Guests staying at Four Seasons Punta Mita and St. Regis Punta Mita have easy access to Jack Nicklaus-designed Pacifico Golf Course. // © 2015 Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Feature image (above): The course at Los Cabos’ Quivira Golf Club, which opened less than a year ago, runs along granite cliffs near Land’s End. // © 2015 Quivira Golf Club
Looking at a list of Mexico’s golf courses is like reading a who’s who of famous golf-course designers. Combine this with scenic views and quality facilities, and there are plenty of reasons for avid golfers and mild enthusiasts alike to head south of the border to hit the green.
Here are a few of our picks for the top spots to tee off.
Long established as a favorite for golf vacations, Los Cabos is home to an array of golf clubs, including Palmilla Golf Club, which reopened in April following a $3.5 million renovation. Golf packages are available that include accommodations at the adjacent One&Only Palmilla, which offers golf clinics for children.
Cabo del Sol, a 36-hole complex with designs by Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf, is another tempting choice. The work of Jack Nicklaus is also evident at Questro Golf’s Club Campestre, five minutes from downtown San Jose del Cabo. Additional name-brand excitement is available at Puerto Los Cabos on the East Cape outside of San Jose del Cabo, with nine-hole designs by Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus. Cabo Real has a layout designed by Robert Trent Jones II.
Amazing views are also a draw in Los Cabos. Cabo San Lucas Country Club is the only course with a view of the sea arch at Land’s End. And Quivira Golf Club, which is less than a year old, has an eye-catching course that runs along granite cliffs near Land’s End and features a switchback up the side of a mountain. Four rest stations along the course provide venues for relaxation; the building near the eighth green, called the Oasis, offers golfers an opportunity to sample regional cuisine and refreshments from the resort’s chefs.
The region that spans Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit offers an array of scenic courses. Four Seasons Punta Mita and St. Regis Punta Mita offer easy access to Pacifico Golf Course, a Jack Nicklaus-designed course with inspiring views of both the ocean and the Sierra Madre Mountains. Its most memorable feature is the par-three hole 19, which challenges golfers to shoot right over the water, aiming for a hole located on a black-lava-rock island.
In nearby Puerto Vallarta is Vista Vallarta Golf Club, which has two courses, both of which have been named among the top 20 for the Mexico and Caribbean region by “Golfweek.” Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta, meanwhile, is set to open a new Greg Norman Golf Course at the end of this year.
Cancun & the Riviera Maya
Mexico’s Caribbean coast is also a rewarding place for golf vacations. Cancun alone has no fewer than 14 courses, including facilities designed by Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman, such as Moon Palace Spa & Golf Club, which offers unlimited golf at its Jack Nicklaus signature course. One of the classic choices in Cancun is the club at Pok-ta-Pok, a Robert Trent Jones, Jr.-designed course that was the first in the destination when it debuted in 1976. The 6,750-yard course has interesting visuals, such as Mayan ruins next to the par-three third hole.
Farther south, Jack Nicklaus is the mastermind behind Riviera Cancun Golf Club, a tranquil stretch of green that’s surrounded by a nature reserve. El Camaleon, an 18-hole course designed by Greg Norman that sits near Mayakoba Residences, has proven its worth by hosting the OHL Classic at Mayakoba with the Professional Golf Association since 2007. And for convenience to a variety of accommodations, it’s hard to beat Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf Club, which is close to five different Iberostar properties.
Greg Norman’s name lends allure to Playa Mujeres Golf Club, a par-72, 7,260-yard course that opened in 2006. A tropical rainforest setting — with ocean and lagoon fairways and trade winds that require accuracy from every player — ensures that golfers will find challenges and rewards, year-round.