Situated a little bit off the beaten track, the course at Playa Mujeres lies to the north of the popular Mexican resort of Cancún, laid out on a largely unspoiled spit of land that leads to the rather remote outpost of Isla Blanca, between the Chacmochuc Lagoon and the Caribbean Sea.
The 18-hole Greg Norman-designed course at Playa Mujeres Golf Club fits easily into a sizable, 930-acre development and visitors have been playing its two returning nine holes since 2005. However, such is the ease with which the layout fits the property, an additional 9 holes have been mapped out for a future expansion of the golf facility.
The 172-yard 6th is the short hole to watch very closely on the front nine as “Big Al,” the resident alligator, lurks close to the green. Forget about searching for stray tee shots here! On the inward half, the 386-yard 16th is a beautiful par four set close to the beach and it’s a real tough nut to crack because it always plays against the wind.
This Greg Norman design is flat and was in very good condition located about 20 minutes north of Cancun. Take your sunscreen here as the sun is relentless. There is one really great view of the ocean behind the sixteenth green.
The fairways are usually wide but there is no real “first cut” as the vegetation is thick and goes along both sides of many holes other than the water holes. Some of the fairways are too narrow for the hole. I played abysmally off the tee and paid the price with a high score due to the vegetation where I often had to punch out or had a lost ball. It was a fairly windy day but I believe the vegetation to be the biggest defense to the golf course. I played the 6775 Gold tees while the Black tees are at 7218 and the silver at 6342 yards. The indexes respectively are 74.5/139, 72.5/132 and 70.2/126. The vegetation often is on top of sand so sometimes you are forced to hit a bunker shot while crouched over due to the overhanging vegetation.
It is a resort course and unlimited golf packages are available through the resort.
The first nine hole sit to one side of the entrance road to the golf course with the second nine on the other side which is closer to the ocean.
The first hole is a par 4 of 392/354/338 with water down the right side to almost 300 yards out ending in sand and trees. There are two bunkers on the left side with the green relatively unprotected. I found the water with a slight fade and two bounces right. It has a very large green for a hole of this length. This is a harder starting hole than typically found at a resort course.
The second hole is a par five of 550/506/488 and is the number one index. There is a waste are around 282 yards out from the back tee that is about 30 yards wide. The fairway has a bunker right for the second shot as well as a bunker right and left nearer the green.
The third hole is a short par 3 of 145/138/128 with water in front from the back tee ending in a long bunker. The green is slightly tilted towards the water. It is a nice short par 3.
The fourth plays at 437/366/350 and is a slight dogleg right with the bunker strangely enough on the right side just 200 yards from the back tee. The green has protective bunkers left and two to the right including a somewhat pot bunker. The green narrows behind the left bunker leaving the left side as a difficult pin placement.
Five is the second par 5 at 553/533/508 and is listed as the second hardest hole on the front nine. It is a big horseshoe to the left with seemingly a jungle of trees on the left side. The hole ends with a large bunker eating into the green so a back right pin position is challenging. I played the hole poorly but I liked the concept of it.
Six is a mid-length par 3 o 172/158/141. There is water once again in front of the two longest tees but it stops well before the green so it is not really in play. There is a large bail-out front of the green. A bunker sits on the right side of the green which is slanted towards the water. It’s a pretty hole, but also a standard hole.
Seven is a longer par 4 of 469/452/417 with another sandy waste area 300-350 yards out. This hole feels like you found an oasis in the trees such is the density of the trees on either side of the fairway. The waste area creeps close to the green.
The eighth hole is a dogleg right playing at 434/401/362 and I thought was the best hole on the front nine as there is a fairway bunker left and then a pond with bunkers on both sides of the pond that fronts the green which sits to the right side of the hole. There is a bail-out area left of the green but it should be unnecessary from all but the back tee.
Nine feels like the first hole a bit in that water goes down most of the right side of the fairway on this par 4 of 434/401/362 yards. Once again the fairway stops around 270-325 yards out with a sandy area that crosses the entire fairway. A pond sits off to the left but should not be in play to this green that sits off to the right. I did not like that it was the second hole in a row with a similar feel to the green location. The hole has sand and trees all the way down the left.
After getting refreshed at the clubhouse you turn to a par 4 of 438/410/358 which has a pinched fairway. I did not care for the hole as I thought it was too narrow even though the green has no bunkers.
The eleventh is a par 3 of 197/184/158 yards playing along the road although you don’t see it due to the jungle of trees. Water lines the entire right side and the green ends right against it. Two bunkers front the green. I found this to be the par 3 I liked the most even though I splashed my ball by fading it in too much.
The twelfth is a par 4 of 446/418/389 with water all down the right from the tee to the green. There are two bunkers on the right side of the fairway with the first having an island of trees in it. I liked the hole.
Thirteen is a shorter par 5 of 519/502/489 that is a dogleg right with a large fairway bunker on the left eating into half of the fairway but it really is not in play on either the tee shot or second. The green has no bunkers. I felt this was perhaps the easiest hole on the golf course. You do get a view of the ocean at the end of the hole.
The fourteenth tee has a similar view to behind the thirteenth tee and is a par 4 of 463/434/411 playing as a dogleg right. Once again the fairway is very wide with a large fairway bunker is on the left side to force you to take either a shorter line or a bolder line down the right. The green sits back on the left a bit and has three bunkers to the left. The green is large with many undulations. It is another fine hole.
The fifteenth is a short par 3 of 164/156/144 yards that was not much of a golf hole. It has a raised green with run-offs front, right and back. The bunker on the left eats into the green much like you find in an Australian sandbelt course. Maybe this is the easiest hole.
The sixteenth takes you to the beach itself whereas on 13 and 14 you have to sort of work to see it. It is a short par 4 of 386/367/337 with a wide fairway and four bunkers fronting the green. This hole is designed to play into the wind but also designed to ensure you see the ocean from the green itself as it is raised and there is no vegetation behind the green.
Seventeen turns you back inland with a par 5, the longest hole on the course at 597/579/570 yards. It is a sharp dogleg right and after the turn water runs down the right all the way to the green. There is a bunker left at the turn and two more fairway bunkers left and right short of the green that come into play for the second shot. The green’s right side is against the water. This is a hard earned par and I hole I liked.
The final hole is a 460/442/414 par 4 and has water down the entire right side. There is a fairway bunker on the right side that is long but well short of the green and another large sand area with trees inside on the left side of the green. The wind from the ocean should help keep a tee shot from going right into the water. Water has continued on the right side of the green. It is a tough finish.
From this review you can see that water is often used on this course and unfortunately, it is always on the right side. This makes many of the holes have a similar look and feel. But for a resort course, it is okay and one you would like to play 2-3 times during a week’s stay.
I just returned from playing 8 straight days Playa Mujeres. I am a 1 handicap. This was part of a golf package with the on-site Dreams and Secrets resorts. First of all, the resorts are new and beautiful. The bad news is that the beach is too far north of Cancun's hotel zone and is seaweed/feces infested--so in this case don't drink or possibly swim in the water.
This was my second visit to the course. I originally played it during its opening in 2006. Overall, it is a good test of golf. The winds are typically strong, which is the course's greatest defense. The greens are paspallum and the course conditions were exceptional. Overall, the par 5s as a group are excellent and challenging. The second shots on all of the par 5s are noteworthy and tight. Holes to note: #2 (a downwind par 5), #5 a double dog leg par 5 with elevated green, #8 a straight away par 4 with a very demanding green complex, #13 the first of the ocean holes, #15 a moderate length par 3 along the ocean with a green complex that resembles a huge ant hill (a really good redan type of hole but the green is not sloped) and #16 a shortish par 4 up a hill to the ocean (this is the course's well deserved signature hole) where the winds forced me to play 3-4 extra clubs (based on elevation change and 20-30 mph winds). Other than the ocean holes, the rest of the course plays throughout the mangroves.
Overall, this was a very good golf experience because I could get around by myself in the early morning hours and make breakfast with my wife by 9:30--that's a big deal when you are married to a golf widow.