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Los Cabos may have made its tourism reputation as a sport-fishing destination, but it is undeniable that the region really came into its own when it went into overdrive by developing a selection of world-class golf resorts and courses. Many of these were championship courses designed by heavy-hitters such as Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman and Pete Dye. TravelAge West recently spoke with Adrian G. Schjetnan, director of sales and marketing at the Los Cabos Convention & Visitors Bureau, to get his insights on the ins-and-outs of the region’s golf market.
Is Los Cabos in danger of being over-saturated with golf courses, in other words, less demand but more courses?Currently, there are no golf courses being built in the area. The Chileno Bay project, which is private, is on hold with the 18-hole course nearly finished. This year, the fabulous Diamante course opened on the Pacific Dunes designed by Davis Love III, but it will be going private as of Jan. 1, 2011. The destination is still the mecca of golf in Mexico with a total of 11 golf courses in the area.
Has the golfer demographic in Los Cabos changed? We have heard that the hot demographic is younger golfers in the 29 to 49 age range.Golf demographics in Los Cabos have remained the same with the predominant age range being ages 40 to 65. Now, we see many couples and families playing together. The U.S. corporate incentive market used to be one of the major suppliers of players to area courses but, due to the worldwide economic crisis, this market segment has decreased. We do still see small groups of men — between 8 to 12 players — ranging in ages from 30 to 50.
Is there room on Los Cabos golf courses for the novice player or high-handicap player?Definitely. Los Cabos golf courses have five sets of tee boxes. The courses do not typically have a lot of water hazards, out of bounds areas, very undulating greens or deep bunkers and, if you hit your ball in the desert, you can play another one with a penalty stroke where it last crossed the grass. They all boast excellent practice facilities and personal/professional instruction at lower hourly rates than those charged in the U.S. Some area courses, such as the Palmilla Golf Club, even offer nine-hole rates after 3 or 4 p.m. for the golfer who might think playing 18 holes is still beyond their capabilities.
How far in advance should golfers plan their vacation?A golf vacation to Los Cabos is still planned three to six months in advance in order to book favorable airfares and hotel rates. Tee times are easier to book now that there are more options in our destination, with nine fabulous golf courses open to the public.
Do golfers visiting Los Cabos usually take the time to explore the region with such activities as Hummer desert tours and sport-fishing charters?The casual golfer — those who visit with their spouse who is not a golfer or on a family vacation and typically play one or two rounds during a stay — will indeed take the time to explore the region and enjoy other activities. Many golfers in the U.S. are also avid fishermen, and this is the best destination to do both activities.
Has spa outpaced golf as the most popular activity in Los Cabos?I don’t believe so. I actually believe they complement each other very well. Los Cabos has more high-quality spas than any other destination in Mexico in its four- and five-star properties and the same holds true for golf courses. Add to that the fabulous warm, dry, breezy weather year-round, and you have the perfect combination for a fabulous golf and spa vacation, combined with outdoor activities, great dining and lively nightlife.