Location: Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Course architect: Jack Nicklaus
Tee — Yardage | Rating / Slope:
Black — 7,139 | 74.1 / 142
Gold — 6,701 | 72.0 / 137
Blue — 6,216 | 69.4 / 131
White — 5,541 | 67.0 / 122
Red — 4,763 | 63.7 / 113
Saturday morning green fee: $$$$$ (Over $200)
Caddie service: No
Walker friendly: No
Fairways: Paspalum (TE Platinum)
Greens: Paspalum (TE Platinum)
Starter: Some people consider Quivira Golf Club the Pebble Beach of Mexico, but that shortchanges this Mexican masterpiece and fails to recognize its multiple personalities. Yes, it has spectacular holes perched high above the Pacific Ocean; but once the course turns inland, you could be in Scotland, the desert of north Scottsdale, Ariz., or in the ravines of Northern California. It’s an amusement park with 18 different rides, and the kid in us can’t wait to get off one and run to the next. The views are stunning, and so is the complimentary food and beverages at four food stations throughout the course.
Play because ...: The drama of the terrain. The fifth hole — 310 yards from the tips, with a drop from tee to green of 100 feet — and the dartboard-like appeal of the par-3 sixth hole get most of the attention. But the diversity of Quivira’s other 16 holes is the course’s strength. When Quivira exploded onto the scene in 2014, it signaled to the world that Los Cabos had upped its game and going to the southern tip of Baja was worth the trip. Golf magazine called it the best new international course to open that year. By 2018, Golf Digest ranked it No. 93 on its list of World's 100 Greatest Golf Courses.
Takeaway: Even Jack Nicklaus conceded that some people might have questioned his sanity in designing a course that required a mile-long cart ride between holes. The trip from No. 4 green to No. 5 tee involves more than 232 vertical feet of elevation gain. Grades along the hand-laid rock-work cart path approach 25 percent. Seeing the clubhouse recede in the distance builds suspense, not unlike that of the slow ascent of a rollercoaster to the ride’s first summit. And the heart definitely beats a bit faster when No. 5 finally comes into view, its tees, fairway and green clinging to the side of a cliff hundreds of feet above the ocean.
THE RATINGS [1 to 10 scale; 10 being the highest]
Food | Beverage: 9.2
Pro shop: 8.5
Pace of play: 9.5
THE COURSE | Scorecard
Best par 3: No. 13 (148 | 135 | 122 | 108 | 85 yards)
Golfers are asked to play over a chasm that falls away steeply to the beach on the right. The green, just 22 yards wide and 17 yards deep, is tucked into an amphitheater of rock 110 feet above the ocean. A rocky spire looms beyond the green. To the left, a shoulder of turf can kick a shot onto the putting surface. Were the superintendent even mildly sadistic, he could jack up the Stimp speed to take advantage of the green’s left-to-right cant and send balls trickling off the putting surface to Pachinko their way down the rocky cliff face and into the crashing surf below.
Best par 4: No. 5 (310 | 311 | 288 | 268 | 202 yards)
How often do risk / reward choices involve launching a blind tee shot out over the Pacific Ocean? Or playing a 200-yard lay-up to the last flat spot on the fairway before it drops away at grades of between 17 and 45 percent? Or playing a 70- to 80-yard wedge to a green 130 feet below, with nothing but ocean blue just 6 feet beyond the back fringe? Nail-biting, nerve-wracking, harrowing, yes, but exhilarating. If they allowed carts on this fairway, the beach 169 feet below would be strewn with wreckage. It’s a golf hole not to be forgotten.
Best par 5: No. 12 (635 | 595 | 578 | 520 | 482 yards)
Chosen by Golf Digest as the best seaside hole in 2015, No. 5 meanders down to the ocean while losing 182 feet in elevation between the back tee box and the 60-yard deep green. The hole doglegs twice, first right, then left. The semi-blind nature of the second shot necessitates a quick ride down the fairway to scope out your line. Otherwise, there is a stretch of native grass and sand left that guards 80 of the final 120 yards to the green. A photo op not to be missed: the shimmering confluence of the Sea of Cortez and Pacific Ocean beyond the green.
Rater: Dan Vukelich