Los Cabos (nicknamed Cabo) on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, has become one of the world’s top golf, fun and sun destinations. When the spectacular Quivira Golf Club opened in 2014, I was one of the fortunate journalists invited to meet its legendary designer, Jack Nicklaus, attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony and play the seaside marvel. I had a hunch that Quivira would be lauded.
Sure enough, during my last visit in May, Golf Digest announced that Quivira had just received a 2022 Golf Digest Editors’ Choice Award in the ‘Best Mexico & Central America’ category. This is the seventh consecutive year the club has been singled out for recognition by the sport’s most respected publication.
The magazine’s description of Quivira sums up the layout’s enduring appeal.
“At the tip of Baja (California) Sur is the newest of more than a dozen Jack Nicklaus layouts in Mexico, and perhaps his most compelling, with holes along and atop granite cliffs and sand dunes overlooking the Pacific,” the report stated. “Several lodging facilities nearby offer access,” notably Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf & Spa Resort, a deluxe all-inclusive, adults-only beachfront property favored by golfers.
Opened to acclaim in 2014, the Jack Nicklaus Signature course at Quivira is recognized as one of the most memorable and challenging resort venues in the hemisphere. Created as an exclusive amenity for guests of Pueblo Bonito Resorts and the centerpiece of the Quivira Los Cabos residential development, this bold risk-reward design, marked by vertical cliffs, massive dunes and rolling foothills, features panoramic views and dizzying drops from tee to fairway. In a sun-splashed destination renowned for its unique ocean-desert-mountain ecosystem, Quivira offers more oceanfront exposure than any other course in Los Cabos. An unforgettable test from any set of tees, this scintillating layout may be the most daring and eclectic course Jack Nicklaus has ever built. Since its debut, Quivira has become a ‘bucket list’ course for golf aficionados from around the world.”
With a view of the sea from every hole, Quivira has more oceanfront exposure than any other course in Los Cabos. All 18 fairways feature panoramic views of the Pacific. From December to March, you are likely to spot whales leaping in the wild blue yonder. Because the terrain is so dramatic, the course appears tough, but Nicklaus deliberately designed it to be user-friendly and pleasurable for the higher handicapper, yet still challenging from the tips for the pros. The track starts at sea level, scales cliffs more than 275 feet above the Pacific, spans canyons and arroyos, meanders through dunes and desert, and returns to the sea at the finish.
New Improved Routing
In December 2022, to accommodate a new Beach Club and ongoing projects around the site, and in anticipation of the second golf course, the holes have been rerouted. The former 18th is now number one; number one is now number 2…and so on.
There’s never a dull moment at Quivira. For example, the ten-minute drive to the sixth follows a switchback route up the side of a mountain. The fairway, slanted below a dune on the right, traces the edge of sheer granite cliffs to the left as it tumbles downhill to a transition zone before dropping to a rock-walled, cliff-hanging green 106 feet below the tee.
Carved into the base of a massive dune, Quivira’s par-three 7th, faced into the prevailing wind, is a gem. The long narrow green, propped on bluffs high above the roiling sea and a deserted beach, drops off to a cavernous bunker and oblivion on the left.
The tee boxes at the par-four 8th are set near the historic lighthouse at Land’s End, the oldest standing structure in Cabo San Lucas. Behind the bunkerless green of the colossal, double-dogleg par-five 13th, is a sharpened pole fence, a remnant from the movie set of Troy, a swords-and-sandals epic.
The petite par-three 14th has its own stage set to die for. Atop a massive pinnacle of fissured granite rising 150 feet from sand and surf sits a tiny, wafer-like green. There’s a bailout area to the left, but the hole, 144 yards from the tips, commands a do-or-die shot over a yawning abyss. Bring your camera.
Newsflash: Second Course Coming Soon
As per Quivira’s original 36-hole blueprint, Nicklaus will return to build a second course at the dazzling Land’s End site. It will be the Golden Bear’s eighth design effort in a destination he describes as “one of my all-time favorite places.” Groundbreaking of the second Jack Nicklaus Signature course is expected to begin by the end of 2022.
When asked to predict how Quivira will impact his legacy, Nicklaus says, “I think some people will say it’s the most spectacular and best golf course they have ever seen and others will say, ‘You have got to be kidding.’ I don’t think there will be a lot of middle ground.” If you look at the game of golf as having a fun experience, and playing in an exciting and beautiful place, you will absolutely love it. From start to finish, I’d say Quivira has as much pace, variety and spectacular beauty as any course I’ve ever designed.”
I can’t argue with you, Jack.
The All-Inclusive Golf Experience
In order to play Quivira you must be a resident or guest of one of the Pueblo Bonito Oceanfront Resorts and Spas in Los Cabos: the adults-only Pueblo Bonito Pacifica and Towers of Pacifica; the family-friendly Pueblo Bonito Sunset (all share property with Quivira); Pueblo Bonito Rose or Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos (both located on El Médano beach). Stay and play packages are available.
For residents and guests alike, a golf day at Quivira Golf Club starts with a complimentary shuttle service to the club from the Pueblo Bonito resorts and communities. Warm up on the double-sided range set directly on the beach.
After the first five holes, golfers will experience the “greatest drive in golf” as they manoeuvre their carts to the first comfort station perched 200 feet above the ocean, where complementary snacks and drinks are offered. Perhaps a breakfast burrito and a Bloody Margarita?
The Oasis, which serves as a halfway house serves inventive Baja cuisine. A deluxe bar features blanco, reposado and anejo tequilas. Players may refresh themselves again at the 16th tee, which sits high above the course and marks the layout’s return to home. All food and drinks are included in your round.