Top 50 Golf Courses of Mexico 2018
Our first ranking chart for Mexico was established a decade ago when we introduced a Top 15 and we’ve gradually expanded the number of courses in this listing since then, producing a Top 40 during our last update exercise two years ago. This time, we’re adding another ten tracks from our Mexican database to the national standings so this is the first publication of a Top 50 for Mexico.
Organised golf in the country goes back a long way to Orizaba in the state of Veracruz, where Santa Gertrudis Golf Club was formed in 1894 by a group of Scottish workers who founded the Santa Gertrudis Jute Factory. The club’s original course was a 6-hole layout that was later extended to the 9-hole course which is still in play today.
Other clubs soon followed: San Pedro Golf Club in 1900 then Mixcoac Golf Club in 1901, though these two clubs merged soon after to form Mexico Country Club in 1905. Twenty years later, Mexico would become one of the six founding members of the Federación Mexicana de Golf – sadly, Gertrudis Golf Club was somehow overlooked but it still survives in the modern era.
One of the half dozen clubs involved in the federation’s inauguration in 1926 was Chapultepec Heights Country Club, now known as Club de Golf Chapultepec, which hosted the last two editions of the WGC-Mexico Championship (the latest event was won only the week before last by Phil Mickelson) so it’s comforting to realise that such an historic track is as relevant today as it was almost 100 years ago.
Moving on to our new Top 50 for Mexico, we have five courses remaining in the same position, nine moving up, twenty-five falling down and eleven entering for the first time. The national number 1 is ranked within the upper echelons of our World Top 100.
That Mexican number 1 course is the Dunes at Diamante Golf Club, a Davis Love III design that’s been ensconced at the top of our listings since 2012. Located just outside San Lucas on the southern tip of the Baja California Sur peninsula, the Diamante club now boasts two fabulous 18-hole layouts following the unveiling of the Tiger Woods-designed El Cardonal course four years ago.
Our Argentina correspondent Javier Pintos visited Diamante last summer and had this to say about his playing experience on the Dunes: “each hole has a challenge, each one has a trademark, everything is totally special… it is not easy to get here, but if you have the chance go and play. I know many will want to play El Cardonal but this one has a better piece of land and design… it is a Top 50 course in the world.”
Retaining the number 2 slot in our chart, a position it’s clung onto since relinquishing its #1 status six years ago, the Ocean course at Cabo del Sol lies a mere 23 kilometres to the east of Diamante, where the Jack Nicklaus Signature Design has enchanted visiting golfers for the best part of twenty-five years now. Featuring seven sensational ocean-front holes along the Sea of Cortés – and three of the finest finishing holes to be found anywhere – the Ocean course is laid out on what Jack once described as “the best piece of property I’ve ever seen”.
Continue another 23 kilometres along the Mexican Federal Highway 1 and you’ll arrive at Querencia Private Golf & Beach Club and Tom Fazio’s first golf project in Mexico, which rises one place to number 3, a position it last held in 2010. A reviewer was invited here a couple of months ago and was pretty impressed by what he found: ”the layout plays fair but [is] still pretty challenging… the club’s exclusivity and limited play policies made for a VIP experience… conditions of the course were immaculate and greens were rolling perfect… Querencia may not be Fazio’s best design but it is still a beautiful course that has a solid layout… great staff, service and 5-star facilities.”
Los Cabos is certainly a world-class golfing destination, with courses designed by some of the world’s best known golf architects and players, and it was named by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) as the ‘Latin America & Caribbean Golf Destination of the Year’ for 2017. Such is the quality of the golf product here, and on the Baja California Sur peninsula in general, more than half the tracks in our Top 20 for Mexico are located in this region.
On the opposite side of the country, the resort district of Cancún and the adjoining Riviera Maya lies along the Caribbean coastline of Quintana Roo, on the east side of the Yucatán Peninsula, and it’s a real golfing hot spot. The highest ranked course in this region is the El Camaleón at Mayakoba (up one place to number 7) in Playa del Carmen, and this Greg Norman design has hosted the PGA Tour's OHL Classic at Mayakoba event since its inception in 2007. It has everything you’d expect from a top resort course – immaculate conditions, a memorable eighteen holes and fabulous service.
On the Pacific seaboard of mainland Mexico , the Puerto Vallarta region is renowned for the quality of its golf courses, with the Four Seasons Punta Mita resort boasting a couple of terrific 18-hole Jack Nicklaus layouts. The Pacifico appeared first in 1999 – it’s optional par three 3rd named “Tail of the Whale” plays to an island green around 200 yards from a coastal teebox – and this course is currently ranked two places higher than its younger stablemate, the Bahia (up one to number 8), which enjoys wonderful panoramic views of Banderas Bay.
The biggest climber in our new standings is situated a 4½-hour drive inland from Punta Mita at Guadalahara Country Club (up four to number 10). The club was founded in 1909, though its course dates back to 1942 when Texas John Bredemus laid out the fairways within a new seventy-five hectare property acquired by the club. Lorena Ochoa, the best Mexican golfer and the best female Latin American golfer of all time, developed her game on this course and she still maintains a close relationship with the club.
The highest of our eleven new entries shoots straight into our new Top 50 at number 12 and it’s another stellar Baja California Sur layout, the recently opened Rees Jones-designed course at Danzante Bay Golf Club, near the small resort town of Loreto. Built in two phases, eleven holes in 2016 then the remaining seven holes last year, the course is the stunning sporting centrepiece of an upmarket residential development that’s located in a landscape of “part desert, part mountain, part sand dune” overlooking the uninhabited Isla Danzante in the Sea of Cortés.
|1||Diamante (Dunes)||No change|
|2||Cabo del Sol (Ocean)||No change|
|3||Querencia (Fazio)||Up 1|
|5||Chileno Bay||Up 1|
|6||Four Seasons Punta Mita (Pacifico)||Down 1|
|7||Mayakoba - El Camaleon||Up 1|
|8||Four Seasons Punta Mita (Bahia)||Up 1|
|9||El Dorado||Down 2|
|11||Diamante (El Cardonal)||Up 1|
|12||Danzante Bay||New entry|
|13||Vista Vallarta (Nicklaus)||Down 3|
|15||Cabo del Sol (Desert)||Up 1|
|16||Palmilla (Mountain & Arroyo)||Up 1|
|17||Vista Vallarta (Weiskopf)||Down 4|
|18||Vidanta Puerto Peñasco (Nicklaus)||New entry|
|20||Puerto Los Cabos||No change|
|21||Playa Paraiso||No change|
|22||Cabo Real||Up 3|
|23||Moon Palace (Lakes & Dunes)||Down 5|
|25||Riviera Maya||Down 10|
|26||The Links at Las Palomas||New entry|
|27||Playa Mujeres||Down 1|
|28||Riviera Cancun||New entry|
|29||El Rio||Down 1|
|32||Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta (Norman)||New entry|
|33||Isla Navidad (Ocean/Mountain)||Down 2|
|34||El Tigre||Down 7|
|35||Cancun (El Tinto)||New entry|
|36||San José||Down 14|
|37||Estrella del Mar||New entry|
|38||Bosque Real||Down 9|
|39||Hard Rock - Riviera Maya||Down 4|
|40||Tres Vidas||Down 10|
|41||Tres Marias (Championship)||Down 7|
|42||Las Misiones||Down 9|
|43||Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta (Nicklaus)||New entry|
|44||Las Parotas||Down 7|
|45||La Loma||Down 9|
|46||Atlas Country Club||Down 8|
|47||Club Campestre de Monterrey (Sierra & Silla)||Down 8|
|48||Los Encinos||Down 8|
|49||Puerto Cancun||New entry|
To view further details of our new Mexico Top 50 rankings click the link.
We’re always eager to know what you think when we re-rank our national listings so if you’d like to correspond with us regarding our newly enlarged Mexico Top 50 then by all means feel free to click the “Respond to this article” link at the top or at the bottom of this page to give us your opinion.
Top 100 Golf Courses