Jack Nicklaus worked on his first ever Latin American project in 1993 when he laid out the Arroyo and Mountain nines at Palmilla Golf Club. Since then, he’s been the designer of choice for many developers in Mexico, constructing more than twenty courses across the country.
At the end of 2014, the Golden Bear completed work on Quivira, his sixth Los Cabos layout, which is located on a truly stunning property at the end of the Baja peninsula, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Focal point of an 1,850-acre luxury resort, this fabulous 18-hole layout is reputed to have taken around eight years to construct at a cost of $40 million.
“This is one of the great pieces of property in the world,” Nicklaus said. “We tried to create some excitement on the mountain and in the dunes, and I believe we’ve created a golf course that plays as spectacular as it looks.” With ocean views on all eighteen holes, Quivira has more coastal exposure than any other course in the region, even though a number of holes twist their way through dunes and desert.
The course starts out from the shoreline, with the opening three holes heading inland before switching direction at the par five 4th, which plays over a pond to a wide, rolling fairway framed by dunes.
A three-quarters of a mile ride then follows to the short par four 5th, as the cart path crosses arroyo-spanning bridges on a switchback ride up the side of a cliff to arrive at the tee. Measuring only 310 yards, it’s also rated stroke index 1 as it’s fraught with danger from start to finish.
Perched almost 300 feet above the waves crashing onto the rocks below, the tee plays down to a sliver of fairway that clings to the side of the granite cliffs before falling further to a small green that somehow defies gravity by not falling off the precipice onto the beach below – a truly stunning hole that’s one of Jack’s best ever designs.
The par three 6th and par four 7th continue to hug the strand before the routing moves inland, returning briefly at the short 13th, where an all-or-nothing tee shot is required to find a tiny green sitting on a granite shelf above the beach. The only par three on the back nine, this 148-yard little beauty is a real test, especially when the wind is up.
The 14th is a delightful hole, its bunkerless fairway doglegging abruptly to a long, thin “peek-a-boo” green that’s hidden in the dunes. After reaching the highest point on the course at the par five 15th, it’s downhill all the way to the finish, where the 18th returns to the beach.