Review for Quivira

Reviewer Score:


There are certain courses you could not put enough money in front of me to play again. Quivira is one of those courses.

I can understand and accept the attraction for others. I read much of the other reviews and can sympathize with their points of view. If one is going to the Los Cabos area and want a golf course designed to “chill out” with amazing views, then this the golf course for you. It is memorable and likely fun. The comfort stations are outstanding with the food, service, variety of drinks all top rate. The golf course is kept in very good condition. In some regards, it is the epitome of what a resort golf course should be, especially in an area where the emphasis is on sunshine, tequila, dos equs, margaritas, other cocktails, and tacos.

This course has been ranked by Golf Digest as a top 3 in Mexico and top 100 in the world. I have my theories as to why and they aren’t good. In my opinion, it is one of the worst golf courses I have ever played given that type of ranking. Of the 706 different courses I have played to this point, this one is #570.

But for me, this is a golf course of multiple personalities and lacks consistency. The back nine is considerably longer than the front nine and is built on terrible, sloped land. Due to the terrain, many of the holes are either silly, outright bad, or do not provide adequate challenge. To be clear, this course is built around the idea of how to get to the other side of the hill as well as playing around that hill. Designing an acceptable routing must have been quite the challenge. But for me, this is a prime example of an architect doing a project for the money, and not to create a worthy golf course. There is a lack of shaping in many of the holes. I don’t know why anyone wants to put a rock formation in the middle of a fairway nor build a hole where it is impossible to stop a ball from falling over the cliff behind it. Why are nearly every par fives steeply downhill and reachable with a mid iron or less for the longer hitter.

I get that every hole has a view of the Sea of Cortez…..if you stop and turn to look at various points of each hole. It is not as if the ocean is staring you in the face on every hole. That is good marketing to pull that off.

It begins okay with the first four holes playing both away and then back towards the clubhouse. I thought these holes were all above average and made me look forward to the rest of the course.

The first is a par 4 of 425/413/399 yards that slopes gently left to right with a bunker greenside right and higher ground left. It’s a nice starting hole.

The second is a long par 3 of 230/211/196 with a green angled diagonally left (closest) to right with a bunker front middle and back right and another rear right. It is a simple hole, but a nice one.

The third is a short par 4 346/301/284 that is meant to be driveable. It has three bunkers either short or to the right of the green. The green itself is sort of a boomerang. It is another good hole.

The fourth is the first par 5 and for me the best par 5 on the golf course at 674/650/580. From the two back tees you drive over a bit of water to a fairway that is a dogleg right, but you should play out to the left even though there is a small bunker in the middle of the fairway and a larger one to the left. There is another small fairway bunker in the middle to navigate around for the second shot. The fairway is wide but one can easily get off into the waste area of sand/rock. The green itself has one bunker front right and a slight fall off to the left. It has a good green on it.

If only the course stayed down in the valley.

Then you take a 0.75 mile cart ridge up a steep hill for perhaps the best view in golf from a smallish comfort station. It is splendid and for many I am certain it only justifies the green fee and time spent on the course. We spent 20 minutes here before proceeding to the fifth tee where the starter told us how to play the hole hitting straight down the left side as one dares and then wait to see if the ball arrives down on the green about ten seconds later. This is an almost 90 degree dogleg left par 4 of 330 yards but plays like 190 yard par 3. The turn of the hole goes down a very steep embankment that has mounds, waste areas and some plateaus in it that can stop a ball from proceeding down. Two in our group did not make the fairway ending up in the sand left. One other must have just kicked out from the sand on the left as his ball was on the fairway in one of those small waste areas about 100 yards up. They punched out or hit down and we watched all three balls go down towards the green which is perched down on a man-made shelf with potentially 300-500 feet (I don’t know) of cliff behind it. The view is spectacular whether from the tee looking behind you, out to the sea, or ahead of you. The view from the top of the fairway is equally pretty. The view on the green is perhaps the best of all as you notice the cliff. Oh, back to the golf, all three balls made their way down to the green with all three balls going through the green and over the cliff. My ball, however, was on the green…..having been stopped by a putter the previous group had inadvertently left on the green. I’ve never seen a green complex built so poorly as this other than perhaps the sixteenth at Tobacco Road. The golf hole is a complete waste.

A par 3 follows of 197/180/148 follows playing along the cliff edge. The green has raised ground to the right and a bunker below it on the left. There is a bit of land if you hit it short. It is an all or nothing hole with another fabulous view. But it plays so downhill that it plays 25-30 yards shorter than the yardage which makes it too easy. This is a wasted opportunity except from the back tees.

The seventh is a par four playing along the edge of the hill, a bit farther in from the cliff and is 447/400/377 yards. The fairway has a waste area that creeps into the fairway, a center bunker and is sloped right to left with a second middle fairway bunker as well as a bunker left of the green. Once again the views are terrific, but the hole had nothing exciting or dramatic to the hole itself.

Another par 4 follows at 399/376/348 with the bigger hitters taking on the fairway to the right of the waste area while the shorter hitters end up way below down a slope with a blind shot up the hill to where the green sits. A lot of balls end up down to the left way below the green due to the slope of the fairway. The green has a waste area which I questioned the reason for it as well as a bunker front middle. I thought this hole was on a bad piece of land and would have been better for housing.

I think we stopped at another comfort station before the next hole as there was a back-up. This comfort station took 35 minutes.

The ninth is a long slightly downhill par 3 of 243/220/198. You have to carry a waste area and there is a bunker in the front middle. There is plenty of room to miss to the right but if you miss to the left you go down a steep slope perhaps even into the rocks. It’s a long hole and somewhat dramatic if you are on your third or fourth cocktail. For me I thought it lacked definition.

At this point I was hoping things would improve but they really did not. The tenth hole is a long par five of 606/578/546 and is one of three par 5’s on the back. The back nine is a lot longer than the front nine, 1134 yards longer from the back tees and 1075 from the next set. I have rarely seen such a discrepancy in yardage.

This hole goes downhill for the tee shot and then really downhill for the second shot on this sharp dogleg right. The big hitters in our groups hit 6 irons in for their second shots such is the slope of the hole. The green is somewhat protected sitting slightly to the right. I disliked the hole as it was simply hit and watch it go.

The eleventh is a par 4 of 410/396/373 playing uphill with a split fairway of vegetation that itself sits on a ridge so the fairway has an upper tier and a lower tier as well as the upper tier/left side of the fairway is steeply sloped left to right back towards the valley/sea. I hit a ball down the left side of the left fairway. A worker at the top told me my ball had not quite cleared the vegetation in the middle and was down in there. 5 minutes later we gave up searching for it. Maybe this hole is as bad as the fifth. Certainly a golf hole should not have been built on such steeply sloped land. The green sits slightly to the right at the bottom of another slope. Ugh.

The twelfth is the longest hole on the golf course at 694/651/632 and doglegs steeply downhill first to the right and then back to the left. The longer hitters in our group cut both doglegs and hit 6 irons into the green for their second shots. The green is cliffside. There are no bunkers on this hole as the waste area is its defense, yet despite the doglegs there is plenty of room to land a ball. I played it poorly as I got lost thinking about how silly this hole is.

The short thirteenth is a nice par 3 of 162/148/133 built into the side of the cliff hill. There are small bunkers front left but huge rocks middle and to the right of this 22 yard deep green. It is a nice golf hole and the first hole I actually liked since the fourth.

Fourteen is a shorter par 4 of 388/381/339 yards and plays downhill to a wide fairway. It is a sharp dogleg right with a hill to carry as the green is settled into a dell of rocks and sand. I liked this hole. For the shorter hitter playing straight or to the left, you really get no roll as your tee shot hits the uphill fairway and you can be left with a semi-blind shot. I liked this hole as well and at this point I was counting…six holes I liked and eight I did not.

The fifteenth is the last par 5 on the course, another seemingly long hole that plays much shorter than the yardage listed due to the terrain. It is 617/575/542 yards playing uphill and then downhill. The longer players easily made the crest and had hybrids or less in again. I came close to making the crest but with the downhill second it became easier.

The sixteenth is silly. It is a par 4 of 539/491/468 that plays straight down the valley with hills on both sides of the fairway designed to bring balls back towards the middle. There is a tall rock formation that very much comes into play on the second shot if you are on the right side of the fairway. Who does this? Its not natural. Its goofy. I strongly disliked the hole.

I did like the seventeenth, another slightly downhill par 4 of some length at 539/491/481. The fairway is split and the second half slopes right to left with a middle bunker well short of the green and two bunkers left of the green which is angled to the left away from you.

Finally the eighteenth is here and it is another long par 4 of 531/486/439 that has no bunkers with a green situated to the left.

So overall in the end I liked seven holes, pushed on two and disliked nine. I did not think there is a single superlative golf hole. I will never understand the ranking of Quivira, but then I would not go back to figure out why. But as I said, if you want to play golf and not take it serious by wanting a good vibe, good food, good cocktails and great views, then this is the place for you. It just is not the place for golf.

Date: October 26, 2019

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