Estrella del Mar lies close to the resort city of Mazatlán on the Pacific coast of Mexico, less than ten kilometres from the international airport. The golf course is an integral component of an 850-acre gated residential development, which offers golfers the services of a John Jacobs Golf School & Academy in addition to its 18-hole layout.
Twenty years after it debuted in 1996, the Robert Trent Jones Jnr-designed course was refurbished, with greens converted to salt-tolerant paspalum grass putting surfaces. Holes are routed around a number of water hazards – a combination of coastal lagoons and man-made ponds – with some of the fairways playing to greens set close to the sandy shoreline.
Highlight holes include the 137-yard 6th (the tee shot carries across a pond to the kidney-shaped green), the 547-yard 11th (the fairway snakes past a couple of small lakes on either side of the fairway), and the 399-yard 18th, which is an attractive par four finisher playing to a home green that’s framed by an ocean backdrop.
Estrella del Mar Golf Course is located right at our resort, and admittedly, this par-72 7,015 yards layout is my personal favorite in Mazatlán. Not only is this course photogenic but having hosted the Canadian PGA TOUR Mexico Championship in 2011 as well as three PGA TOUR Latin-America Mazatlán Opens, it will also test your abilities.
Majestic palm trees line fairways that are generous with wide landings and low-cut rough. As you navigate the eleven lakes, you’ll appreciate the feel of playing under a tropical sky and then you’ll hear the waves lapping as you parallel to the Pacific Ocean. There are six holes that hug the shoreline serving up spectacular views of the Sea of Cortez and more than a little trouble.
Estrella del Mar boasts several signature holes here, but the 15th, par-4 dogleg left from the back tees is reportedly the toughest on tour. Your drive must cross a pond to a narrow landing area with out of bounds on the right side, and your approach shot must cross the pond again, with prevailing winds in your face, to well-guarded green snuggled up against the sandy shoreline. Let me say this hole lived up to its reputation.
In 2017 the seriously-small greens were enlarged and converted to the newest Pure Destiny Paspalum salt tolerant grass, and I must agree with Brian Werner, Managing Director, that “converting the greens allows our members and resort guests to enjoy a more forgiving experience.”
2018 green fees range from USD 75 to 130 depending on the season but include shared cart, range privileges and a bottle of water. A set of TaylorMade clubs rent for $30-40.
Dave Finn is our Canadian Correspondent. Click to read his entire article on Mazatlán.