Every hole on every course has something special to offer. On many courses, the breath-taking backdrop of the Sea of Cortes will compete for your attention.
Here is a roundup of all the courses that await you in Los Cabos.
The Raven Golf Club
Situated a few miles outside Cabo San Lucas, The Raven Golf Club sits on 745 acres of prime real estate and is the only course with a view of Land’s End. After being shaken but not stirred by Hurricane Juliette in 2001, The Raven has rebounded and now averages 35,500 rounds of golf each year. With plenty of the course’s namesakes circling overhead, golfers will appreciate not only the array of flora and fauna, but also the exquisite beauty of this course. The two top handicap holes are numbers five and 16. Hole five is a 446-yard, par 4 with a serious dogleg right and gentle uphill slope. The green has forward sand bunkers both left and right, along with a water hazard to the left and rear of the green.
According to The Raven’s Director of Golf Eric Grindereng, hole 13, a par-5, 539-yarder, is the course’s signature hole. However, it’s the final hole on the course where you will want to stop and savor the moment, or maybe even snap a photo before approaching your second shot. It’s from this vantage point that you will appreciate the unique vista of Los Cabos that includes Land’s End and the Sea of Cortes.
Cabo del Sol—The Ocean Course
Named one of the top 100 courses in the world by Golf Magazine for 10 years running (1995-2004), Cabo del Sol—The Ocean Course is a masterpiece of perfection. The Jack Nicklaus signature design features 1.5 miles of oceanfront. With seven holes directly on the coastline, this gem of a setting is often referred to as the “Pebble Beach of Baja.”
The fourth hole is the longest on the front nine, playing 568 yards from the tips, while holes six and seven are back-to-back par 3s at 190 and 207 yards, respectively. Local Realtor Chris Snell calls Cabo del Sol – The Ocean Course his favorite track in Los Cabos. “This is simply a phenomenal golf course,” he says.
Cabo del Sol—The Desert Course
Opening its doors in late 2002, Cabo del Sol—The Desert Course was designed by Tom Weiskopf. This target-style golf experience with sloping fairways offers plenty of bunkers that will challenge the skill levels of all golfers. The canyon-like arroyos and a variety of colorful foliage create a visually appealing golf experience in a setting that blends the desert and the ocean.
Weiskopf deliberately designed The Desert Course with one thing in mind: Sea of Cortes views from every hole. With the overall course length varying from 5,300 to 7,100 yards, The Desert Course offers a little something for everyone.
Cabo Real Golf Club
Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. and opened in 1994, the magnificent Cabo Real Golf Club, offering 7,000 yards of verdant landscape, is a testament to Mother Nature’s handiwork. The three picturesque oceanfront holes will compete for your attention, especially when whales put on a breaching show just offshore, like they did during the 1996 PGA Senior Slam Tournament. Cabo Real also hosted the 1999 Senior Slam.
According to Director of Golf Federico Vaughn, Cabo Real is in the process of upgrading all of its services. For example, locker rooms and showers will soon be added, and the clubhouse is being upgraded and expanded. The parking lot will be paved, with parts of it covered, and the vehicle arrival area will be dramatically altered with the addition of a bridge. “We hope to offer the best quality in every aspect of our club,” says Vaughn.
The marshal, the course official who gently keeps golfers on track and on time, is not called a marshal at the Cabo Real. Rather, a customer service rep will remind you to speed up play, or assist you in any way needed.
This is one aspect of golfing in Los Cabos that visitors will appreciate. All of the courses have upped the ante regarding customer service. They go the extra kilometer to ensure you enjoy your round of golf; they want you to return over and over again. With great scenery, great golf courses coupled with great customer service, it would be hard not to return over and over again.
Another little known fact is the amount of care and water that goes into keeping these courses in tiptop shape. During summer months, it takes an incredible 800,000 to 1 million gallons of water a day to properly irrigate a course in Los Cabos. During the winter months, it only takes a modest 300,000 gallons on average to irrigate a course. So where does the water come from? Vaughn explained that at the Cabo Real, they capture gray water from the hotels, treat it and then use it for irrigation. Whether it’s the Cabo Real, The Raven or any other course in Los Cabos, the same care is given to all.
Palmilla Golf Resort
The Palmilla Golf Resort has the distinction of being the only 27-hole golf course in Los Cabos. The unique blending of desert and sea features the Arroyo Nine, the Mountain Nine and the Ocean Nine. Many of the holes have a view of the sparkling Sea of Cortes. Opened in 1992, this was Jack Nicklaus’ first signature course design project in Latin America.
This 27-hole course is perched on deep-canyon arroyos and sits among century-old cardon cacti. The daily trade winds enhance the atmosphere, while the course challenges even the most experienced players. Gentle slopes, wide fairways and large greens greet players from the back tees. Diverse in length and enhanced by several water and sand hazards, the mountain holes are as beautiful as they are challenging.
A Mexican décor clubhouse, onsite pro shop and friendly staff complement this charming golf course.
Mayan Country Club Los Cabos
The former San Jose Municipal Golf Course has a new name and a new look. The Mayan Country Club Los Cabos just sounds like a great golf course—and, it is. Now part of Mayan Resorts, the Mayan Country Club Los Cabos officially opened in November 2004.
This nine-hole, par-35 course measures 3,153 yards and is semi-flat. But don’t be fooled, there are some challenging holes. For example, on the 540-yard, par-5 third hole, you tee off over a lake, and then are treated to a wide-open fairway that has a serious dogleg left. And finally, the green is guarded by four sand traps.
Likewise, the fifth hole, a 518-yard, par 5, has a green that lies above the fairway, making all approach shots risky and complicated. The course’s signature hole and No. 1 handicap is the 431-yard, par-4 number seven that has a sharp dogleg left.
Golfers need to be aware when driving a cart at the Mayan Country Club Los Cabos that the course crosses over public streets at three locations.
Prior to a round, golfers can warm up on the driving range and practice green. There’s also a lavish pro shop offering the best brands and a variety of essential golf products.
One really nice touch to this public course is the addition of Thadashi, a restaurant that offers a remarkable fusion cuisine combining exotic Asian cooking and traditional Mexican dishes.
Villas de Cortez Golf Course
In East Cape, about an hour’s drive north of the Los Cabos International Airport, officials at the Hotel Palmas de Cortez have opened a nine-hole, executive par-3 course that’s sure to be a hit with newcomers to the sport, or those wishing to work on their short game.
Measuring a total of 1,200 yards, the Villas de Cortez Golf Course opened in late July on a former airstrip runway, explains Eddie Dalmau, office manager of the Van Wormer Company, which owns a string of hotels in Baja.
The course cost about $1.8 million to build, and uses the resort’s gray water for irrigation, after it’s treated, of course.
Features of the course, whose holes range from 55 yards to 115 yards, include several sand traps and water hazards, and two tee boxes, the whites for nine holes and the blues for playing 18. Green fees are the best in Los Cabos: $20 for nine holes.
El Dorado Golf Club and Querencia Golf Club
Though fantastic golf courses in their own right, unfortunately these two are private and not open to the general public. However, if you have connections and the opportunity to play either or both, they are wonderful golfing experiences!
Rick Stedman is an avid RVer, golfer and writer who lives in Yakima, Washington. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org