Cabo’s world-class golf scene recovers after business pandemic
The opening of the Rancho San Lucas Golf Club was a big deal.
Course architect Greg Norman, owner Francisco ‘Paco’ Bulnes and dignitaries from across Baja California were on hand to celebrate the spectacular course along the Pacific Ocean. Gourmet food stations lined the courtyard as various local musicians performed on different stages for a few hundred guests.
Capping the night was a full Journey concert, with a 4th of July fireworks show during the encore.
Three weeks later, Rancho San Lucas, along with the rest of the world, closed its doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It was a tough first year for sure,” said Rancho San Lucas Golf Director Brad Wheatley.
Now that the pandemic has finally subsided, Cabo is on the road to normalcy, just like one of the best golf getaways in the world.
The tip of Baja California, made up of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, started with two courses in the early 1990s and has grown into a must-see destination.
The peninsula is dotted with 18 courses, each as spectacular as the next, with several more in preparation.
Some of the world’s most renowned architects have designed courses in Cabo, including Robert Trent Jones, Tom Fazio, Jack Nicklaus, and Tom Weiskopf. Tiger Woods and Fred Couples also have designs in Cabo.
The courses are meticulously maintained with views of the Pacific Ocean or the Sea of Cortez on nearly every hole, and the weather is almost always mild.
Most green fees aren’t cheap – some are between $ 350 and $ 400 – but the lessons and experience are well worth it.
“Los Cabos is one of the great golfing cities of the world,” said Wheatley, who has been involved with Cabo golf for 30 years. “There is as much high quality and championship golf as there is anywhere in the world.”
The Greg Norman Course at Rancho San Lucas is part of a spectacular 834-acre lot that includes the luxurious Grand Solmar Resort & Spa with a residential community of hacienda-style homes and skyscrapers overlooking the ocean.
Located above the beach along the Pacific, the course has three distinct ecosystems: six holes through the dunes, six through the desert, six in a semi-mountainous area.
“I don’t know a lot of places in the world where you can stop golfing to watch the whales jump 500 feet out to sea,” Norman said.
Cabo Del Sol is located in an 1,800-acre community along the Los Cabos Corridor that includes two golf courses, a beach club, four hotels – another is on the way – hospitality sites and villas.
The Desert Course, designed by Weiskopf, winds through arroyos and canyon-like desert landscapes, with mountain and ocean views. The Cove Club, designed by Nicklaus, stretches for a mile along the Sea of Cortez with oceanfront holes golfers won’t soon forget.
The Desert Course received a makeover during the pandemic, and the Cove Club, formerly the Ocean Course, recently became private to residents and hotel guests.
“The desert course is obviously a Weiskopf course with great views throughout, and conditions improved significantly from March,” said Erin Dixon, vice president of sales at Cabo Del Sol. “On both courses I think golfers will see more color than years past in terms of planting and cleaning around the holes.”
Cabo is known as a place to relax, but the atmosphere on the course is colder.
Serious players can finish their rounds at a good pace, but there is also the option of stopping to watch whales during the winter or linger at one of the many “ comfort stations ” then that several groups play.
And these stations, wow.
It’s not like the hot-dog-and-soda stopovers in the United States. We’re talking tamales, tacos, grilled fresh fish, freshly packaged snacks, and nearly full bars. “It’s definitely not what you’ll see in the United States,” said Peter Carlton, president of Oakmont Corporation and chief executive of Cabo Del Sol.
Golf in Cabo was mostly local last summer, during the pandemic, before tourists started arriving again during the holidays. It has steadily resumed – spring break was busy – and is returning to pre-pandemic levels.
“Cabo is making a quick comeback,” said Wheatley.
Returning to being a premier golf destination.