When it comes to golf destinations in Mexico, Cabo San Lucas used to hog all the headlines, but a new destination along Mexicos Pacific coast has emerged as a rival every bit as spectacular for golfers ' Puerto Vallarta.
For years, Puerto Vallarta was well known for its beaches and for its role in the film Night of the Iguana, a 1964 classic featuring Ava Gardner and Richard Burton. Today, Puerto Vallarta has developed into a noted golf destination. Its climate seems perfectly suited for golf. Near 80-degree temperatures is the norm, a major reason why more than 3 million tourists flock to the region every year.
ClubCorp, the company that owns Pinehurst Resort, has helped the destination come of age. The Dallas-based company runs the spectacular 36-hole Vista Vallarta complex, home to a Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf course, and the Marina Vallarta Golf Club. These courses have sprung up to complement the many all-inclusive resorts that are a staple of the region.
Both Vista Vallarta courses (www.vistavallartagolf.com) opened in 2001 to immediate acclaim. Players will love their rugged, natural beauty spread among 478 acres in the shadows of the Sierra Madre mountain range. Golfers must navigate extreme terrain filled with dense jungles, deep ravines and meandering creeks. The facility hosted the 2002 EMC World Golf Championship.
Designed by Joe Finger, the par-71 Marina Vallarta Golf Club features natural lagoons and views of Banderas Bay. Dont bother searching for any loose shots that end up in or near the water hazards. Alligators can be seen lounging in the lagoons. The only knock on the 6,701 yard course are the hundreds of condos and homes that line its fairways. But its conveniently located next to the Casa Velas Hotel Boutique (www.HotelCasaVelas.com), a great place to rest your head in between rounds.
Casa Velas, a member of the exclusive The Leading Small Hotels of the World club, is the only adults-only all-inclusive golf resort in Mexico to receive the AAA Four Diamond Award. It resides just 15 minutes from the Puerto Vallarta Airport and just 10 minutes from the downtowns popular El Malecon, a boardwalk lined with art galleries and shops along the shores of the Banderas bay. The 80-suite, hacienda-style hotel isnt located on the beach, but it offers a private beach club just a short five-minute ride away near a sister hotel, Velas Vallarta.
The resorts theme is a garden oasis. Streams and fauna decorate the lobby with fish ponds just off the outdoor patio. The 80 suites have all been redone with marble floors, sun-god mirrors and other local art and dcor. Many offer a balcony with a private hot tub, perfect for an intimate evening under the stars.
If you must stay on the beach, the Grand Velas, a member of the Leading Resorts of the World, is a sister property of Casa Velas 20 minutes away in Nuevo Vallarta. Grand Velas (www.grandvelas.com) is also an all-suites, all-inclusive resort. Either property will allow you access to the great golf in Puerto Vallarta.
And after all, thats the most important part of any golf destination, right? The hotels must be clean and comfortable, but its the golf that youll remember most. Puerto Vallarta certainly delivers its share of memorable tee times.
Golfers delight in Puerto Vallarta
CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 million
Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:
|T20||Charles Howell III||-14||$57,754|
|T36||Tyrone Van Aswegen||-12||$27,189|
|T69||Billy Hurley III||-6||$11,623|
After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time
Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...
Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).
Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.
It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard
On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...
There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.
He sure looks like the real deal, though.
His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.
Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner
Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2
With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.
He picked up one more No. 2, too.
The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.
In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.
Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.
“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”
Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.
Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.
He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.
Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title
Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.
His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.
“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."
Tom Brady, postgame, on wearing the wrap on his hand: “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 22, 2018
Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.
Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.