Viva Quivira!

One of the newer entries in the top-tier golf experiences available in Mexico is the Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf and Spa Resort. The Pacifica is located in Cabo San Lucas, home of whale watchers, sport fishermen and cruise ships (remember the Love Boat?). It’s designed to be an escape from the ordinary, and also an escape from the kiddies, as no one under 18 is allowed.

Perched alongside a pristine beach area only a couple of miles from the city center, The Pacifica is a destination that grabs you by the senses from the moment you step on to the property. The lobby is a stunner, a pristine wide-open space that is all cut flowers and an indoor fountain that mimics the Pacific Ocean beach in the distance. The rooms are just as impressive, with most having an ocean view. The private balcony on the Ocean View rooms are where you’ll want to begin and end your day, and as a taller-than-average person, I appreciated the king-size beds. After you drop off your bags, change into some swim gear and head down to the beach. It is a huge, pristine shore with plenty of activities if you feel like splashing around and shaded day beds loaded with comfy cushions if you want to just relax and soak up some sunshine. And while you are working on your tan don’t forget to have a one of their signature cocktails.

When you make your way to the golf course you’ll find it just as impressive as the hotel. Quivira Golf Club features a Jack Nicklaus design that has garnered multiple awards in its two short years.

“This is one of the great pieces of property in the world,” Nicklaus said. “We tried to create some excitement on the mountain and in the dunes, and I believe we’ve created a golf course that plays as spectacular as it looks. I’ve never seen any place that has three holes hanging out over the ocean like this golf course does. They are unbelievable. This is a diverse golf course with inland settings; its got desert, its got ocean, its got rocks. It has a little bit of everything.”

13-coastline-pan-aerial-quivira

Created as an exclusive amenity for hotel guests and residents of the rental properties, the 7,139-yard par-72 track offers a rigorous test for the better player but also features five sets of tees so that players of all skill levels have an opportunity enjoy it. Situated beside the clubhouse at Quivira is a top-quality practice facility right alongside the beach. The pro shop is well stocked with everything you need in equipment, apparel and accessories. And for those that don’t like to travel with clubs, the rentals brand new full sets of TaylorMade clubs.

Some courses say they are oceanfront if there are a couple of waves visible and you can vaguely smell seawater. Not so with Quivira. Seventeen of the holes have a view of the Pacific, with many of the holes running alongside the beach. Many of the tee shots are downhill drives from promontories with stunning ocean views. The course is platinum paspalum grass from tee to green, and it is meticulously maintained. The greens were rolling at about an 11 on the stimpmeter, and the rough was high enough to present a challenge for a missed fairway, but since it’s a resort course, it was short enough to allow golfers to hit a shot and keep moving.

The course’s first four holes are appealing, but not necessarily spectacular. But the show starts with the almost one-mile ride up to the 5th tee, perched high atop the cliffs bordering the beach. There is a taco-and-tequila station on top of the hill, the first of the three luxurious rest stations on the course that offer a range of mouth-watering food and drink options. And if you don’t see something you like among the ceviche, shrimp tacos or braised pork sandwiches you can ask for what you like and they’ll have it waiting for you on the next station.

The Fire and Ice Martini Bar on No. 5.
The Fire and Ice Martini Bar on No. 5.

You might want to indulge in a little liquid courage before plying the difficult and controversial 5th, a 310-yard par four that requires two of the most intimidating blind shots most golfers will encounter. A hybrid or an iron to a narrow fairway is rewarded with an opportunity to try and hit a green that is invisible from the fairway. You basically aim at one of the whales swimming in the distance and swing away. My score over three days on that hole was 17 shots, if you include the ones that were in a glass with lime and salt. Love it or hate it, you’ll be talking about it for hours after the round.

If No. 5 is quirky then No. 6 is a classic beauty — a 180-yard par-3 carved out of the cliffs and overlooking the beach. In looks and difficulty, it is the match for anything you find at Pebble Beach. Another hole with story to tell is the massive 635-yard par-5 12th, which zig–zags downhill and finishes at the beach where the epic film “Troy” with Brad Pitt was filmed. You can still see some of the wooden stakes that formed the fortifications of the Trojan fortress, but if you get caught up in the sightseeing and miss the fairway, you’ll spend a lot more time on this hole than intended.

When you are done with your round you’ll need to wind down and recharge; take the opportunity to indulge yourself in the Pacifica Spa. Start with a steam, and sauna then a dip in the cold tubs. Follow that with a custom massage and a cup of herbal tea and you’ll be as relaxed as Fred Couples’ swing. The dining facilities are outstanding, featuring a wide variety of cuisines. Given the location, you’d be crazy not to try plenty of seafood and the variety of Mexican specialties on tap. And for tequila lovers, there are more options than you can shake a wedge at, including some rare options that will set your senses (and your wallet) on fire. You can finish the night with cocktails and cigars by an open fire or maybe a walk along the beach, depending on who you are with.

There are plenty of direct flights to Cabo San Lucas for those on the West Coast of the U.S., and East Coast travelers can get there with one stop. The best prices for flights are during the off-season, but even during the high season it’s resonably affordable. Nearby Cabo San Lucas is one of the best, most popular tourist destinations in North America. Whether you want to go whale and seal watching, shopping in the town center, or just lounging on the beach, there is something to fill your days. Be sure to stop by JJ’s Cigars, where they have an amazing selection of top-quality cigars kept in a huge walk-in humidor. And the nightlife is just as good, with dozens of bars and bars and clubs for cocktails, dancing, or whatever.

View of the Pacifica Hotel from its pool.
View of the Pacifica Hotel from its pool.

The Pacifica is a luxury facility and prices reflect that. However, the resort offers a truly exceptional experience that is worth every penny. The best way to go is an all-inclusive package that includes golf, lodging and meals. And if you want to go off-campus with the all-inclusive deal you will be given a wristband that extends your privileges to any of the Pueblo Bonito facilities in Puerto Vallarta. Have dinner at least one night at the Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos. You can catch a gentle breeze while noshing on steak carbon tacos and looking at sunset over the beautiful harbor. And for the frugal there are some great deals available during the shoulder seasons and for groups so smart shoppers can get paradise at a discount.

The Pacifica and Quivira Golf Club are one of the best new offerings I’ve seen for a long time. If you appreciate exceptional conditions on and off the course, this is the one for you.

Learn more at quiviragolfclub.com.

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Williams has a reputation as a savvy broadcaster, and as an incisive interviewer and writer. An avid golfer himself, Williams has covered the game of golf and the golf lifestyle including courses, restaurants, travel and sports marketing for publications all over the world.

He is currently working with a wide range of outlets in traditional and electronic media, and has produced and hosted “Sticks and Stones” on the Fox Radio network, a critically acclaimed show that combined coverage of the golf world with interviews of the Washington power elite. His work on Newschannel8’s “Capital Golf Weekly” and “SportsTalk” have established him as one of the area’s most trusted sources for golf reporting.

Williams has also made numerous radio appearances on “The John Thompson Show,” and a host of other local productions. He is a sought-after speaker and panel moderator, he has recently launched a new partnership with The O Team to create original golf-themed programming and events.

Williams is a member of the United States Golf Association and the Golf Writers Association of America.

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  1. 1. You can play if you stay at any of the Pueblo Bonito resorts. We stayed at Sunset Beach, which is more family friendly/oriented than Pacifica.
    2. Do they still have a guy standing below the green on hole 5 on the ocean side tossing your balls back onto the green when you roll/bounce off the back side? I freaked out when, as I was walking towards the hole, my ball suddenly popped back on to the green from the far side. He said he was there to keep golfers from trying to retrieve their balls on the steep cliffs that surround the green.
    3. There is a refreshment stand between 8 and 9 built in an old bunker. They see you teeing off on 8 and start cooking. By the time you get off the green, there are fresh tacos and an agua fresca waiting for you. For me, the comfort stations made the 5+ hour pace enjoyable.
    4. I walk whenever possible, but it would be impossible to create the views at Quivira if they had tried to make it walkable. You are on vacation, ride this one in the morning and walk another track in the afternoon.

  2. So lets go through this again. . . You take an “almost one-mile ride up to the 5th tee” in order to play a hole where “A hybrid or an iron to a narrow fairway is rewarded with an opportunity to try and hit a green that is invisible from the fairway. (???) You basically aim at one of the whales swimming in the distance and swing away. (???)”

  3. Just got back Friday from Cabo and played Quivira twice!! It was such a beautifully constructed course and I’ll definitely remember playing this course for the rest of my life. I even drove the 5th hole into the wind! Was an amazing feeling! The Cliffs Station is between 4 and 5 and offers a breathtaking view. Play it if you get the chance, you won’t regret it!

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