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Golf Travel Review: Sheraton Hacienda del Mar – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Written by: Tony Korologos | Friday, August 16th, 2013
Categories: Golf For WomenGolf LifeGolf LifestyleHOG World TourReviewsTravel

When I started my golf blog in 2004, one of the first golf blogs EVER, I never imagined that nine years later I’d be still doing it, let alone traveling all over the world to fantastic golf destinations like Los Cabos, Mexico. I’m truly thankful but I don’t consider myself “lucky.” I’ve worked this thing hard for years. Sitting by the pool at Sheraton Hacienda del Mar was fantastic and felt like a great reward for that hard work. I kept telling myself as I basked in the great Cabo weather, listening to the thunderous waves from the Sea of Cortez crashing on the shoreline and sipping a frosty beverage, “this does not suck.”

Now let’s take a look at Sheraton Hacienda del Mar, the fantastic resort in Cabo.

Sheraton Hacienda del Mar, Los Cabos, Mexico - click to see more

Sheraton Hacienda del Mar, Los Cabos, Mexico – click to see more

Location

Cabo San Lucas is located on the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula, 1000 miles south of Los Angeles. The Baja California Peninsula is the same piece of land which extends south of San Diego, not part of the mainland which most of Mexico resides on. Being that far south means the weather is great all year. There is never a “bad” time to go to Cabo on vacation because the average temperature through the year is 78 degrees.

The Cabo area is a desert. Not much rain falls in the area, only about nine inches per year. That means that there’s almost never a time that you’ll need an umbrella on the golf course, and rain checks are pretty much nonexistent. The sun shines 350 days a year.

Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Overview

Sheraton Hacienda del Mar is an impressive property covering 28 acres of beachside real estate. The resort is broken up into separate structures, the main hotel being the largest. Other smaller satellite structures house rooms, villas and suites.

Pools

Five resort pools wind their way along the beach, between the resort structures and the sand. There’s a great infinity pool which I spent a lot of time in, frosty beverage in hand. The views are stunning.

Love the infinity pool! - click to zoom

Love the infinity pool! – click to zoom

While basking in the Cabo sun, a pool concierge takes care of all needs, from towels to frosty beverages and food.

Rooms/Suites

In total there are 270 guest rooms/suites at Sheraton Hacienda del Mar, all with fantastic views of the Sea of Cortez and beach side terraces.

There are five room types for all budgets. Rooms start at a comfortable 470 square feet and go up to 1,625 square foot Virreyes Suites.

Deluxe Room - click to see more

Deluxe Room – click to see more

The most basic rooms (the “Deluxe Rooms”) are great. The Deluxe Rooms feature oceanfront views or garden views, private terraces, jacuzzi tubs with separate showers, LCD TV’s and a work desk to blog from.

The most extravagant option for lodging is the Verreyes Suites. The Virreyes are two level suites, like condos with full kitchens.  They come in three or four bedrooms with private terraces overlooking the sea. Be careful if you book these. You may never want to go back home.

Ocean view private terrace - click to see more

Ocean view private terrace – click to see more

Between the Deluxe Rooms and Verryes Suites are the 910 square foot One-Bedroom Suites, 900 square foot Parlor Suites for families, and the 1,408 square foot Imperial Suites.

Resort Amenities

For the kids aged 4-12, del Mar offers the Adventure Kids Club. Supervised indoor and outdoor activities include video games, crafts, swimming, learning Spanish, camping and other adventures.

Fitness center

Fitness center – click to zoom

The fitness center is impressive. I’d call it a mini Gold’s Gym. Everything a person needs to workout from free weights to elliptical machines are available.

Spa whirlpools - click to zoom

Spa whirlpools – click to zoom

When done with the workout one can walk a few feet to the spa for massages, body treatments, salon services, sauna, whirlpools and more. I spent quite a long time enjoying the spa and all it had to offer.

Golf

The property is the home of the wonderful Cabo del Sol Golf Club. Cabo del Sol is a Jack Nicklaus designed desert course with many tremendous seaside holes.

Cabo del Sol Ocean Course - Los Cabos

Cabo del Sol Ocean Course – Los Cabos – click to read review

Fore more information, visit the Hooked On Golf Blog Cabo del Sol Golf Club review.

Dining

Sheraton Hacienda del Mar has dining options for every type of eater, from the picky like me to the high end sushi types. There are casual restaurants like the Sports Bar and swim-up Delfines Bar. The higher end De Cortez Grill offers fine dining with ocean side seating. I greatly enjoyed the atmosphere of the De Cortez, sitting outside watching the moon rise over the crashing waves on the shore. Wonderful.

Local Attractions

The Sheraton Hacienda del Mar is a completely self contained vacation resort. One could spend a week there and never leave. But if you do venture out, there are many wonderful activities to do and places to visit. Here are just a few:

Golf
Sea of Cortez
Cabo’s famous sea arch
Whale Watching
Boating
Scuba diving
Old Town
Numerous bays and marinas
Old Lighthouse

Conclusion

Writing this article made me want to call up Sheraton Hacienda del Mar and arrange heading back there asap! The resort is fantastic and offers everything one could want or need when vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Related Links

Cabo del Sol Golf Club Review

Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Photo Gallery

Sheraton Hacienda del Mar website


Golf Course Review: Cabo del Sol – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Written by: Tony Korologos | Monday, August 5th, 2013
Categories: Course ReviewsGolf CoursesGolf LifeGolf LifestyleHOG World TourReviewsTravel
Tags:

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

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.

Location

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.

Design

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.

cabo golf

Carve this tee shot left to right. Try not to let the Sea of Cortez distract you!

Tee

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.

Fairway

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.

cabo pirate ship

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.

Green

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.

cabo san lucas golf

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.

golf tacos

Make your own tacos! Brilliant – click to zoom

Tacos

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…

Facilities

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.

Cabo del Sol clubhouse

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.

People

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.

Conclusion

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.

Related Links

Hooked On Golf Blog Cabo del Sol photo gallery

Cabo del Sol website


New Golf Travel Gallery: Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar Golf & Spa Resort – Los Cabos, Mexico

Written by: Tony Korologos | Thursday, July 18th, 2013
Categories: Golf LifeGolf LifestyleHOG World TourTravel

Greetings from beautiful Los Cabos, Mexico.  So glad to be here.  Crazy life I live right now.  I was on the North Sea in northern Scotland a week or so ago, and now I’m on the Sea of Cortez!

Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar Golf & Spa Resort - Los Cabos, Mexico

Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar Golf & Spa Resort – Los Cabos, Mexico

I’ve just spent some time in the pool with my Nikon and uploaded some photos of the current Hooked On Golf Blog World Tour location, Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar Golf & Spa Resort – Los Cabos, Mexico.

Check ’em out by clicking the photo above. More soon.


Gushing Comments: HOG World Tour Stop at Scotland’s Kingsbarns Golf Links

Written by: Tony Korologos | Sunday, July 14th, 2013
Categories: Golf CoursesGolf LifeHOG World TourTravel
Kingsbarns Golf Links

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.

New Friend

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

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.

Kingsbarns

Gordon my caddie lasers my putt at 70 yards!

Kingsbarns

Kingsbarns Chili

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!

Kingsbarns

HOG Ball Marker at Kingsbarns! Glorious!

Conclusion

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.

Related Links

Hooked On Golf Blog Kingsbarns Golf Links Review

Kingsbarns Photo Gallery (now 100 images)


New Photo Gallery: Balcomie Golf Links – Crail, Scotland

Written by: Tony Korologos | Friday, July 12th, 2013
Categories: Golf CoursesGolf LifeGolf LifestyleHOG World TourSite NewsTravel

I’m happy to post my latest, really cool image gallery from the latest HOG World tour trip to Scotland last week.  My pals and I took a 20 minute drive southeast of St. Andrews to the town of Crail.  In Crail is a tremendous Scottish links course, Balcomie Golf Links.  Old Tom Morris himself laid out Balcomie Golf Links back in 1895, the same year he rolled out the “New Course” at St. Andrews.

Balcomie Golf Links

Fantastic Balcomie Golf Links in Crail, Scotland

There’s a second course on the property which opened in 1998 called Craighead Links.  That one was designed by Gil Hanse, designer for the 2016 Olympic Games golf course.  Didn’t get a chance to play that one.  That’s a good reason to head back there!

Balcomie Golf Links, Scotland

Locals tee off on the 10th at Balcomie Golf Links, Crail, Scotland – click for more

Crail is also the home of Crail Golfing Society, the 7th oldest golf club in the world.  What a cool club to be a member of!  Thanks to the Crail Golfing Society for letting us my friends and I hang out in your lovely pub and enjoy your fantastic food!

More on Balcomie later on but for now click either photo to see the whole gallery of Balcomie Golf Links images!


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