GREAT AMERICAN VACATION
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Greens fee prices quoted include off- and high-season rates and are subject to frequent change.
Los Cabos has become one of the world's top golf destinations, thanks to two factors. First came the support of Fonatur, Mexico's government tourism-development agency. In 1988 it expanded Los Cabos' appeal beyond sportfishing by opening a 9-hole course in San José. The second reason is that the Cabo area features some of the best winter weather in North America—Los Cabos doesn't experience even the occasional frigid winter possible in the southern United States. Green fairways dot the arid landscape like multiple oases in the desert. You will encounter many sublime views of the Sea of Cortez, and, on a few courses, play alongside it. Otherwise the motif is desert golf. The other strength of the area is that the overall quality of golf is quite high, with the likes of Tom Nicklaus, Robert Trent Jones II, Tom Weiskopf, Roy Dye, and Greg Norman applying their design talents here.
Cabo Real Golf Course. This visually attractive layout features spectacular views of the mountains and sea, as well as a challenging test. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., Cabo Real has straight and narrow fairways, difficult slopes, and strategically placed bunkers. The first six holes are in mountainous terrain, working their way up to 500 feet above sea level. The course then heads back to the water and eventually descends down to the Sea of Cortez by the 14th hole. Recovering from mistakes here can be quite difficult. In 2012, the back nine was redesigned by Jones with a new green on the 14th repositioned closer to the sea and the old 15th removed. Greens fee includes cart (walking is not permitted), water, practice balls, and towel. Taylormade clubs available to rent for $55. Hwy. 1, Km 19.5, San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur, 23400. 624/173–9400 or 877/795–8727. www.questrogolf.com. $235; $165 after 1:30 p.m. 18 holes, 6848 yards, par 71. Facilities: Practice range, putting green, snack bar, restaurant, golf carts, Taylormade rental clubs, $55.
Camp Campestre San José Golf Course. Here you are greeted by panoramic views stretching to the Sea of Cortez, canyons, and mountains on a Jack Nicklaus-design. This semi-private course also features dramatic elevation changes and undulating tricky multi-level putting surfaces. Attractive bunkering requires well-placed tee shots and very accurate iron play. They have used paspalum grass throughout the course that sets Camp Campestre among the best manicured in the region. The only downfall is that there are no holes on the water. Km. 119, Libramiento Aeropuerto, San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur. 877/795–8727 from U.S.; 624/173–9400. www.questrogolf.com. $140–$180. 18 holes, 7055 yards, par 71. Facilities: Carts, practice range, putting green, short-game area, restaurant, snack bar, rental clubs.
One&Only Palmilla Golf Course. Here you will encounter 27 holes of some of the best resort golf that Mexico has to offer. Crafted by Jack Nicklaus, it was his first work here. The Mountain and Arroyo Nines came first, with the Ocean Nine finished later. Generous target-style fairways wind their way through rugged mountainous desert terrain that is beautifully landscaped. The Ocean Nine drops 600 feet in elevation as you visit the edge of the Sea of Cortez, while the Mountain and Arroyo Nines are positioned higher and further back from the water. Many will remark that the stretch of 6 to 8 holes on the Arroyo Course is one of the best anywhere, while the 3rd through 5th holes really get your attention on the Mountain Course. No matter the combination of Nines, you won't feel cheated and the conditioning is usually excellent though expensive. Five sets of tees on every hole accommodate various skill levels. Hwy. 1, Km 7.5, San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur, 23400. 624/144–5250. www.palmillagc.com. $135–$210. 27 holes. Mountain Nine, 3602 yards; Ocean Nine, 3527 yards; Arroyo Nine, 3337 yards. All nines are par 36. Facilities: Practice range, putting green, lessons, beverage cart, limited restaurant, Callaway rental clubs.
Puerto Los Cabos Golf Course. This course features an unusual combination of one Nine designed by Jack Nicklaus and the other by Greg Norman. Eventually each will build a second line to make this into two separate courses. This does not detract from its appeal as this is one of the area's most popular courses for visitors. Nicklaus's Nine features more expansive driving areas whereas the Norman Nine puts more of a premium on driving accuracy. Both Nines feature attractive bunkering and paspalum putting surfaces. Paseo de los Pescadores, San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur, 23403. 624/173–9400, or 877/795–8727. www.questrogolf.com. $175–$250. 18 holes, 7461 yards, par 73. Facilities: Practice range, putting green, short-game area, carts, restaurant, rental clubs.
Punta Sur Golf Course. Los Cabos's original course opened in 1987. Of all the golf courses in the area, this one would be the "starter" golf course. The layout has wide fairways and few obstacles or slopes. It's fairly flat and good for beginners or as a warm-up. The 9-hole course is lined with residential properties (broken windows are not unusual). Some holes (particularly the 7th) have nice ocean views. Beware, you will find the three par-3's to be long and testing. The conditioning is average and this heavily played course does not take reservations as it is played on a first-come, first-served basis. It was designed by Mario Schjtanan and Joe Finger. Greens fees include cart. There's a swimming pool, tennis, and gym onsite. Paseao Finisterra, No.1, San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur, 23400. 624/142–0905. www.vidantagolf.com. $59 for 9 holes or $89 for 18. 9 holes, 3153 yards, par 35. 6 a.m.–6:30 p.m. Facilities: Putting green, short game area, hitting nets, carts, pull carts, men's and women's rental clubs ($30), shoe rentals, pro shop, golf lessons, bag storage, restaurant, bar, snack bar, swimming pool, tennis, gym.
Cabo del Sol Desert Course. The sister to the Ocean Course, the Desert Course designed by Tom Weiskopf sits on the other side of the Corridor away from the water and features an inland desert motif complete with artistic bunkering. Don't be fooled; the layout here is still very good. The Desert Course is very playable, yet from the back tees it may be even harder than the Ocean Course. The attractive layout includes one of the area's longest par-5 holes at 625 yards. Taylormade rental clubs are available for $65. Special rates are available if you play both this and the Cabo del Sol Ocean Course. Hwy. 1, Km 10.3, Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, 23410. 624/145–8200. www.cabodelsol.com. $220–$365. 18 holes, 7049 yards, par 72. Facilities: Practice range, putting green, short game area, golf carts, men's & women's lounge with showers, golf shop, beverage cart, snack bar, restaurant, lessons, club storage, rental clubs Taylormade $65.
Cabo del Sol Ocean Course. The Ocean Course has been named one of the top courses in the world by numerous publications as it combines the best of ocean and desert golf. Designer Jack Nicklaus brags that it has the best three finishing holes in the world. On the par-3 17th hole, you drive over an ocean inlet with waves crashing below. The par-4 18th hole is a mirror image of the 18th at Pebble Beach, California. Seven holes are seaside, with the 5th and 17th named as one of the "Top 500 Holes in the World" by Golf World. Taylormade clubs are available to rent for $65.The Ocean Course is easily the priciest public-access course in the region, but is generally considered to be the best. Hwy 1, Km 10.3, Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, 23410. 624/145–8200. www.cabodelsol.com.. $255–$365. 18 holes, 7091 yards, par 72. Facilities: practice range, putting green, short game area, golf carts, men's & women's lounge with showers, golf shop, beverage cart, snack bar, restaurant, lessons, club storage, rental clubs Taylormade $65.