For the millionth time I must say I have one of the coolest gigs in the world. To be able to travel to fantastic golf vacation destinations like Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for the purpose of reviewing world class golf courses, is a privilege I don’t take lightly.
Cabo del Sol Ocean Course – Los Cabos – click for more
On my recent Hooked On Golf Blog World Tour stop to Cabo, I had the pleasure of playing Cabo del Sol, a Jack Nicklaus signature design course built in 1994. The course is ranked by many top publications in the top 100 in the world, as well as ranked #1 in Mexico.
Part of what makes Cabo del Sol and the other golf courses in Cabo so great is the location. Los Cabos is located about 1,000 miles south of Los Angeles on the Baja California peninsula. That’s barely a 2.5 hour flight from Denver.
The weather in Cabo is fantastic all year, averaging 78 degrees. There are 350 sunny days per year, meaning one could take 10 days break from golfing per year for other activities, like going to a spa.
Jack Nicklaus had some fantastic real estate to work with when designing Cabo del Sol. Nearly half of the course’s 7,091 yards are on the ocean in the form of holes 5, 6, 7, 8, 16, 17 and 18. Can you say “Pebble South?” Jack Nicklaus himself said about the course, “the best piece of golf property I’ve ever seen.”
There are five sets of tees at Cabo del Sol. The longest playing set of tees (Black), measures at 7,091 yards. Slope from the back tees is 145 with a course rating of 74.4. In other words, the course is plenty of challenge even for scratch players or pros.
One of the most dramatic parts of the course is the stretch from hole five green through hole eight tee. Hole five is ranked the toughest on the course, a 490 yard par-4. From there holes six (pictured above) and seven are back-to-back par-3’s on the sea. Absolutely fantastic stretch of golf.
Carve this tee shot left to right. Try not to let the Sea of Cortez distract you!
Teeing areas at Cabo del Sol are typical of desert target style courses. The tees are mini islands in the desert, framed by finely manicured desert foliage and large cacti.
Many tee shots require some forced carries but nothing crazy. They’re completely manageable. Movement of the ball in both directions can help the player navigate the course from the tee and many tee shots tempt the player to hit driver when perhaps a more conservative play may be a better idea.
Cabo del Sol’s fairways are much wider than they appear from the tee. The landing areas are spacious. Missing the wide fairways is possible though, and penal. Native desert areas are often the last resting place for a chance at par.
Looking at the fairway and the Sea of Cortez as a pirate ship passes by in the background. Where else does this happen?
Hitting approaches from the fairways can be a challenge. Stances can be slightly uneven, influencing shot lines which may be opposite what may be optimal.
Approaching the greens at Cabo del Sol is challenging, Nicklaus style. Jack’s bunker complexes and design angles make approach shots the most critical shot on most of the holes. Proper approaches are the key to making par or birdie here.
Not a bad green complex, if you like tremendous scenery. Click to zoom.
The greens at Cabo del Sol are quite fun to putt. They’re large, with some very tasteful and fair undulations. Good reads and properly executed putts won’t produce any unwanted surprises. They’ll produce birdies and pars.
Make your own tacos! Brilliant – click to zoom
One of the highlights of my ENTIRE trip to Cabo was the taco stand at Cabo del Sol. The course is world famous for their tacos, to such an extent that sometimes the tacos get more press than the golf. Please note that I dedicated only one paragraph to the tacos…
The practice area is very well maintained with high quality range balls and cleaning stations. I was happy to hit the range before my round. The back was not happy. But after a few swings and loosening up in the warm Cabo weather, my back was back…so to speak.
There’s a practice putting area right next to the 1st tee, surrounded by large cacti and beautiful desert foliage.
Clubhouse as seen from #1 tee. Click to zoom.
The 40,000 square foot clubhouse at Cabo del Sol is home to a well appointed and classy pro shop. The open air building also boasts fine dining, men’s and women’s lounges, lockers and meeting facilities.
Even better than the courses and the places I get to see on my golf press trips are the fantastic people who run them, like my new friend and director of golf at Cabo del Sol, Greg Tallman. I had a fantastic time playing my round with Greg. I’m still amazed by the driver “off the deck” shot. Brilliant…
The service at Cabo del Sol was impressive, as has been my experience with just about every course and resort in the area. On the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, customer service is as good as anywhere I’ve been.
Cabo del Sol deserves all the accolades and awards it has received. The golf experience at Cabo del Sol does not disappoint. The facility has no weaknesses. From course design to amenities to course conditioning, throw in one of the best locations on the planet, the golf experience is tough to beat.
Hooked On Golf Blog Cabo del Sol photo gallery
Cabo del Sol website
One of the three courses the Hooked On Golf Blog (HOG) World Tour stopped at last week in Los Cabos, Mexico was Cabo Real. Cabo Real is the work of golf architect Robert Trent Jones II.
Cabo Real Golf Course – Los Cabos, Mexico – click for more
Enjoy the Cabo Real photos for now, and stay tuned for my review coming soon!
Cabo del Sol Golf Course
Diamante Image Gallery
Puerto Los Cabos Photos
Palmilla Golf Club
I’ve just uploaded a new gallery of Diamante golf course photos from the latest HOG World Tour stop in Los Cabos, Mexico. Diamante is a fabulous new golf course designed by Davis Love III. The course was built on pure sand dunes and is ranked #58 in the world and #1 in all of Mexico.
The best description my group could come up with for the course is “Mexico’s version of Whistling Straights.”
Diamante’s 16th Green – click for more
The site is also the future home of a Tiger Woods course which will be the 2nd on the property. I have some photos of the land under construction which I’ll post soon.
Cabo del Sol Ocean Course – Los Cabos – click for more
I had the pleasure of playing a round of golf last week in Los Cabos, Mexico at the Cabo del Sol Ocean Course. It was a pleasure playing with the Director of Golf (DoG) Greg Tallman.
The Ocean Course is a Jack Nicklaus signature design with some great elevation changes and some fantastic seaside holes. The taco stand at the turn is world renowned.
I’ve just uploaded some featured Cabo del Sol Ocean Course photos to the Hooked On Golf Blog image gallery for your enjoyment. I’ll be posting my review later so stay tuned.
Par-3 13th at Kingsbarns
A week ago Friday I played one of my favorite golf courses on this planet, Scotland’s Kingsbarns Golf Links. This was my 2nd round on this brilliant course, my first back in 2011. In 2012 I posted my Kingsbarns Golf Links review. This is simply a recap of last week’s experience as well as a refresher to HOG readers to check out my review and photos of this world class course. If you get to St. Andrews to play the Old Course you MUST, I repeat MUST play Kingsbarns.
I’ve said many times that the best part of running a popular golf blog is the great people I meet. I’d like to thank my new friend Alan Hogg, Director of Golf at Kingsbarns, for his hospitality. I had a great time chatting with Alan who has one of the best jobs in all of golf. We laughed at the fact that his last name is Hogg and how his last name stands for “Hooked On Golf.” I could really tell he reads the blog because he made comments he only could have made if he’d read some of the articles. That impressed me.
Difficult But Fun Conditions
I have a couple of unbelievable stories from my latest round at Kingsbarns. The winds this time around were substantial. I started off par-par on the first two holes and was feeling great. I realized the strength of the wind when I reached the par-5 3rd though. My drive had a tiny bit of fade spin on this hole which runs with the shoreline of the North Sea to the right. Once my ball was above the dunes the wind took it and threw it into the north sea. It was crazy. The ball is flying with a very small fade, then takes a 90 degree turn to the right and is gone.
The par-3 8th hole is an amazing little par-3 with teeth as sharp as a shark’s. Arriving at the tee my caddie Gordon told me “I’m no givin’ you a yahdage. Here’s ur 4-iron. Hit i’ as hard as ya fookin’ can at the rock wall.” I did just that. I crushed that 4-iron at the rock wall on this downhill shot. The wind grabbed it, held it up and threw it into the green side bunker right, pin high. After the shot Gordon told me that my crushed 4-iron on this downhill shot traveled an impressive 131 yards.
The next hole, the par-5 9th was equally as entertaining due to the wind. I’d managed to crush a driver and then a 3-wood to a good position, 136 yards from the green. Gordon and I spent a few minutes debating which club to hit. That 136 yard shot was either a hybrid or a 3-wood. I went with hybrid, killed it, and ended up a few feet short of pin-high. That’s a club that can go up to 240 yards at home and I just hit it 130 yards and hit it well!
Kingsbarns 15th hole – click for more
I ran into some trouble on the signature par-3 15th hole (pictured above). My 4-iron was blown into the rocks short of the hole and it bounced around for what seemed like 15 minutes. The drop area was left of the green. From where I was I could hit putter, which is always my choice if I can. Never had this happen until this point. Gordon my caddie shot the yardage with his laser and gave it to me. I’ve never lasered a yardage with a putter in my hand. 70 yards.
Gordon my caddie lasers my putt at 70 yards!
Food & Beverage
The restaurant at Kingsbarns serves fantastic food and the tastiest “wee pints” anywhere. Perhaps the wee pints taste that much better after playing such a satisfying round on a world class golf course. Maybe it is the views from the windows which overlook the 18th and the North Sea. Pebble who?
I enjoyed the Kingsbarns chili. Chili is a popular dish in Scotland.
Look For The HOG Ball Marker
In 2011 the nice chap George Lawrence who was the starter at Kingsbarns had an amazing golf tee collection he’d been building for years. Players who had unique tees gave them to George. I gave George a Golf Space tee which was proudly displayed. George retired and new starter David Wilkie too over. David is doing something similar, building a ball marker collection. I’m happy to report that the Hooked On Golf Blog marker is one of the very first, prominently displayed right where players pick up score cards and tees! Look for it when you’re there!
HOG Ball Marker at Kingsbarns! Glorious!
I’m hurting right now. It is painful to write about Kingsbarns and look at my photos. I’m aching to go back and it has only been a week. I’ll be back no doubt. Hopefully sooner than two years.
Hooked On Golf Blog Kingsbarns Golf Links Review
Kingsbarns Photo Gallery (now 100 images)