Golfweek’s Ultimate Guide to Golf Course Living and Great Escapes has been released, and once again Los Cabos shines on the magazine’s roster of the ‘Top 50 Mexico, Caribbean, Atlantic Islands and Central America’ courses.
Thirteen golf facilities in Los Cabos, the dazzling Land’s End destination at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, appear on the updated 2022 list, with seven courses in the top 20. In addition, TPC Danzante Bay, an outstanding seaside venue in Loreto, a marine sanctuary north of Los Cabos, was voted to the No. 12 spot on the roster.
According to the publication, “The hundreds of members of our course-ratings panel continually evaluate courses and rate them based on our 10 criteria. They also file a single, overall rating on each course. Those overall ratings on each course are averaged to produce a final, cumulative rating. Then each course is ranked against other courses in the region.” The list focuses on the golf courses themselves, not the resorts as a whole or other amenities.
Commanding the No. 2 position on Golfweek’s list is Diamante (Dunes Course), the flagship of a 1,500-acre private resort community on the destination’s Pacific coast. Opened in 2009, the Dunes Course is a 7,022-yard behemoth carved by Davis Love III into massive rolling dunes set back from the ocean. This windswept, topsy-turvy links, renowned for its risk-reward options and spectacular views, rambles past big blowout bunkers and towering sand hills on its journey to and from the sea. Guests of the on-site Nobu Hotel and Hard Rock Hotel enjoy exclusive access to the Dunes Course, subject to availability.
Cabo del Sol (Cove Club), ranked No. 11 and formerly known as the Ocean Course, is the pioneering layout that put Los Cabos on the international golf map when it opened in 1994. Intent on producing the ‘Pebble Beach of the Baja’ on what he described as “the best piece of golf property I’ve ever seen,” designer Jack Nicklaus charted holes across sloping desert terrain creased by sandy arroyos and framed by granite outcrops. Nicklaus returned in 2019 to create a handful of new holes at the renamed Cove Club (now private). The revised layout, which visits the sea on both nines, has upgraded playing surfaces, restyled bunkers and new landscaping.
Chileno Bay (No. 13), a splendid Tom Fazio-designed golf course marked by graceful, flowing landforms intended to simulate rolling ocean waves, benefitted from a makeover by Discovery Land Co. that introduced colorful vegetation and bright white sand in its formal bunkers. The immaculately-groomed course, routed through rolling desert foothills and interlaced with sandy arroyos, features interior mountain vistas and a sea view from every hole. The otherwise-private club is accessible to guests of Chileno Bay Resort & Residences (Auberge Resorts).
Tied with Chileno Bay at No. 13 is Querencia, a private 1,800-acre golf community anchored by a solid Tom Fazio-designed course. Known for its slick, multi-tiered greens, Querencia, set in desert foothills high above the sea, takes players on a roller-coaster ride around and across steep hills. Several holes skirt the edges of deep canyons and rocky arroyos. Fazio’s attention to detail is evident at every turn at Querencia, with palm trees and lush vegetation blended with the native desert border on this challenging yet playable course.
Opened in 2020, the Greg Norman-designed course at Rancho San Lucas (No. 16) spans three different ecosystems, rambling through windswept dunes at the start, climbing through a cactus forest bisected by arroyos, and returning players to the beach and sea on the back nine. Known for his ‘least-disturbance’ approach, Norman throttled back the bulldozers to retain the site’s native contours. Steep-walled pot bunkers constructed from recycled artificial turf dot the breezy, links-style course. The club is accessible to guests of Solmar Group hotels, including the on-site Grand Solmar at Rancho San Lucas Resort.
Originally built as a resort course in 1999, El Dorado Golf & Beach Club (No. 18) is now a private resort community under the aegis of Discovery Land Co. The Jack Nicklaus-designed layout, featuring rolling saddled fairways, huge bunker complexes and picturesque green sites, meanders through a pair of stark canyons divided by a huge rocky hill. Bristling desert vegetation, dramatic rock formations and four interior lakes flank the fairways, with water in play at several holes. The club’s par-3 16th hole is set directly above the beach.
Twin Dolphin (No. 20) occupies a superb parcel along the corridor linking the towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. Centerpiece of a 1,400-acre master-planned community, the golf course, opened in 2018, was built by Fred Couples and Todd Eckenrode of Origins Golf Design. Stretched across a broad sloping plateau notched by three major arroyos high above the sea, the layout is known for its firm, fast conditions, dramatic rock outcrops and panoramic ocean views. Twin Dolphin is a private club accessible to guests of Montage Los Cabos, a resort hotel on Santa Maria Bay; as well as the Montage Residences.
The other Los Cabos courses voted to Golfweek’s Top 50 roster include Diamante – El Cardonal (T-33), Quivira (T-33), Puerto Los Cabos – Norman/Nicklaus (No. 36), Costa Palmas (No. 40), Cabo del Sol – Desert (No. 41), and Cabo Real (No. 47).