El Tigre’s 18 holes are part of a huge resort called Paradise Village and professionals used the golf course as a final qualifying venue for the 2002 World Cup which was hosted at the nearby Vista Vallarta (Nicklaus) course.
Designed by the respected architectural partnership of Robert von Hagge and Rick Baril, the course at El Tigre is routed in two large loops with housing on both sides of most holes but fairways are wide enough to ensure that residential units never become too intrusive.
Many of the holes are doglegged, some with expansive waste areas – or “beach bunkers” as they’ve been called – and twelve of the greens are reached after water has been negotiated en route from the tee.
The par three 6th is a real feature on the outward half and it’s a spectacular hole, played to an island green fronted by a Scottish-style pot bunker. On the back nine, the island aspect of the par three 17th is encountered by golfers playing from the back markers, as this tee is located out in a lake, demanding an all carry tee shot to the green.
El Tigre is a fun course. I would not categorize it as a resort course in that it is surrounded by houses.The first hole is a dogleg left with water down the left side and four fairway bunkers on the right elbow. A pretty hole with a waterfall left and a peninsula green. Play conservative and favor the right. The 2nd hole is a mid-length par three. The green tilts left with bunker left and two in the back. The third is a long left leaning par four with water all the way down the left side. Favor the right side and take an extra club to this elevated green. The first par five leans right with fairway bunkers left and a large waste bunker right that slopes into the water hazard. Play it as a three shotter, off the tee play right of the fairway bunkers and then stay left. The 5th is a really strong hole, dogleg left. A water carry off the tee especially if you get aggressive and cut the corner, you will have a short iron in, but….The 6th is the shortest hole, a mid-length island green with a pot bunker in front. A neat, but sphincter puckering hole. The 7th is a big dogleg right with about 20 bunkers with a lot of them on the inside elbow. Do not muck around with trying to cut the corner, stay left of the bunker farm. You will have a long approach and there is BAB wrapping the green front right and back. I am surprised this is rated the 15th handicap hole. The 8th is the opposite hand of the 7th and only 3 yards longer. Instead of a bunker farm on the inside elbow there is a ginormous waste bunker that is over 200 yards long and wraps itself around the green on the left side. The front ends with a three shot par five, dogleg right. There is a water hazard right starting about 250 yards out and the hole bends around it. For you second shot aim at the middle left elbow bunker. This will leave you with an attack wedge.
The back starts with a much more benign par five. Yes, there is a slight water carry and some fairway bunkers right but ten has a large fairway and can be reached in two. However, you will have to carry a large waste bunker right and avoid the small greenside bunkers. The 11th is a straight away birdie hole. Favor right of center to avoid the foursome of bunkers left. A water hazard does come into play on the left side about 75 yards out. The 12th is a long slightly downhill par 3. Two greenside bunkers right. Do not get too frisky with this one especially if you are a hooker as there is water all the way down the left. The 13th is a slight dogleg right and a good birdie hole. There is a large waste bunker on the right and you can cut a little of the corner to set up an attack iron. The dogleg left par five 14th is definitely reachable. There is a gaggle of bunkers on the inside elbow and one on the outside. Your second shot is a bit of hit and hope (of course with my game, all shots are) as there are about a dozen pot bunkers around the green. The 15th is a 221 yard par three and it is rated the easiest. The 16th is very similar to the 9th, except it is a par four. The 17th is an unforgettable hole. A 250 yard par three from an island tee with a water carry and water left and a large bunker as well. Difficult, but not all that unusual. The unusual part are the three tigers behind the tee box (caged). I played there pre-Tiger King, so I assume they are still there. I was told that occasionally they do let the tigers roam the course, yikes! The 18th may seem melodramatic after the Tiger experience, but the 18th is a tough hole. Over 600 yards and bending left with water just about the entire left side. There are also half a dozen fairway bunkers on the right side in the landing zone. Finally, a large bunker surrounds about 85% of the green with a narrow throat opening in the front.
A fun course that I would pay to play again.