No. 11 at Puerto Los Cabos
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, Mexico -- The perfect winter golf destination is warm, rain free, has great golf courses and accommodations, terrific restaurants and nightlife and first-rate hospitality. You'll find all that in Los Cabos, Mexico region, located on the tip of the Baja Peninsula.
It's an area that draws heavily from Southern California, with flights from Los Angeles just under two hours away. So it's no wonder so many Hollywood celebrities and shakers have been known to spend their leisure time at this area's great resorts, or at their second homes here.
'There is no better winter destination in the world,' said Adrian Schjetnan, director of marketing for the Los Cabos Convention and Visitors Bureau. 'Here, if you schedule a fishing trip for Dec. 28, you can be sure you'll be able to do that on Dec. 28. And it's the same with golf tee times. Weather in the winter is never a factor.'
But what has been a factor are the U.S. economy and the reports of drug cartel violence that have dominated the news the past couple of years. Most of the violence has occurred at the border cities, like Juarez across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, but tourism in the entire country has suffered. The Los Cabos corridor between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo hasn't been exempt either (the bailouts of U.S. companies have also been a factor), but it has been rebounding nicely, local officials said. Luxurious resorts such as the One&Only Palmilla, Las Ventanas al Paraiso and Esperanza are doing a brisk business with future bookings already starting to fill the 2011 and 2012 calendars.
The golf down here is nothing short of stunning. There are nine courses open to the public, and many of them feature numerous views of the Sea of Cortez and mountains. For example, Palmilla Golf Club is a 27-hole Jack Nicklaus gem that once hosted the Champion Tour's Senior Slam. There are ocean views on 12 of the 27 holes, but more than that, the Palmilla's Ocean/Arroyo Course has lots of great holes, impeccable conditioning and very challenging greens.
Or you could play Puerto Los Cabos Golf Club, which currently has a combination of nine holes designed by Greg Norman and nine by Nicklaus. The plan is for the two former great players to add another nine holes each in the near future to bring the resort course to 36 holes – again with plenty of great views of the Sea of Cortez.
Of course, peak season comes with peak rates, but if you're looking for a premier winter destination, you'd be hard-pressed to find anything superior – or more convenient, especially for those who live in the Southwest.