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Quivira Golf Course: A Baja Golf Thrill Ride

By Tim Cotroneo

Our group had just finished putting out on Quivira Golf Course’s 13th hole when it happened. My playing partner pointed toward the Pacific Ocean and yelled, “Look at that!”

Dozens of stingrays were jumping and clapping on the ocean surface. It was almost as if they were congratulating my golf mate for his up and down from the sand trap. 

We had spotted two humpback whales earlier in our round, but they were like specs in the distance. This aquatic phenomenon was more up close and personal. The stingrays were dancing about 100-yards out from the 13th hole putting green. It felt like we were witnessing the stingray version of a Cirque du Soleil performance.

Quivira – The Drama Builds

Let’s back up and start at the beginning. Even before your round, the Jack Nicklaus-designed Quivira Golf Course delivers major clues that something special may occur. The Steakhouse & 19th Hole Bar next to the pro shop grabs you with a first glimpse of the ocean as a backdrop. You make a mental note that following your round it would be a shame to not reconnect with this amazing patio view.

When you head to the driving range you are again swept away by the ocean’s magnificence to your right. Straight ahead, you warm up by hitting golf balls into a view framed by a mountain range that would make a National Geographic photographer drool. 

Service is 5-star at Quivira. While practicing, you glance back and notice an attendant is quietly cleaning off the wedge you just finished hitting. For those looking to rent clubs, Quivira carries the latest edition of Taylor Made woods, irons, and putters.  

Front nine – Stairway to Heaven

After a couple of ocean glimpses on holes one through four, the trek to the 5th hole tee box is the stuff of legends. Set your watch, you’re driving your golf cart for just under five minutes as you launch straight up the mountainside.

It is worth the wait, because before teeing it up on the 310-yard, Par 4, 5th hole, there are refreshments and a spectacular view to be had. That’s right, Quivira offers up a comfort station with a fully stocked bar and tasty morning appetizers. For those who crave dessert, the comfort station delivers a delicious view – a panoramic wall-to-wall seascape of the Pacific Ocean. This is an only in the Baja kind of moment.

Whether your choice of liquid courage is a Mango Margarita, a Bay Breeze, or a top-shelf double shot of Posadas tequila, steel yourself for the upcoming tee shot. The 5th hole is an Instagram and YouTube favorite with its death-defying cliff and ocean view to your left. What this hole lacks in length, it more than makes up for it with the steepest right to left incline. Even a simple greenside chip is a test of your nerves on this beautiful Par 4.

Follow the Lighthouse to the Good Life

As you begin transitioning from the front nine to back nine, you ask about the lighthouse located between the 8th and 9th holes. In Spanish, it’s called El Faro Viejo. You learn it was built in 1905, and it’s the southern Baja’s oldest standing structure. The vertical fortress also serves as the symbol for Quivira Los Cabos’ newest luxurious private home development which is currently under construction.

Yet another comfort station greets golfers at the Par 5, 554-yard, 10th hole. You ask the bartender for the Spanish words for “good life.” He responds with a smile and replies, “Buena Vida.” You drain a cold Pacifica cerveza and ponder that Quivira is as Buena Vida as it gets.

Quivira’s back nine returns to the ocean with the massive zigzagging 625-yard 12th hole. After a well-placed tee shot to avoid the fairway bunkers on the right, your second shot soars down a Paspalum ski slope pummeling straight down to the Pacific Ocean. The green is tucked left behind a bunker. After holing out, you notice two spear fishermen doing their thing along the shoreline below. Could this be the fresh catch on tonight’s dinner menu?

Butterflies, Boulders, and Best Golf Moment

At the Par 4, 493-yard 17th hole, you’ll find a final comfort station. This alfresco watering hole is the perfect venue for quenching your thirst and admiring another elevated epic view. To your right, you notice a family of Monarch butterflies hovering overhead. The bartender shares that in Mexican culture, butterflies are believed to be ancestors communicating comfort, hope, and positivity. On this poignant thought, you reflect that your Quivira experience has been all this and more. 

As you approach your second shot, you encounter a pile of boulders stacked precariously on top of one another. You learn that during Quivira’s construction and layout, Nicklaus chose to maintain this statuesque boulder formation. You couldn’t agree more with Jack’s decision to embrace Los Cabos’ natural beauty. Jack rocks!

After shaking hands with your playing partners on the 18th green, in chorus your foursome chimes that Quivira was a special golf experience. As you look out at the Pacific, you wonder if the sting rays will perform again. Then you realize that your 13th hole marine moment was just like Nicklaus’ Quivira … one of a kind!