Jack Nicklaus and Fry/Straka direct redesigns at landmark facility’s courses
Los Cabos, Mexico – January 4, 2023 – The tip of the Baja Peninsula and its desert-meets-ocean setting is a world-class golf destination. It’s also one of the hottest real estate markets in the hemisphere.
To make way for community expansion and new development, golf clubs are configuring their courses to satisfy investors--and keep golfers happy.
A case in point is Cabo Del Sol, a 1,800-acre master-planned resort and residential community. Its golf facility, led by the Jack Nicklaus-designed Ocean Course opened in 1994, is credited with placing Los Cabos on the international golf map.
Since renamed the Cove Club, a members-only facility, the former Ocean Course underwent a significant renovation that began three years ago. The club recently completed additional changes this past summer, including a new driving range, new cart paths, resurfacing of the back nine greens, irrigation replacement on the back nine holes, and the creation of three new holes (10, 11, 12).
The Cove Club’s new par-4 10th hole occupies the corridor of the former No. 1 hole on the Desert Course. The contoured fairway bends gently left as it climbs past a bold new bunker complex on the inside corner of the dogleg.
The previous 14th and 17th holes on the Desert Course were bulldozed to make way for the Cove Club’s new 11th hole, a colossal par 5 stretching to 602 yards. Flanked by a vast waste bunker on the right and a fairway bunker complex short of the green that resembles the Principal’s Nose bunker on the Old Course at St. Andrews, this hole is a true three-shot par 5.
The new par-3 12th hole, 258 yards from the tips, tumbles downhill to an open-entry green bracketed by a pair of deep bunkers and backdropped by the sea. The course then proceeds to the original 12th hole on the Ocean Course (now the Cove Club’s 13th hole), a short but stout uphill par 5 faced directly into Pacific headwinds.
Director of golf Erik Evans noted that the new routing will enable members and their families to play casual afternoon rounds in loops of three, six, nine or twelve holes--and finish at the Cove Beach Club.
The Cove Club’s new practice facility, occupying the site of the former 10th and 11th holes, has a Trackman Range (a first in Mexico), two-acre short game area, Golf Casa (pro shop and outdoor grill), and island-style range bar in the middle of the tee line.
On the former Desert Course, now known as Cabo Del Sol Golf Course, Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design has built a handful of new holes in dramatic mountain foothills more than 100 meters above sea level. The design duo of Dana Fry and Jason Straka will soon remodel pre-existing holes on this course to match the architectural style of their new creations. Final completion of the $20-plus million makeover, to include a new clubhouse, driving range and an agronomic overhaul, is expected by 2025.
At present, 13 holes on the original Desert Course layout are intact and in excellent condition, though they’ve been reshuffled and play in a different order. According to Fry, his firm’s five new holes, Nos. 12 through 16, “are vastly different than any other course in Cabo. The holes are visually intimidating, but they’re very playable. There’s a lot of eye candy.”
The spectacular setting called for grand-scale golf. Boulevard-wide fairways are staked out by bold, sculpted bunkers carved into hillsides. While visually intimidating, the bunkers are flat-bottomed and easy to escape from. Two new par 3’s, Nos. 12 and 17, are flanked or crossed by sandy washes and canyon-like arroyos. Two new par 5’s, Nos. 13 and 16, are massive creations that offer a variety of strategic options. Routed near the highest point of the development, the new holes offer top-of-the-world views of interior mountains and the glittering blue sea. Two additional new holes will be built even higher up on the mountainside, with construction slated to begin in late 2023 / early 2024.
A work in progress, the current provisional layout, stretching to 7,008 yards (par 72), offers great variety. It’s also unusual in that the first and 18th holes are par 3’s.
The first hole, formerly No. 11 on the Desert Course, is a pleasant mid-length par 3 that plays to a huge kidney-shaped green. The 18th, formerly No. 16, is a majestic par 3 that drops to a large sloping green flanked by trouble left and in front. The new black tee measures 254 yards.
Evans noted that the previous par-5 15th hole on the Desert Course has been converted to a driving range, short game practice area and temporary clubhouse. Complimentary food and beverages are served to players at the 11th and 16th holes.
About Los Cabos:
Situated at the tip of the 1,000-mile long Baja Peninsula, Los Cabos is home to award-winning hotels, resorts, championship golf courses, rejuvenating spas and world-class sport fishing. With a unique landscape of dramatic desert and dazzling beaches, Los Cabos is an exotic escape within easy reach of most U.S. and Canadian cities. For more information, images and videos from Los Cabos, visit www.visitloscabos.travel, follow us on Twitter @LOSCABOSTOURISM and visit us on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.