Cabo Del Sol, Grand Solmar, One&Only Palmilla, and Quivira garner accolades
Four leading resorts in Los Cabos, the undisputed ‘Golf Capital of Latin America,’ have received a 2022 Editors’ Choice Award from Golf Digest in the ‘Best Golf Resorts in Mexico & Central America’ category.
“This is Year 7 of our annual Editors’ Choice Awards package, offering once again an assortment of products that can help golfers play better, smarter and healthier in 2022,” the magazine stated. “Additionally, we also recognize top destinations and travel-related services in hopes that golf trips will be something we can all enjoy again.
“Golfers dream big,” the awards report continued. ”We all want to play the greatest courses and stay in the most luxurious hotels and inns, and when our thoughts drift to where we might travel, we often settle on the legendary destinations.”
That includes Los Cabos, the dazzling Land’s End getaway at the tip of the Baja Peninsula that claimed four of the eight spots in its bracket, more than any other destination in Mexico & Central America.
Heading the winner’s list is Cabo Del Sol, the 36-hole facility credited with putting Los Cabos on the international golf map when its Ocean Course debuted in 1994. Renamed the Cove Club and reopened in 2019 with new holes, rebuilt bunkers, improved playing surfaces and a new landscape scheme, the layout occupies what course designer Jack Nicklaus once described as “the best golf property I’ve ever seen.” Holes stretch across a stunning desert landscape touched by the Sea of Cortes and framed by rugged mountains. Tall cardon cacti and tawny granite outcrops stake out the fairways and greens. Comfort stations on both nines offer Mexican specialties and ice-cold refreshments. The Cove Club is now a members-only facility.
Cabo Del Sol’s second venue is the Desert Course, a Tom Weiskopf design circa 2001 that scales craggy desert foothills crisscrossed by canyon-like arroyos, with an ocean view from every hole. Modified for real estate development, the current 12-hole course, in play through early November, offers an enticing blend of long and short holes as well as numerous risk-reward options. Broad fairways framed by granite rock outcrops and large sculpted bunkers characterize the design.
Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design has been retained to build several new holes in rugged terrain north of the existing layout, which will be known as Cabo Del Sol Golf Club when it reopens. It will function as ‘resort private,’ with course access available to guests of the on-site Hacienda del Mar and Grand Fiesta Americana hotels. Fry/Straka will remodel pre-existing holes to match the design style of their new creations. Final completion of the $15 million course makeover is expected by 2024.
Also receiving a 2022 Editors’ Choice Award is Grand Solmar at Rancho San Lucas. Centerpiece of an 834-acre resort and residential community set in a thick cactus forest that transitions to sand hills and the sea, the development’s hotel is walking distance from a Greg Norman Signature course opened in 2020. Known for his ‘least-disturbance’ design approach, Norman created a low-profile, links-style layout at Rancho San Lucas. Earthmoving was kept to a minimum: the site’s native contours were retained. Spanning three different ecosystems, the 7,210-yard layout rambles through huge windswept dunes, climbs through groves of giant cardon cacti creased by winding arroyos, and returns players to the dunes at the finish. The layout’s defining feature is its revetted pot bunkers. These steep-walled sandy pits were constructed from recycled artificial turf and are nearly identical to the natural sod-walled bunkers found on British links courses.
In addition to a pair of on-course comfort stations, a handsome ranchero-style clubhouse overlooks the fairways and sea. Rancho San Lucas is a private club with access available to guests of Solmar Group hotels, including the on-site Grand Solmar at Rancho San Lucas Resort.
One&Only Palmilla earns its moniker as the “Grande Dame” of Los Cabos. Palmilla Golf Club, the first Jack Nicklaus Signature course in Latin America, is located five minutes from a legendary hideaway built in 1956 by the son of a former president of Mexico. The glamour and ambience of the original resort was carefully preserved at One&Only Palmilla, which reopened in 2004 following a $90 million expansion and refurbishment. This ultra-luxe property, continuously upgraded to retain its iconic status, is set on a rocky promontory that juts into the Sea of Cortes, its protected sandy coves fronting azure-blue waters calm enough for swimming. The hotel is a perennial favorite of Hollywood A-listers.
Palmilla’s Mountain and Arroyo nines, chiseled into in a box-shaped canyon walled in by steep stony peaks, set the stage for top-shelf golf in Los Cabos when the core 18 opened in 1992. Routed around boulder-strewn arroyos and cactus-covered foothills, Palmilla was the first course in the hemisphere to partake of Cabo’s unique mountain, desert and ocean ecosystem. Tournament-tough from the tips, the layout’s wide fairways and open-entry greens accommodate players of lesser attainment. The club’s Ocean nine, featuring a 600-foot elevation change that carries players from the mountains to the sea, opened in 1999.
The final Editors’ Choice Award was claimed by Quivira Golf Club, a spectacular layout grafted onto a jaw-dropping site at the exact place where the Sea of Cortes meets the Pacific Ocean. Arguably the most daring and eclectic course Jack Nicklaus has ever built, Quivira, his sixth design in Los Cabos, is an engineering marvel that presents an unforgettable test from any set of tees.
Highlighted by risk-reward options and breathtaking drops from tee to fairway, Quivira offers more oceanfront exposure than any other course in Los Cabos. This breezy, multi-themed layout starts at sea level, climbs the face of a mountain, tiptoes along sheer granite cliffs, zigzags through massive sloping dunes, and ambles across rolling desert foothills. A Nicklaus favorite is the short par-4 fifth hole, its slanted fairway wedged between a shouldering dune on the right and a vertical cliff on the left 275 feet above the tossing sea. The target is a semi-blind, cliff-hanging green tucked well below the fairway.
An all-inclusive facility, Quivira serves Mexican fare and refreshments at four comfort stations, including the open-air Oasis set above the eighth green. The private club is accessible to guests of Pueblo Bonito Golf & Spa Resorts’ five properties. Golfers gravitate to the nearby Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf & Spa Resort, a deluxe adults-only beachfront property where the accommodations, spa and dining options are exceptional.
All Editors’ Choice Awards winners are currently featured: Here at Editors Choice
Saludos from Co-Founders…
Chris Sands – Writer and Michael Mattos