A new Course has moved into my Top 5 in the World
In a land known to be drenched in Tequila and margaritas, the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula is where you will find the seaside municipality of Los Cabos, where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean. Also drenched with about 320 days of sunshine per year and an average temperature of 24 degrees C or 78F it is considered as one of the sunniest locations in the world.
It was my first visit to Mexico’s bucket list destination or at least for golfers it should be a bucket list! The area encompasses two towns that to the naked eye may appear similar, Cabo San Lucas where you will find all the nightlife that you could ever imagine and at the other end is San Jose del Cabo which is a little more reserved. The communities are linked by an unofficial resort corridor where I planted myself at two neighboring properties, Hacienda Del Mar a villa style property (time sharing) full kitchen and living room where friends can gather before moving to the distinctive and elegant Sheraton Grand Los Cabos.
Parked at either of the adjoining properties I was within a 3 minute shuttle ride to two world class courses at Cabo Del Sol, the Desert Course and the Ocean Course.
After playing a very impressive track for round one of our adventure, a good friend suggested, “It’s is only going to get better from here.”
My immediate remark “Yes! Margarita’s by the pool!”
“No you fool I meant the golf!” Truer words had never been spoken. Although all the courses that I set eyes upon were exceptional, Cabo Del Sol stands out. The Ocean Course at Cabo Del Sol provides WOW beyond compare and The Desert Course is likely the most underrated in the Baja Peninsula.
So the Desert Course does not have holes that butt up to the sea. It is an exceptional layout, and for those of you water lily’s there are ample panoramic views of the Sea of Cortez.
The Sierra de la Laguna Mountains provide a breathtaking backdrop for the first Tom Weiskopf signature design sculpted with natural surroundings, meandering arroyos (various sizes of dessert canyons) and desert foliage. Five sets of tees make it playable for all levels of golfers. Pick the wrong set and you will be faced with carries that you will not likely be able to handle.
Elevation changes and sloping fairways add to the challenge of what might be considered target style golf, throw in some waste bunkers, strategically placed ponds, some dramatic bunkering and before you know it, you are putting on some well-manicured and slightly undulating greens.
In Tom Weiskopf’s own words, “The natural beauty of the desert, mountain and ocean provides an ideal setting and some of the best terrain for golf anywhere in the world.”
It is pretty tough to break into my Top 5 in the World Courses but the Ocean Course, a Jack Nicklaus Signature design stretching for more than a mile along a coastline of craggy rock outcroppings and sun-washed shores of the Sea of Cortez, has done just that!
I am not sure if my shooting that day was better with my clubs or with my camera. I can’t tell you how many times I would finish my shot, club in bag, and pick up the camera.
The first four holes are great mountain/desert style holes with the 5th beginning your decent to the emerald blue waters. The anticipation begins and eyeballs are ready to pop. After your putt out on 5, you gaze all round for more sightings of boats and schooners before addressing the task at hand. Two dramatic back to back par 3’s, wind blowing and waves pounding the ragged rock outcroppings.
I was happy to make bogey into the wind, from almost being on the beach on 6 to a well-played par on 7 using the wind to bring the ball to about 10 feet – missed the bird!
Holes 8 through 15 Nicklaus masterfully takes you back up through the valley, providing a sultry combination of mountains and desert that entertain you until the closing trifecta.
Nicklaus himself says these are the “three finest finishing holes in all of golf.” The 5th and 17th have been ranked among “The 500 Best Holes in the World” says Golf Magazine.
16 begins the decent back to the sea, a testy 427 yard hole with a couple of hundred yards of carry off the tee. But you will love it when you get there! 17, a par 3 where you will be taking more than two shots for sure, one with your club and many more with your camera. All carry over a waste bunker with the green flanked by ocean right!
So, you always wanted to play the 18th at Pebble? The 18th at this Ocean Course is very similar just going in a different direction, ocean to the right and desert to the left. I almost birdied here. It was a day of many shots, so beautiful and such a great day, not a care in the world on this day! www.cabodelsol.com/content/index.html#
Sheraton Grand Los Cabos, Hacienda Del Mar and the Hacienda del Mar Los Cabos (time sharing) are two distinctive properties that share one of Mexico’s most pristine beaches, blending old world charm, modern style and unmatched service.
Sheraton Grand Los Cabos provides ambiance and excellence in service that Sheraton Grand offers. With one of the loveliest beaches plus Cabo del Sol right next door add a selection of six bars (including a swim up bar, bet you know where that is!) and restaurants to satisfy any pallet and you have found a happy place.
Designed in Mexican colonial style, luxurious rooms and suites feature Mexican furnishings, tile floors and showers, private terrace and Jacuzzi tubs. Restaurants, a couple of my favorites include: De Cortez, where guests can enjoy a gourmet contemporary cuisine au Grill while overlooking the ocean. Le Suerte, Tequila Bar that just happens to have Sushi – it was my evening appetizer and no better place to start you day than the breakfast buffet at Tomatoes. For the ultimate in relaxation check out the Cactus Spa, a sanctuary where healing hands guide the body, mind and soul. www.sheratonhaciendadelmar.com
At Hacienda del Mar Los Cabos the inviting suites are intertwined with beautifully landscaped gardens, tropical vegetation providing a desert oasis with true Mexican flare. Suites feature kitchens, living areas and Jacuzzis with paths from the suites leading to the bars by the sea.
A personal favorite and great place to start your pre evening festivities with a margarita or two was beachside at Tortugas Bar. Enjoy the sunset here – it does not get much better than this!
Girasoles de la Hacienda is a breakfast experience, with authentic Mexican flare. I honestly never thought I would have jalapenos for breakfast! www.haciendadelmar.com.mx
If Los Cabos has not been on your bucket list it should be!