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.