some of Mexico’s top-rated spas. After a long day out on the course, treat yourself to an indulgent spa service. Pamper your muscles with a Sports Massage or Body Treatment, aimed to relax, rebalance and rejuvenate your body for another day out on the green."

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As I tee up on the 14th hole of the Cabo Real golf course, in Los Cabos, the Sea of Cortez glistens in front of me. The contrast between the green grass of the course, the white sand of the beach and the sparkling blue water makes it hard to concentrate on my swing. As I play out the 15th hole and make the turn back toward the clubhouse, I stop for a moment just steps away from the beach. The sun is shinning, a breeze blows softly from over the water and seagulls wail somewhere in the distance — not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

The Cabo Real Golf Club will be a part of the 6th Annual People vs. Pros Golf Tournament. // (c) Todd Mazza
The Cabo Real Golf Club will be a part of the 6th Annual People vs. Pros Golf Tournament. 

Of course, Los Cabos is far from a hidden gem for golfers; its 10 courses (eight public and two private) are, without a doubt, some of the finest in all of Mexico. In fact, Cabo Real itself made quite a splash (pun intended) on the golf world map in 1996 when whales put on a show breaching just yards offshore during the Senior Slam golf tournament.

These days, however, there’s new cachet to playing Cabo’s courses, as the PGA has started to expand its tournaments and events south of the border. That acknowledgment by the pros, as well as the fact that the top female golfer in the world today, Lorena Ochoa, is Mexican, has breathed fresh life into the golf scene here. There are 10 more courses currently under construction in Los Cabos that should be open in the next two to three years.

"With the PGA events and tournaments continuing to choose Los Cabos as a host location — along with the continued growth and development of new courses in the area — it ensures Los Cabos’ reputation as a premier golf destination and mecca for championship golf," said Ella Messerli of the Los Cabos Convention & Visitors Bureau. "The 6th Annual People vs. Pros Golf Tournament returns to Los Cabos for the second consecutive year Dec. 4-9. This will allow hundreds of amateur golfers to compete against golf legends Fred Couples and Nick Faldo for a prize of $50,000 to be donated to the charity of their choice."

Participants in this tournament will play on four championship Los Cabos courses — Cabo Real Golf Club, Club Campestre San Jose and two new courses that have recently opened at Puerto Los Cabos.

In fact, there are so many great courses in Cabo that, perhaps, agents’ greatest challenge is suggesting the right course for a particular client.

"Golfers should choose a course that fits them — their playing level, style and comfort zone," said Messerli. "There are many wonderful courses in Los Cabos, but some are much more advanced and may not be the best fit for an amateur golfer."

Another good idea is to watch the pocketbook, as greens fees in Los Cabos can be hefty.

"In Cabo, the best way to choose a golf course is to look for a good deal," advised Frederico Vaughan, director of Questro Golf. "Usually most of the hotels have a deal with certain golf courses. Just make sure your clients are booked at a ‘golf resort.’"

Vaughan also suggests visitors look for opportunities for multiple-play discounts at different courses, free transportation and other services.

"At the Questro Golf call center you can find out about great golf deals, hotel discounts and other activities," he said.

Agents should also consider booking golf outings for cruise passengers. Many of these excursions can be booked through the cruise lines, but they’re often limited to a certain number of participants. Agents can arrange individual tee times as well.