Puerto Los Cabos
“So I jump ship in Hong Kong, make my way over to Mexico and Puerto Los Cabos.”
Mexico is an amazing place, but the best of it would surely have to be the Baja Peninsula. If you are a golfer that is. With so many great golf courses along this stretch of land, you will always play a world class track. Courses like El Dorado, Cabo Real, Palmilla and Club Campestre will give the average Australian golfer an unforgettable day out, especially because of the weather. Brilliant sunny, not a cloud in the sky, hot days await you and if you go at the right time of the year, no crowds either. My holiday there was added onto my America trip because I felt I just had to get down there to experience the incredible Mexican golf courses that have been designed by some of the best. One in particular caught my attention when researching them all. Puerto Los Cabos.
Puerto Los Cabos is one of the newest courses along that stretch. It is furthest away from the nightlife of Cabo San Lucas, but is still on the Sea of Cortez. This gives the course amazing views from the constant changes in elevation that are throughout both the nines. Speaking of the two different nines, the front nine was designed by our own Greg Norman. The back nine by the man himself, Jack Nicklaus. Although there are two different designers, the course flows beautifully from front to back and you wouldn’t really notice the difference in designers. I have played many of Jack’s courses and have always enjoyed them, but this time, Greg’s nine I think just shadows his, by the smallest of margins.
“So I go out with Shark and come home with the Bear.”
At least that is what they say around this course. The front nine, and in particular, the first 7 holes are to me, the best stretch at this course. From the first tee shot of the day you rise up a big hill to what looks like an extremely narrow green. When you finally get up there though, there is plenty of room and the long green with lots of undulation will get your blood pumping early. The 2nd will demand a straight tee shot as the sandy waste area are both left and right. A big green and a downhill yardage will help relax you. The 3rd hole is the first par 3 and at just over 200 meters from the black tees demands a great tee shot. Don’t go right as it falls away to oblivion.
After the 3rd hole, you come to one of the very good things about this golf course, a bar. Yes, there is a little kitchen/café/bar there to cater to your needs. As I was staying at the all-inclusive resort attached to the course, I opted for the all-inclusive food and drink as well. This meant that anything I wanted was mine to enjoy. I grabbed a breakfast burrito (cooked on the spot for me) and a Gatorade and I was off the 4th tee. The barman suggested that instead I have the Screwdriver (Vodka & orange juice) but it was only 8am. The 4th is a long uphill par 5 with a huge bunker on the right hand side of the fairway. I liked this hole because although the changes in elevation were already happening, this hole started the climb up to what looked like quite a big mountain side. I was hoping I could hit off it or at least get a great view to grab a few photos.
Hole 5 is only a shortish par 4, but with the mountain looming to the left, it doglegs around to the right and the green remains mostly hidden from view. The green itself is surrounded by bunkers left and right and going long is not a peach hon. The 6th is the hole where the camera will come out. It’s a long par 3, that plays short due to the over 100 foot drop to the 194 meter away green. The spectacular miles of coastline of the Sea of Cortez are in full view here so linger a while before you tee off.
* The picture above is of the 5th green. The mountain to the left of it and the cart path you can see going around the back of it goes up to the lookout 6th tee.
The 7th is a 569-meter par 5 with a bunker that runs almost entirely along the fairway to the green. The green is perched atop of a small plateau that again will give you a chance to snap some great pictures before confronting the bar once again on the way to the 8th tee. The 8th is a par 4 where you drive over a small jungle patch in the middle of the fairway, the 9th a downhill par 4 with an amazing backdrop of the hills in the distance. Then you get to the Nicklaus nine.
The Nicklaus nine hole is just as stunning as what you have already played on the Norman side, the difference is that it winds its way through the resort below and to the beach, then back up the hills to the clubhouse. Special mention to the 10th hole with its vegetation island in the middle of the fairway. To avoid this on the uphill par 5 was difficult as it seemed to be where I wanted to go from everywhere, but avoid it I did and it gave me my first birdie of the day. 11 is a superb par 3 that requires an all carry tee shot to a difficult sloping green, 12 is a visually stunning par 5 that after a blind tee shot, runs down towards the resort and the sea. Just before the 13th tee you will run into another bar, before the par 4, par 5 next two holes that will bring you into the resort and the 15th tee. This par 3 sits right next to the sea and here you are faced with a difficult decision.
There is a beach bar that is within the resort and it sits in the middle of this hole (well, sort of) You have the decision of going boldly to the black tees and hitting a 200 meter shot over the top of the bar and its patrons, or driving your cart in front of the bar and hitting a 145 meter shot. I chose the black tees and the barman warned everybody that there was a golfer hitting off from behind them. Some took cover behind pillars, others just sat and watched. Pressure on, I hit a 3 iron above them all to the green. The cheers echoed out from the bar patrons, although I suspect they were just happy they were not hit, rather than clapping for my shot. The resulting birdie was pure bliss as it was in front of a bar full of people. You do not get to do that in golf very often.
Crisis averted, I drove past the on course bar for the last time and played the uphill 17th and the downhill spectacular 18th. The whole time I played this course, I did not at any stage, see another golfer on it. The 2 people at each bar and the 20 grounds staff mowing the course were the only people there. The quality of the course was incredible. I expected being under that hot Mexican sun all day with barely any shade on any hole, would scorch the fairways and greens. Not true. The fairways were green and lush, the greens were flat and without a pitch mark. The bunkers were all raked and it really did feel like everyone was just getting the course right for just me, and of course the abundance of wildlife. I saw my first jack rabbit! Then my second, third, forth, fifth and then lost count. The surrounds of the fairways are a thick local hardy vegetation and sand that personally, I would not venture into too far to look for stray shots. Just hit another one, after all, it’s just a golf ball and you are in Mexico on holiday. Most likely too, you are full of Vodka and orange juice.
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19th 15/15 (As there isn’t a 19th – a score for the bars along the way. They are awesome!)
18 holes will set you back around $90-$195(seasonal) US Dollars. The all-inclusive option will cost you an extra $25 but is more than worth it. Mexico gets extremely hot, so the unlimited drinks option is perfect to stay hydrated. Make sure you play as early as possible, you may look into the sun on the first few shots, but the heat is bearable before midday. This course is a first class experience and the vistas of the Sea of Cortez in the background of a lot of holes will keep you stopping to take some breathtaking images.