Manzanillo, on Mexico’s west coast, has long been the country’s busiest port but in recent years it has attempted to reinvent itself as a holiday destination with the creation of the up-market resort of Isla Navidad.
Texan Robert von Hagge’s 27-hole course belongs to the Isla Navidad Country Club and it sits on a strip of land extending to over 1,200 acres between a lagoon and the Pacific Ocean. The three sets of nine holes offer a solid and searching test so don’t expect to come here and tee it up for some casual holiday golf.
The Lagoon nine are set out on swampy ground (where golfers are strongly advised to bring their bug spray) and are slightly inferior to the other two nines which make up the preferred 18-hole course.
The Ocean nine play along the coastline, with two feature holes, the short 3rd and doglegged par four 5th, played to greens that sit in the Pacific sand dunes, surrounded by seagrape and palm trees.
The Mountain nine are not actually routed through high ground (they lie between the beach and the nearby mountains) and are more a plantation nine. The 533-yard, par five 14th is one of the best holes on this loop, where tee shots must avoid fairway bunkers down the right before the hole turns left towards a green sited beside the beach.
Last words to Robert von Hagge, who is quoted as saying of this spectacular course, “My client was very generous because he provided us with the budget to support our creative effort. His only instructions (were) "do exactly what you said you would do with the land, but also do your very best". Obviously, his generosity provided us with an unprecedented opportunity to create a premier, world class, twenty seven holes of golf”.