New Nicklaus course to open in Punta Mita next month

A new Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course is opening next month, so you may want to start planning immediately. On November 16, 2009, Nicklaus himself will hit the ceremonial first tee shot at the new Punta Mita Bahia golf course. This is the second of his courses at Punta Mita – he designed Punta Mita Pacifico, which opened in 1999. Both Bahia and Pacifico are part of the private Punta Mita Club de Golf and are reserved for Punta Mita homeowners and guests.

The new course is just shy of 30 miles from the Puerto Vallarta International Airport and is on a peninsula in the Pacific Ocean that boasts 9.5 miles of beach. So, even if you aren’t a golfer, there’s a reason to head out to Punta Mita. But, this really is a golfer’s escape. Five holes play along the ocean, and another two have views of the water. From December to April, you can get a great look at the humpback whale migration from the course.

“You would be hard-pressed to ask for a more beautiful backdrop for a golf course than Punta Mita,” says course designer Jack Nicklaus. “To be given spectacular oceanfront land as a canvas not once, but twice, here at Punta Mita is exciting for a designer, and it reflects a commitment from ownership to provide a memorable golf experience. I’m confident people are going to enjoy the challenge and beauty of this golf course, as well as the incredible scenery.”

Holes 15 and 17 on Bahia are said to be the most memorable. For 15, the approach shot gives you a great view of Banderas Bay and the Puerto Vallarta skyline. Look out, though, it’s green has a tricky drop-off and a nasty bunker. The 17th hole – a 387-yeard par 4 with a short dogleg left – follows the contour of a cove and offers a small waterfront green.

The new course is a par 72 and has Miniverde greens built to USGA standards. There are five par 3s, eight par4s and five par 5s. Both courses wrap around both the residential communities and the St. Regis Punta Mita Resort.

Los Cabos becomes golf hotspot, per Golf Digest

Naples, Florida. Bethpage Black. Pebble Beach. St. Andrews. These are the sorts of places that come to mind when you think “top spot for golf.” But, Los Cabos? Mexico? Prepare to have your illusions shattered: Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort – a destination whose name you just can’t say quickly – picked up the #9 spot on Golf Digest’s world hotspots for golf (if you can actually call a place known for golf a “hotspot”).

The golf course and resort with the long name pushed into the top 10 in the magazine’s “50 Best International Golf Hotels Outside of the United States” category. The win was helped by The Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol, designed by Jack Nicklaus (or at least under his name) and ranked #1 in Latin American. The other attraction, The Desert Course at Cabo Del Sol takes #5 in Mexico, also according to Golf Digest.

Alberto Gurrola, general manager of The Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos Golf & Spa, is understandably psyched about the Golf Digest honors, saying, “The Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort has long attracted guests for its spectacular, idyllic background, where the desert meets the sea as well as its soothing SOMMA WineSPA and, of course, its world-renowned golf offerings.”

Now, I’m not going to say that the spa is a great place to drop the wife when you dash off to play 18 holes, lest I invoke the ire of a commenter yet again. Simply, if I were married to a golfer, I’d run off to the spa while she goes out to chase a little white ball.