The first course at Vista Vallarta opened in April 2001 and it’s a Signature Jack Nicklaus design – laid out on the highest part of the property – offering golfers magnificent views of Puerto Vallarta and the Marina.
Tom Weiskopf designed the other course here and golfers first teed it up shortly after the Nicklaus opened, in November 2001 to be precise. It’s routed over totally different terrain to that found on Jack’s course – with dense vegetation and deep ravines to traverse – and provides a fine, contrasting 18-holes.
The Nicklaus course didn’t take long to make its mark on the golfing stage because, a year after its inauguration, it hosted the World Cup of Golf and the Japanese team of Shigeki Maruyama and Toshi Izawa held off the strong USA team of David Toms and Phil Mickelson to win the tournament with a score of 36-under-par.
On the front nine, many golfers rate the tough, 550-yard par five 3rd hole very highly as it requires three full blows to find the blind, elevated green in regulation – the hole rises steadily from tee to green, ending in a stunning vantage position over Banderas Bay.The last four holes deliver a final flourish to the round, starting with the par three 15th, played across water. This short hole is followed by a well bunkered, doglegged par four then an uphill par three that plays to every inch of its 170-yard distance. The home hole is also very strong, a par four measuring 445 yards with a creek down the left side of a fairway that doglegs left to the 18th green.