Golf In Los Cabos
Within a decade Los Cabos has become the top golf destination in Mexico and is moving up toward the top dozen in the world. There are now seven great championship quality golf courses in Los Cabos plus a challenging 9 hole public course. Every golfer has their favorite but they will agree that there isn't a bad one in the lot. At the current time 5-7 new golf courses are in the planning stages.
Los Cobos has world-class quality, the near perfect weather and unsurpassed scenery, few complain and many continue to return. The best golf may well be June to October, when prices are lower, tee times are open and the weather is still great. Carts, practice range and bottled water are included on all but the 9-hole Mayan Palace Golf Los Cabos in San José.
Reservations, using a major credit card, are a must October through April but all courses will do their best to fit a single or twosome in to replace a "no-show." It is always a good idea to confirm your reservation with the pro shop at all times and ask each about their regular summer greens aerifying schedule.
The Raven Golf Club
The Raven Golf Club near Cabo San Lucas was designed by the Dye Corporation and opened in 1995. It is one of the longest and most difficult courses in Los Cabos. A good test of golf from any set of tees, prevailing southwest winds, undulating greens, big traps, lakes and plenty of waste area tend to make even a good player hitting from the golds or blacks wish he/she had chosen the blues. The arch and cruise ships seem to be just across the road and views of the mountains to the north are awesome. Nearly destroyed by Hurricane Juliette in 2001, the course has been rebuild better than before and the long brick entry has been redone. Raven management has greatly improved the course, pro shop and practice area and new electric carts and new range balls add to the enjoyment. The weekly "skins game" continues to be a favorite event for locals as weekly tournaments for members. Professionals Tim Ordoňez and Jack Gibson operate a successful and popular junior golf program for kids ages six to 14.
NICKLAUS & WEISKOPF AT CABO DEL SOL
Cabo del Sol Ocean Course was designed by Jack Nicklaus and opened in 1994. It is the best known and highest ranked course in Los Cabos, consistently placing in the top 100 courses in the world. With 6-holes near the ocean and 12 winding through the desert, the Ocean Course provides championship golf from the back tees and plenty of challenges from the front. Head Pro Greg Tallman reports that the 16th hole has been completely redesigned with the green moved 25 yards back towards the surf.
CABO DEL SOL DESERT COURSE
The Cabo del Sol Desert Course is a great addition and compliment to the Ocean course. This Weiskopf-designed gem winds through boulders, lakes and cactus high enough in the hills to provide a fantastic view of the Sea of Cortéz. Shorter and less demanding than the Ocean course, holes like the 600-yard third and very difficult greens make shooting a low score a real challenge in spite of a number of relatively easy "birdie holes." Don't plan on just playing nine, as the ninth green is about as far from the clubhouse as you can get. Fortunately, the bar cart comes along often.
ROBERT TRENT JONES II AT CABO REAL
Cabo Real, a Robert Trent Jones II-designed course, opened in 1994 and was the site of the 1996 and 1999 Senior Slam events. A favorite course for locals, Cabo Real plays long and difficult from the back tees, with long carries, hillside lies and strategically placed traps. From the front tees, the course is surprisingly easy if you can avoid the traps an stay out of the waist-high vegetation so thick on the front nine you better have a guide with a gun to look for your ball. The holes are so separated on the front, you never see another golfer unless you are all on the same hole. The back 9 eases up a bit and even seems like a different course as it drops gradually down to the beach for the par 3 fifteenth. Always a lush, well-maintained course, you never get the feeling of being in the desert.
Jack Nicklaus Eldorado at Cabo Real
ElDorado opened in 1999 is another Jack Nicklaus gift to Los Cabos. A very fair layout from the back or front tees, this has to be one of the visitor's favorites with six holes almost on the beach. The view makes it hard to concentrate on golf. Even the holes on the north side of the highway fit in so well with the hills and valleys of the desert they seem to have always been there. The wide fairways and big greens even help take some of the frustration out of the game. El Dorado was the site of the 2002 United States Intercollegiate Championships.
JACK NICKLAUS AT PALMILLA
Palmilla was the first of the Nicklaus-designed courses in Los Cabos and is the only one with 27 holes. The Arroyo and Mountain nines were opened in 1992 and have twice sustained heavy hurricane damage. Each time the course recovered better than ever. Possibly the easiest nine in Los Cabos, the Arroyo is fairly short but has narrow fairways, canyons and a lake that you can ruin your score if you don't stay alert. The Mountain Nine is considerably more difficult with a couple of long par 4's, an exciting par 4 over two canyons and an "if you dare" par 5 with water closer to the green than you think. The newer Ocean nine features a mix of long and short holes winding through and over a huge waste area and in between some beautiful homes. The third green is framed by the Sea of Cortéz and gives you the feeling of possibly hitting a boat if you use too much club. If you don't have time to play, the practice range is one of the best in Los Cabos.
TOM FAZIO AT QUERENCIA (PRIVATE)
Querencia is just across the canyon from Palmilla and is proof positive that, with $80 million, you can grow grass anywhere. Playing this Fazio-designed beauty is like taking a tour of your own private botanical garden. Flowering bushes, cactus and tropical plants are everywhere, each watered by its own drip irrigation nozzle. Severely undulating and sloping greens make for many 3-putts and embarrassing chips. Located on 840 acres of hills and barrancas, Querencia is the only strictly private course in Los Cabos. It hosted a U.S. televised match between Sergio Garcia and Phil Mickelson in 2002. Green fees: Make friends with a member.
MAYAN PALACE GOLF LOS CABOS
The Mayan Palace course is an interesting 9-hole layout built by Fonatur in 1987. Formerly called the San José Golf Course, the tract was just recently purchased for the Mayan Palace who are spending a lot of money improving the course, clubhouse, swimming pool and tennis courts. Pro Fernando Serna operates a junior golf school for children 4 to 17.