From the moment Jack Nicklaus arrived on the scene in the early 1990s, Los Cabos has been in the midst of an unprecedented golfing boom. Four of its 15 courses are now ranked among the World’s 100 Best Courses (U.S. excluded) by Golf Digest: Querencia, Quivira, The Dunes at Diamante, and the Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol. That's a mind-blowing 27 percent of the municipality’s currently operating layouts. The word currently is important, as five more high-profile courses are in the developmental stage, with designs from major champions Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Greg Norman and Fred Couples expected to open in coming years.
The courses fall into three basic categories: public, private, and playable with some restrictions or strings attached. The Tom Fazio designed Chileno Bay Golf Club, for example, is playable for guests at Chileno Bay Resort. Quivira, Nicklaus' spectacular cliffside masterpiece, is accessible to guests at Pueblo Bonito's four area resorts, and to owners at several neighboring developments. Diamante’s courses from both Davis Love III (The Dunes) and Tiger Woods (El Cardonal and the 12-hole Oasis Short Course) are playable for residents and resort guests, and in some cases as a bonus to those who’ve attended Diamante relevant time share presentations. Less complicated are Cabo del Sol’s Ocean and Desert Courses, Cabo Real, Cabo San Lucas Country Club, Campestre, Palmilla, Puerto Los Cabos, and Vidanta. They’re all open to the public. El Dorado and Querencia, by contrast, are private, members-only clubs.
What all the local courses have in common is a stunning mix of terrains and Pacific Ocean or Sea of Cortés views. Some holes hug the sandy coastline, some meander through cactus-strewn desert, others climb into the foothills of the mountain range – the Sierra de la Laguna – that forms the spine of Baja California Sur between Los Cabos and La Paz. Most of the newer layouts also boast luxe amenities like golf carts outfitted with GPS yardage displays, and mid-course comfort stations offering cocktails and snacks. Out top pick, Quivira Golf Club, has even opened a steakhouse adjacent its pro shop, taking the traditional 19th hole concept to an entirely new level.