Essential Golf: A passion for the Game

One&Only Palmilla Resort and Golf Club


Essential Golf reviews One&Only Palmilla Resort and Golf Club.

Jack Nicklaus’ love of fishing led him to discover the magnificent Baja Peninsula in the 1960s. And in the 1990s Nicklaus returned to design the 27-hole Palmilla Resort and Golf Club’s original Arroyo/Mountain nines, launching a golf boom in Mexico that continues today.

Palmilla Golf Club is Nicklaus’ first Latin America design, and is recognized as the Grand Dame of golf in Los Cabos, Mexico. The 27-hole Jack Nicklaus signature course opened in 1993. Palmilla Golf Club went on to host the 1997 Senior Slam with Hale Irwin—who leads PGA TOUR Champions with 45 career wins—defeating Jack Nicklaus, Ray Floyd and Gil Morgan.

A masterful design

Palmilla’s Jack Nicklaus course is masterfully conceived, both challenging and stunningly beautiful. An 18-hole course can be configured from three nines named after the defining features of their landscape (Arroyo/Mountain, 6,939 yards, par 72; Mountain/Ocean, 7,036 yards, par 72; Ocean/Arroyo, 6,771 yards, par 72)—“arroyo” meaning a dry creek or gully that intermittently has running water at time of sufficient rain. The combinations provide golfers with a different experience on the front and back nines. For example, the Mountain Course, is a diverse layout with holes of varying lengths as well as plenty of sand and water.

From all 27 holes, the courses give views of that inspiration for John Steinbeck, the Sea of Cortez. There are five sets of staggered tees and stunning fairways, along with four lakes and intriguing shifts in elevation that provide good challenges for all keen players.

For those interested in USGA ratings for these courses, they are as follows:

Arroyo/Mountain Men’s Championship 74.3/Ladies 69.2

Mountain/Ocean Men’s Championship 74.4/Ladies 71.3

Ocean/Arroyo Men’s Championship 74.8/Ladies 69.3

The One And Only Palmilla Resort, Los Cabos, has all the facilities you would expect from its “luxury” rating—driving range, putting green and short game area, along with a golf school and fittingly stylish accommodations and fine dining. Palmilla is in the portfolio of One & Only Resorts which have resorts in some of the world’s most beautiful locations including The Bahamas, Maldives, Mauritius, Cape Town and Hayman Island, Australia, to mention a few.

The Resort’s History

One&Only Palmilla resort was built in 1956 by Don Abelardo Rodrigues, son of the president of Mexico at the time. The luxury destination, which began as a 15-room hideaway, boasted guests of an extremely high calibre. These included the likes of John Wayne, Lucille Ball and former US president Dwight D. Eisenhower. In 1984, thanks to the creation of the Transpeninsular Highway in 1970, the resort grew to 50 rooms. 1991 saw the grant opening of the Palmilla Golf Club, and five years later, the luxury resort was once again expanded to house 115 rooms. The One&Only Palmilla, which opened in 2004 after a $90 million refurbishment, kept alive the glamour, luxury and history of the original resort.


From relaxation and fitness, to sightseeing and extraordinary culinary experiences, the One&Only Palmilla resort offers a luxurious getaway holiday suited to all.

Food Diaries

Guests visiting One&Only Palmilla will be able to dine in style al fresco. The Michelin-starred chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten heads SEARED, a fine steak and seafood restaurant in Los Cabos. French-trained chef, Larbi Dahrouch, presents his farm-to-table cuisine at Agua by Larbi. The Agua Bar is a choice destination for guests looking for light fare and exclusive, specialty drinks.

Unwind in paradise at Palmilla Resort and Golf Club

The One&Only Spa, complete with tropical gardens, outdoor relaxation areas and a Yoga Garden will allow esteemed guests to relax and unwind in luxury and privacy—the resort offers individual spa villas. The resort also offers OBO Salon by Jonathan and George—an exclusive salon opened by celebrity stylists Jonathan Antin and Amanda George—Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio by renowned podiatrist Bastien Gonzalez and Barber and Blade, a specialised grooming studio for men.

Holiday activities

The One&Only Palmilla Resort and Golf Club truly caters to each and every individual. From honeymooners and adventure-seekers, to families and the sport-orientated, this luxury destination provides many different activities to enjoy. Guests at the One&Only Palmilla will be able to explore the sea of Cortez on scuba diving and snorkelling adventures, try sport fishing, enjoy non-motorized water sports, or relax in two ocean view infinity pools—one for adults and the other especially for families.

Explore the magical landscape of the Baja Peninsula in a chauffeured all-terrain on or horseback, or go whale watching on private cruises—available from January to March—aboard one of the resort’s luxury yachts. The resort also boasts a wide variety of state-of-the-art fitness facilities: a cutting-edge fitness centre complete with Technogym equipment and systems, three tennis courts and a basketball court.

Days to Remember

For individuals looking for a magical place to hold a special event or reception, One&Only Palmilla has all bases covered. A historic chapel makes for an intimate setting for weddings, receptions and renewals of vows. Similarly, the Herb Garden and the beachfront Conference Courtyard, are also an ideal location for meetings and celebrations.

Getting there…

Airports near Palmilla Golf Club

Los Cabos International Airport Distance: 9.5 miles

Manuel Márquez de León International Airport Distance: 83 miles

Choose Your Season

High: December through April

Low: May through November

For sun seekers, an average of 300 days of sun a year is guaranteed, with a temperature range of 75 to 85 degrees.

Los Cabos, Mexico is located within the US Mountains Standard Time Zone. It is seven hours behind Greenwich Mean Time.

For vacationers on the move around the Pacific peninsular of Baja there are a dozen or more great courses to investigate, six of which bear the Golden Bear’s legacy of being a Jack Nicklaus Signature course.

See also: Read our travel guide on Golf in the Dominican Republic