In the mid 70’s, the State Secretary of Tourism in Mexico began promoting a national trust for tourism called Fonatur. The program would make it possible to develop integrally planned tourism centers around the country. The third tourism center on the list was Los Cabos. It became the turning point for the region’s socio economic development. Even though the fishing was already famous, especially in the North American market, the offer of goods and services had to be expanded and done so in an organized manner.
The first Fonatur director, Don Antonio Enriquez Savignac, commissioned the famous architect and landscaper from Houston, Joe Finger, and the Mexican Mario Schjetnan to work on the first golf course in Baja California Sur. It was to be integrated into a project called “Los Cabos,” because it would bring together the communities along the 20-mile corridor between San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas.
In this way, the beginning of the sport was born in the State. Although the resources were limited, the course itself has been recognized as a great nine-hole course. Nobody could imagine that the ranches surrounding the course such as, El Zalate, Venado de Cerro Blanco, El Tule and others that had been intact for hundreds of years, would eventually become the golf capital of Mexico. It was not easy. Patience and planning were required.
The Fonatur course was followed by many others in a relatively short amount of time, including Campo de Carlos, now the Cabo San Lucas Country Club designed by Pete Dye, Cabo Real by Robert Trent Jones, Palmilla by Jack Nicklaus and Cabo del Sol by Tom Weiskopf & Jack Nicklaus.
The first Tom Fazio designed golf course in Mexico was in the Querencia development. It will open soon the second course at Chileno Bay.
Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus completed projects in Puerto Los Cabos, north of San Jose del Cabo, and Tiger Woods recently opened the first golf course he designed, Diamante El Cardonal at Cabo San Lucas on the Pacific Ocean side.
A short time after development began in Los Cabos, Pedro Güereca and Mario Schjetnan designed a beautiful par 72-course between the La Giganta Sierra and the Gulf of California. The capital city of La Paz has begun to see the construction of golf courses. In 2010, Gary Player, who loves Baja California Sur, designed his first course at CostaBaja in the city of La Paz. Practically all the holes adjoin the Sea of Cortez, making the course a natural wonder. Adding to the list are those at Paraiso del Mar by Arthur Mills and Bahia de los Sueños, the work of the famous North American architect Tom Doak.
40 years ago, Joe Finger and Mario Schjetnan joined efforts to construct the first course known today as Punta Sur Golf Course. The players, architects, landscapers, and above all the visionaries, have helped Los Cabos and the State of Baja California Sur make their mark in the world of Golf .
Even though it is said that the sky is the limit, it seems the challenges presented by the peninsula’s topography to the imagination of the designers have become the limit. Proof lies in the new courses found on their desks that are soon to be constructed.
With practically 350 days of sunshine a year, it’s easy to understand how Golf course designers in the State have managed to promote them as national favorites. The fusion of sea, desert and mountains has achieved a spectacular harmony that makes it hard to choose which course to play.
“Fore!”…. The game of Golf is moving fast.[dropcap background=”yes” color=”#333333″ size=”18px”]The love and passion for the sport quickly expanded in such a way that golfers from all over the world came here to play, and tournaments such as the Senior Slam were held in this location. Today, Los Cabos has 14 golf courses that qualify as the best in Mexico, two more in La Paz and one in Loreto.[/dropcap]