The lush scenery at most of Mexico's more than 120 golf courses will make it hard for you to concentrate on your golf game. Mexico has become a golfer's paradise. The weather and scenery are ideal in both the Pacific coastal area and the temperate central highlands. Here, golf is a year-round sport, with many exciting and challenging courses laid out by top-name designers.
With the opening of challenging world-class golf clubs in Mexico in the last decade, new standards have been set in integrating spectacular settings with challenging golf and first-class amenities. Several championship courses, including the target-style desert layout of the Palmilla Golf Club in Los Cabos, designed by Jack Nicklaus, offer lush landscapes, breathtaking scenery, and challenges at each hole. Consisting of three sets of nine — Arroyo, Mountain, and Ocean — he course sits beautifully in the mountains, its rough areas dotted with 400-year-old cardon cacti, and every hole has a view of the Sea of Cortés.
Two dramatic seaside holes and three outstanding mountain holes are the signature holes of the Cabo Real Resort Golf Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones. Situated midway between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose along the corridor at the Melia Cabo Real Hotel, it features a flower-bedecked rolling green course, in contrast to Nicklaus' desert ones. Staggered tees put the holes within reach of average golfers. Campo de Golf Los Cabos, the original nine-hole local course in San Jose del Cabo, will also offer you a challenging round of play. Further north in Ensenada, the Bajamar resort community boasts two eighteen-hole championship courses, both designed in the classic Scottish links style.
The eighteen-hole Cabo del Sol golf course in Los Cabos features seven oceanside holes, more than any other course in Mexico.
The first resort golf course in Mexico was Club de Golf Cancún Pok-Ta-Pok, a rolling course laid out between the beach and the lagoon on a stretch of flat sand. Cancún also has several new resort courses, including the Hilton Resort's eighteen-hole course, set on landfill next to the lagoon. Fairways are slow due to the special grass needed to cover them. An alligator lives in the water hazard on the fifteenth hole. The Hotel Melia Cancún also offers twenty-seven holes of championship golf.
You'll also find some spectacular courses at the Pacific Coast resorts. Mazatlán offers both an eighteen-hole course at the El Cid Golf and Country Club and a twenty-seven-hole course as a part of its marina development.
Ixtapa's Palma Real course features fairways and greens butting right up against the beach. This course will test your golfing skills with rolling expanses of fairways and greens rimmed with tall coconut palms and dotted with water holes and three lakes with resident alligators. The eighteen-hole Ixtapa Marina Club de Golf, designed by Robert Von Hagge, is a links-style course with a challenging maze of hills and water hazards that will force you to use all your golfing skills.
If you're headed to Puerto Vallarta, the Los Flamingos Golf Club offers a chance to follow through on a movie star or two. This eighteen-hole course is located eight miles north of the airport near some fine hotels. Another resort course crowns the Marina Vallarta development. If you're new to golf, its open undulating fairways offer a wide berth for those wayward shots.
Manzanillo is home to the world-famous La Mantarraya Golf Links at Las Hadas. This lush eighteen-hole course meanders past lagoons, canals, palm trees, and various forms of wildlife. For sheer beauty, as well as difficulty, few courses in Mexico come close to it.
Acapulco boasts two magnificent courses at the Princess and Pierre Marques Hotels. The first features water on twelve of its eighteen holes, while the second features water on thirteen holes and is extremely well bunkered. You'll also find a good public eighteen-hole course along the main boulevard by the beach in town.
If you're going to play golf during the summer, be sure to bring mosquito repellent. The little buggers can be particularly nasty in early evening on most tropical courses.