If you’re choosing Mexico’s popular Pacific Coast region for your golf vacation, you could do no better than to head for Punta Mita, an exclusive gated community in the northernmost point of Banderas Bay. This is a resort area of luxury, charm, and indeed opulence, with central attractions being the St. Regis Punta Mita, a hotel with laid back high-class style and impeccable service. There are three pools (including one for families and one for adults, which is open 24/7); water sports; excursions; tennis courts; a 10,000 square-foot spa and all manner of activities, from guacamole-making classes to bike tours.
For your golf experience in Punta Mita, it’s the Jack Nicklaus signature Pacifco Golf Course that beckons. The par-72 course (7,014 yards), which opened in 1999, covers 200 acres with a view of the Pacific Ocean from each hole, and featuring wide fairways and ample greens.
The second Golden Bear-designed par-72 course (7,035 yards) is the Bahía Course. The approach shot of the 462-yard, par-4 15th hole gives players panoramic views of Bahía de Banderas, and there are five holes that play right alongside the Pacific Ocean. Punta Mita’s famed El Faro surf spot is a short distance away from where surfers and anyone looking seaward can watch evening descend as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean.
MEXICO’S CARIBBEAN COAST
On the east coast of Mexico, it’s always a special moment to see the sun rises out of the eastern horizon of the Caribbean Sea, whilst playing golf on the Mayan Trail is also one of the great attractions of this region. The area stretches for about 75 miles from Cancún down to the Mayan ruins of Tulum. The many spectacular courses extend from Cancún towards the Riviera Maya, including a course on the island of Cozumel, each one of them designed by recognized architects such as Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Robert Trent Jones Jr., P.B. Dye, Tom Fazio, Tom Weiskopf and Robert von Hagge.
Within the Cancún area, situated on the white sandy beaches of Playa Mujeres, is the adults-only Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort. Just 35 minutes from the Cancun International Airport, and 10 minutes from downtown Cancun, the nearby 18-hole signature Greg Norman golf course is the main attraction for many.
Of the course itself, Greg Norman says: “Not only does this course have great vistas, but it also provides strategic challenges for everyone who will have the opportunity to play it. It calls for a golfer’s complete concentration from the first tee shot to the final putt, yet it is an enjoyable experience for players of all abilities.”
Playa Mujeres Golf Club is open to the public year-round, with peak-season green fees currently set at $190, which includes 18 holes, shared golf cart, unlimited use of practice facilities on day of play, bottled water and tees.
The Riviera Maya is a spectacular stretch of Caribbean coastline on Mexico’s north-eastern Yucatán Peninsula. This is a true vacationers’ paradise, having a playground of numerous all-inclusive resorts, many of which offer high-quality golf experiences in surroundings rich in ancient Mayan attractions and popular archaeological sites operated by the Instituto Nacional de Archaeological; in addition to golf, there are many other attractions such as the beaches, with coastal and reef diving.
Designed by world-renowned golf course architect Robert Trent Jones II, the Riviera Maya Golf Club gives guests a rewarding challenge every time they step onto the green. Here you can try your hand on the 18-hole, 72-par course or try the popular 9-hole course, which is fast and simple—ideal for an early morning or midday session. The backdrop is the breathtaking Mayan jungle with its unique flora and fauna.
The Riviera Maya Golf Club is integrated with the Bahía Princípe Hotels & Resorts complex; these luxury residencies are comprised of the beachfront Akumal resort, Sian Ka’an resort and Tulum resort.
The Club also hosts annually a convivial tournament, Bahia Principe Golf Open, where the entire complex gets involved, with participants enjoying the competitive fun of playing on one of the best courses in the Riviera Maya. Both the level of play and the number of prizes are added attractions of the Bahía Princípe Golf Open. Players who managed to score a hole-in-one vie for prizes such as a luxury property at Bahía Princípe Residences Riviera Maya, a Porsche Boxter 2018 automobile or a golf cart.
Within the Riviera Maya region is the coastal Andaz Mayakoba Resort, a Hyatt property that is a secluded and private-gated Mayakoba Resort complex, surrounded by tranquil lagoons and lush vegetation. The resort is a most attractive vacation option that includes four on-site restaurants showcasing fresh local ingredients and authentic cooking techniques, aquatic/beach attractions and a significant golf course—El Camaleón Golf Club at Mayakoba is a spectacular 18-hole golf course designed by Greg Norman with a par 72 and distinctive hazards, winding through an area of preserved mangroves. This challenging course is home to the annual PGA TOUR OHL Classic, and there are also customized lessons available at the Jim McLean Golf School. The golf club features a driving range and a short game practice facility.
The Riviera Maya region itself is little more than four hours by plane from New York or around two and a half hours from Dallas.
This article first appeared in the PGA TOUR June-November 2019 issue, which can be read here.
See also: Plan a Golf Holiday in Mexico