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Rancho San Lucas Golf Club: The Shark Comes Ashore in Los Cabos

Decades in the planning stages, Rancho San Lucas, an 834-acre resort and residential community fronting a glorious stretch of beach on the Pacific Ocean 15 minutes from downtown Cabo San Lucas, is finally coming to fruition.

The sporting centerpiece of the development, which includes two upscale real estate communities and a new Grand Solmar resort hotel, is its golf course, which will have a soft opening this fall.

Greg Norman, the platinum-maned Aussie and one of the world’s most successful athletes-turned-businessman, first visited the development site nearly 20 years ago at the invitation of Solmar Hotels & Resorts owner Francisco “Paco” Bulnes.

“He (Norman) saw the parcel of land that is now Rancho San Lucas from my boat, and he said, ‘I would like to walk the property.’ He was really impressed by what he saw. I remember him telling me, ‘When you’re ready to develop this site, give me a call.’

Fast forward to 2017, when ground was broken on Solmar Group’s first golf course. From the beginning, Norman felt he had a unique opportunity to create something special: a spectacular links-style layout nestled in massive dunes and carved into desert foothills. Known for employing a ‘least-disturbance’ approach in his designs, Norman built a course that tiptoes across the land and takes full advantage of the site’s natural features and multiple ecosystems.

A handful of holes are sculpted into huge sand hills within earshot of the thudding surf. Above them on higher ground, fairways trace sloping terrain creased by winding arroyos. The desert here is thick with stately cardon cacti and native Baja vegetation. Because earthmoving was kept to a minimum, the golf course looks like it was extruded by the landscape, not built on top of it. Best of all, each hole at Rancho San Lucas serves up a stirring view of the sea.

While there are no dull moments on this well-balanced layout, the oceanfront holes are already getting rave reviews. For example, the third hole is a beautiful par 3 that flanks the beach and plays downwind to an undulating green defended by a pair of sharp-edged, steep-walled bunkers constructed from recycled artificial turf.

As golfers will discover this winter, the green is a good vantage point from which to view breaching whales offshore.

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