All you need to know about Quivira Golf Club at Pueblo Bonito Resort’s Quivira Los Cabos, Mexico, is the mile-long golf car trek from the fourth green to the fifth tee box. The ride, which winds from sea level to 270 feet above the Pacific Ocean, takes players to the signature holes of the Jack Nicklaus-designed course that has earned acclaim as one of the top layouts along the Baja California Peninsula since it opened in 2014.
It’s a five-minute ride to the fifth tee box, which is only five minutes less than it takes to get to nearby Cabo San Lucas by car.
“We wanted something special,’’ said Antonio Reynante Vega, director of golf at Quivira Golf Cub, which plays 7,085 yards from the tips. “We didn’t want to just present the same golf experience you have somewhere else. We want to be different and I think we’re doing a good job.’’
A “good job’’ is an understatement. The centerpiece of Quivira Los Cabos, an all-inclusive. 1,850-acre property that includes the 201-room Towers at Pacifica (complete with butler service) and estate homes and condominiums, Quivira Golf Club is carved from stark desert terrain and at some points almost seems to fight the terrain, particularly on the back nine – and win. In other words, choose your tee carefully.
“The property was too unique to try to create a golf course that would be a resort golf course suited just for a high-handicapper,’’ Nicklaus said. “It was a golf course that you had to take advantage of all the spectacular situations you had and be they too difficult or not, you had to take advantage of it. It is just too unbelievable. There will be a lot of really good players who will come down here and will want to play the back tees, and they’ll find a challenging, unforgettable golf course to play.’’
And a course (par 72) that you’ll want to play again and again. Yes, the views are that spectacular and depending on the wind and the choice of tee boxes, can play different from day to day. Nicklaus provides mostly generous fairways, but local knowledge helps players know which side of the fairway is best to place a drive for the most accessible shot at the green.
“There are times of year when the wind can be strong, so what we’ve done is create quite a few tee locations on every hole,’’ Nicklaus said. “There’s the opportunity to lengthen some holes when you’re playing downwind, or to shorten a lot of holes when the wind is in your face. I think we’ve tried to accommodate the wind the best we can. We think we’ve done a pretty good job of it.’’
A ”pretty good job,’’ is an understatement, even by Golden Bear standards. Quivira Golf Club should be at the top of anyone’s bucket list of Cabo courses. The all-inclusive factor is a big plus, particularly at the fully-stocked comfort stations around the course, and in the resort’s four restaurants. It’s not often that you find food and beverage operations at an all-inclusive resort as good at Quivira Los Cabos.
The first four holes, particularly the tempting-to-drive 316-yard third hole and 616-yard, par-five fourth hole that only the longest hitters should attempt to reach in two shots.
Next comes the long golf car ride to Quivira Golf Club’s two signature holes and the course’s first comfort station. Early-morning players should take a few minutes to grab some juice and breakfast burrito before facing the 310-yard (tips), par-four, fifth hole that has become of the more photographed in golf.
A 3-wood or long iron is all that’s needed off the tee – just keep your drive on the right side of the fairway for the best shot with a short iron or even a flip-wedge to a green 106 feet below the tee box.
“When the wind blows from the west, it makes for a very difficult shot to layup,’’ off a drive, Reynante Vega said. “Technically it’s not a layup – it’s a tee shot – but people see the green and think of it as a layup.’’
For those who might want to attempt to drive the green, consider that it a deep bunker protects its left side and there is absolutely no room to miss the green over the top. All told, it is as entertaining a hole as you’ll find anywhere in the world.
The par-three sixth hole (180 yards from the tips) completes Quivira Golf Club’s twin signature holes. Carved into the base of a massive dune to the right and framed by rocky hills and the Pacific Ocean to the left, it’s a beautiful hole that’s angled into the prevailing wind. The green isn’t quite as narrow as it looks from the tee box, but still requires a lot of accuracy, particularly with a back-pin placement.
On the back side, the 635-yard (tips), par-five 12th hole is another that requires some local knowledge, as it’s a double dogleg that drops from the top of a dune and zigzags along an island-style fairway bounded on both sides by sand. Navigating it can be tricky for first-timers, but it’s a terrific hole with a green tucked to the left of the fairway.
The 148-yard (tips), par-three 13th is another stunningly beautiful hole. The tees along the edge of the cliff play into a rock outcropping that comes out into the ocean. The green sits right in the middle of these rock outcroppings high above the ocean. While it’s the shortest par three at Quivira Golf Club, the 13th requires the steadiest nerves and is the green you feel most satisfied to hit in regulation.
The course moves back inland until the 424-yard, par-four 18th, which was recently renovated because of storm damage this past fall. The green was moved back nearly 60 yards, which makes its length more manageable into the wind, but with the ocean as a backdrop and cliffs to the right, it’s more memorable holes of what is a truly memorable golf experience.
Photos: Pueblo Bonito Resorts