By Dave McKibben
There is a fast-play movement afoot in the sport of golf—15-hole courses, shorter times to find lost balls, maximum scores per hole and time limits per stroke. But that movement hasn’t gained much traction at the Quivira Golf Club in Los Cabos, an epic Jack Nicklaus design marked by massive sand dunes, sheer cliffs, rolling foothills and jaw-dropping views of the Pacific Ocean. The official pace of play on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula is five hours, 5½-hour rounds are common.
“Golf here in Cabo has become a very unique experience,” said Antonio Reynante, Quivira’s director of golf. “People know they’re not going to play as fast as they would on their local course. The vibe is different and since we have a lot of heat in the summertime, it’s always good to have some refreshment areas and that’s the spirit of the comfort stations.”
Comfort stations, which rose to popularity in the 1940s and 1950s at Mexican Country Clubs, are strategically sprinkled around Quivira, giving players a compelling reason to pause or reset their round. The four refreshment stations are included in the green fees, which range from $233 to $380, depending on the season and time of day. A fifth comfort station may be in the works on the back nine.
The most remote and stunning comfort station, “The Cliffs,” is perched atop a cliff that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and the Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf & Spa Resort. The adventurous 10-minute trek from the fourth green up the side of a mountain along a narrow cart path is well worth it.
What awaits golfers who need a break from the Cabo heat and Quivira’s tight fairways, tricky greens and blind approach shots is a small restaurant packed with croissant sandwiches, breakfast burritos, fresh fruit and brownies. The bar is stocked with high-end tequila, an assortment of cervezas and bottled waters. While sipping a mango margarita, you can check out the jumping manta rays show in the ocean, some 300 feet below.
“We get a lot of ‘unbelievable,’ ‘breathtaking’ and ‘spectacular’ comments from golfers the first time they experience it,” Reynante said. “What I love about the comfort stations is you can literally have a sit-down lunch experience while you’re playing, rather than having a hot dog in your golf cart from an ugly beverage cart.”
A halfway house situated near the eighth green, called the “Oasis” showcases the culinary talents of the resort’s chefs, with flavorful, inventive takes on regional Baja cuisine. In addition, a full bar features Blanco, reposado and anejo tequilas. Players can refresh themselves a final time at the “Cañada” comfort station, next to the 16th tee, which sits high above the course and marks the layout’s return home.
The semi-private Quivira course, 15 minutes from downtown Cabo San Lucas, is available only to Pueblo Bonito resort guests and homeowners in the Quivira Los Cabos Community. Debuting in 2014, Quivira quickly established itself as one of the elite courses in Mexico and the world–Golf Digest included it in its list of the “World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses.”
The golf course isn’t the only spot at the Pueblo Bonito Resort & Spa where comfort can be found.
The Pueblo Bonito Pacifica, located on a mile stretch of pristine beach on the Pacific Ocean is a tranquil and romantic retreat for adults that offers full-service amenities and facilities, including four restaurants, a wellness-inspired spa, a large pool with a swim-up bar and a butler. The butler manages check-in and check-out, arranges dinner reservations, spa treatments and can order specialty items for your mini bar. The property also features a luxury all-inclusive plan that includes not only Pacifica’s four restaurants, but also the restaurants at three sister resorts in Cabo San Lucas.
It wasn’t that long ago that San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas were known more for sport fishing than golf. But thanks to an abundance of prime real estate along the Sea of Cortez and Pacific Ocean and imaginative layouts by legendary golfers-turned architects such as Nicklaus, Davis Love III, Greg Norman and Tiger Woods, Cabo is now clearly a golfer’s paradise.
And it won’t be long before Quivira golfers will have another place to play. A second course, another Nicklaus signature design, will break ground in the fall and is scheduled to open in mid-2024.
Reynante said the second course promises to be less challenging than the first course. “The land is more gentle, so the slope will be easier,” he said. “The first course has a lot of exposure to the Pacific Ocean breezes. The second course will be protected by the mountain of the new lighthouse from the strong winds. The fairways will be wider, so people can really go after it.”
In April, Pueblo Bonito announced the formation of a new brand—Pueblo Bonito Vantage, for the discerning, experienced traveler who seeks superior service, high-end design and unique experiences. Vantage will include upscale accommodations, oversized suites, enhanced amenities, superior service and authentic experiences. The first property to represent the new brand, the Pueblo Bonito Vantage San Miguel de Allende, is scheduled to open during the first half of next year.