Cabo Real, at the southern tip of Mexico's Baja Peninsula, was created in the mid 1980s as an enormous, 3,000-acre resort development and its seven hotels along the coastline of the Sea of Cortez supply a steady stream of vacation golfers to this 18-hole course.
The opening six holes rise through a desert landscape at the foot of a rugged mountain range with the 454-yard 5th running along the edge of an arroyo to a green sited at the highest point on the course, some 450 feet above the coast.
The lush, emerald fairways of the back nine are routed over gentler terrain, moving towards the water’s edge at the short par four 14th, then along the shoreline at the par three 15th hole, before turning back uphill toward the clubhouse.
The task of laying out a course was originally allocated to another, lesser known, architect but when the developers discovered that El Dorado next door was to be a Nicklaus signature course, they employed another designer “name” to match their competitor – a case of keeping up with the golfing Jones’s you might say!
Cabo Real GC was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jnr in the 1980’s as part of a massive real estate development.
The public access course has had the nines reversed and now starts quietly winding down the mountain from the clubhouse until the par 4 5th hole touches the sea- the remainder of the nine heads back up the mountain.
I knew that the course had originally included a hole along the beach which was sold off for development at an exhorbitant price, and that a new hole had been added in it's place..
At this stage in proceedings I was thinking that Cabo was a pleasant resort style course with a couple of interesting holes... that is...until I played the back nine!
The back nine is a different story altogether as the course heads into higher terrain with more elevation change through the holes, great views- all beautifully framed by the cactus, desert and mountains…The holes are varied, picturesque, strategic and challenging, and I was impressed.
Notable holes include:
- The par 4 5th hole with green on the beach
- the par 4 11th hole with rising turning fairway well protected by bunkers and and elevated tabletop green
- the picturesque and challenging par 5 12th hole
- the testing par 4 14th hole with its long gully carry off the tee
- the tricky dogleg par 4 17th hole
- the slightly whacky par 4 finishing hole with a shallow, but very very wide (85 metres) green with an all water carry for the approach…
Cabo Real exceeded my expectations, and should be on everyone’s itinerary for golfing in Cabo!!
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
The distinguishing feature of the club is how it provides two distinct different 9-hole layouts. The front works its way to the ocean and while architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr, had to smartly squeeze holes into a very tight acreage, the routing is done quite well. Getting the most out of the property is always a test for any architect and the challenge in doing so at Cabo Real has been done with great care and attention to getting the details right.
The back nine moves into the higher terrain and it features a number of creative hole differentiations. The final trio of par-4 holes is especially good. There's also testing holes at the par-4 11th and the final two holes on the outward nine play back uphill to the clubhouse area.
Plenty of people who come to Cabo will likely head to such high caliber facilities such as Cabo del Sol, Diamante and Quivira. Rightly so. But the aforementioned are not inexpensive.
Cabo Real truly flies "under the radar" yet it gives a worthy test and the juxtaposition between front and back nines makes for an entertaining day on the course.
by M. James Ward
Some people need some time after their flight arrives to destination on the first day. It is not my case, despite a 4hs delay in the Long Haul Flight and after 24hs travelling I landed 4pm at Cabo San Jose Airport and 5:15pm I was on the first tee at Cabo Real.
It is the other course visited in 2014 which we could not play due to the Irrigation System Smash by Hurricane Odille. It happened in September but still in December the repair was not completed, so then we were only able to see the Club House and 18th green (a huge 100yds wide green).
When I planned the trip for my group we decided not to included as I had not played it, but felt it necessary to test it in order to include it in future trips to Los Cabos.
It was a very fast 2h15min round in a nice sunny afternoon, but good enough to evaluate it and confirm it is a great course to be played at least once when travelling to the low end of the Baja California Peninsula.
It has only one hole close to the Ocean but fatnastic views from all of them and the best part of the course is when you get to the highest end and start to go back towards the Club House who has the best fajitas in town!
Paspalum Grass coast to coast kept in amazing condition, this course surprised me really a lot. RTJ II has done an excellent work taking advantage of the views, the natural contorns of the land and the highest parts of it which give you some very nice downhill shots specially in par 3 15th, par 4 17th and the finishing hole.
Is it as great as Quivira, Diamante Dunes or Cabo del Sol Ocean? NO! But it is a great test, a fun course and a very well operated facility. Is it worth a replay on next trip. ABSOLUTELY!