Situated where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean, Los Cabos boasts a spectacular mountain-desert-ocean environment where the game’s top designers, led by Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, Greg Norman and Robert Trent Jones II, have crafted some of the world’s finest courses. Only in Los Cabos do verdant green fairways drop from cactus-studded foothills to golden beaches and the deep blue sea. With four venues on Golf Digest’s elite list of the “World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses,” Los Cabos is the undisputed golf capital of Latin America.
Los Cabos courses are special. They have a beauty all their own, but most of all, they are challenging. Forward tees take most of the danger out of play for the average duffer, but there are hazards, both visible and unseen.
Many of the fairways are girdled by long waste bunkers filled with coarse native sand. Players can ground their clubs in these bunkers. Getting the ball back in play, as opposed to attempting a low-percentage shot, is usually the best option.
And then there is the desert. Locals carry a trusty old club in the event their shots depart the fairway and enter a raw landscape thick with cactus and other spiny vegetation. For visitors, the smart play is to take a drop two club lengths from where the ball entered the desert with a penalty of one stroke.
Los Cabos is hilly, not flat. The land rises from the sea to the mountains. Los Cabos rolling fairways present an array of uphill, downhill and sidehill lies. Players must adjust their stances to ensure they hit the ball squarely.
As for the Los Cabos invisible hazard, it’s the wind. The prevailing breeze is from the southwest, but it can shift during the round and must be taken into consideration on every shot. Los Cabos pros have a favorite tip: “When it’s breezy, swing easy.” The idea is to impart as little sidespin as possible on full shots. Solid contact is the key.
Putting? The greens in Los Cabos are firm, fast and true. Spend some time on the practice putting green before teeing off to get a feel for how firmly the ball needs to be stroked in order to reach the hole from a variety of distances.