More Courses Teed Up for Los Cabos, México’s Premier Golf Destination
As new hotel developments continue to be announced for Los Cabos, so too are plans for multiple additions to the region’s portfolio of world-class golf courses. As many as five new courses are expected to open within the next several years, adding to an impressive list that already includes more than a dozen world-class layouts, with designs from major champions like Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Tom Weiskopf, Davis Love III and Tiger Woods.
Nicklaus’ superb layouts at Palmilla, Cabo del Sol and El dorado kick-started the original Los Cabos golf boom in the 1990s, and the 18-time major champion has since added to his Los Cabos legend with gorgeous loops at Club Campestre, Puerto Los Cabos and Quivira Golf Club. Puerto Los Cabos was his only local collaboration, and the stunning layout outside San José del Cabo is still the world’s only composite design from Nicklaus and Norman.
That distinction will soon end, however. From the start, it was expected that The Golden Bear and Great White Shark (the nicknames for Nicklaus and Norman, respectively) would each return to expand their nine hole layouts into distinct and separate courses–Nicklaus’ as a venue for the Puerto Los Cabos development’s resort guests, Norman’s as a private club. That master plan is still in effect. Nicklaus is currently expanding his back-nine seaside Marina Course to a full 18-hole layout expected to premiere in 2016 (the timeline for expanding Norman’s front nine Mission Course has yet to be announced).
Norman is also involved in the design of a new course at Rancho San Lucas, a highly anticipated resort development taking shape along a secluded stretch of Pacific coast. According to Brad Wheatley, a project consultant, the layout, attached to a new Grand Solmar resort, will be carved into gently sloping terrain creased by deep arroyos and canyons, with six holes set in rolling dunes near the sea. “It’s a pretty piece of property with beautiful desert vegetation,” Wheatley said. Course construction at Rancho San Lucas is expected to begin this summer, with a 2016 opening anticipated.
Diamante, a 1,500-acre private resort community nestled on 1.5 miles of Pacific coastline six miles from downtown Cabo San Lucas, already has award-winning layouts by Davis Love III (Dunes Course) and Tiger Woods, whose El Cardonal course marked his design debut when it opened last year. Not content to rest on its laurels, Diamante will bring back Woods to build its third course, a parkland-style layout that is still in the early design stages. Tiger has also designed Diamante’s new executive course, which is expected to start construction this year.
Montage Hotels & Resorts, known for its portfolio of luxury properties in the U.S., is planning a 122-room hotel and 52 residences on Santa María Bay, which offers a lovely natural setting on a scenic and swimmable beach. The Montage Los Cabos originally intended to commission a course from smooth swinging champion Fred Couples. Instead, it has decided to go Cabo casual with a barefoot pitch-and-putt course, scheduled to debut in 2017.
Another new beachfront hotel in the works is VieVage Los Cabos, an Auberge Resorts property slated to open in 2016 (joining Esperanza as Auberge’s second local property). This boutique luxury resort, featuring guest suites and beach villas, will front a 2.5-mile stretch of coastline at Chileno Bay, a beautiful cove known for its protected beach and fish-rich waters.
VieVage Los Cabos guests will have exclusive access to the Tom Fazio designed golf course at Chileno Bay, a challenging layout routed in rolling desert foothills above the Sea of Cortés. Each hole on the 7,260-yard layout, which opened in 2013, has flowing contours intended to simulate rolling ocean waves. This well-balanced test, featuring Fazio’s trademark playability, is framed by large sculpted bunkers, broad sandy arroyos and groves of palo blanco trees.
Once these projects are completed–and stay tuned for more announcements–Los Cabos will boast by far the most impressive collection of golf courses in all of Latin America. Indeed, outside Scotland and perhaps Northern California, it’s hard to imagine another area on earth boasting as many world-class courses in such close proximity. Diamante’s Dunes Course and Cabo del Sol’s Ocean Course have both been rated among the 100 best courses in the world, Quivira was recently named the world’s best new international course by GOLF Magazine, and other awards and acclaim are sure to follow as new courses open.
As of this writing, there are a dozen 18-hole courses open (Puerto Los Cabos, Club Campestre, Querencia, El Dorado, Cabo Real, Chileno Bay, Cabo del Sol Ocean, Cabo del Sol Desert, Cabo San Lucas Country Club, Quivira, Diamante’s The Dunes Course, and El Cardonal at Diamante), 27-holes at Palmilla Golf Club, and a nine-hole layout at Punta Sur, the area’s first foray into golf when it opened as the San José del Cabo municipal course in 1987.