Cancún, on the east coast of Mexico, was an isolated little fishing port on the Yucatán peninsula until the late 1960s. Fast-forward some forty years from then and – after some serious financial input over the decades – it has become one of the main tourist destinations in the country.
The enormous number of new hotels and resorts in the area has been the catalyst for the construction of over a dozen great golf courses, enabling visiting golfers to play on top tracks designed by a wide range of the great and the good in American course architecture – from Robert Trent Jones II to Robert Von Hagge, Jack Nicklaus to Tom Fazio.
Moon Palace is one such Nicklaus design and its Jungle and Lakes 9-hole courses were augmented by a new 9-hole loop named Dunes in 2004. The Nicklaus team that laid out the original 18 holes was again responsible for these additional holes but the Dunes are distinctively different from the old resort-style design of the Jungle and Lake in both looks and playability.
Golfers wanting a carefree round of golf should stick to the Jungle/Lakes configuration which delivers a very pleasant parkland round of golf in relaxing surroundings. If, on the other hand, you want something more than the usual holiday game of golf then head for the Dunes nine where its tight fairways, forced carries over water and undulating sandy waste areas will provide a surprisingly tough test of your golfing ability.
I played the Lakes and Dunes 9s about 14 years ago a day after a huge monsoon. The hotel allowed me to go out and play, but warned me that there might be some puddles but that the course should dry out during the day.
I thought the course was a really nice, classic American style resort course. One which has lots of pristine bunkers and vast wide fairways in good condition. The course was flat but aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The only real 'signature' hole that stood out for me was a par 3 where the green was surrounded on most sides by water. What I thought was really cool, was the 'Beware of the Crocodile' sign on the walk up towards the green. It certainly added some additional nerves to my putt for par!
Overall it was a good experience to play the Moon and with unlimited golf there, is a no brainer.
Crocodiles, snakes, aardvarks and iguanas, oh my! These are just a few of the exotic animals and birds that you may see on this golf and nature safari. The Golden Bear’s mantra was to ensure that there would be the least amount of disruption to the delicate environment of the area and no impact on the local flora and fauna. The original 18, known as the Jungle and Lakes nines, opened in 2002 with 7165 yards that intertwines through dense jungle and rocky sloped lagoons. This course has been host to the Mexican Open and is covered in “paspalum”, the new salt-tolerant turf grass that has grown in popularity throughout the tropics. In 2005, the Dunes nine was unveiled with a desert feel because of the vast waste areas that encircle most of the holes. We played the Lakes and Dunes tracks. Both courses have water that comes into play on most holes. The Lakes course is the tighter of the two but The Dunes is definitely the more picturesque. Both courses had generous fairways but the rough is almost non-existent. If you do not hit the fairway there is not much to save you from the jungle that will “eat up” any errant shots. My favorite hole was #3 on The Dunes, a long 210 yard, uphill par 3 with bunkers and gorgeous canyon in front. However the next two holes that circle a large lake are top-notch. Even though the green fees are steep you will want for little else on this day. All of your food and beverages are included. In fact you can have three meals then belly up to their pool bar to reminisce about your day over a cocktail or two. So eat drink and be merry, you’re on vacation! To read more of Dave Finn's golf travel articles to Mexico visit http://golftravelandleisure.com/category/mexico-carribean/riviera-mexico/