Vallarta Emerging as One of
Mexico's Top Golf Destinations
Puerto Vallarta area is now home to seven golf
courses. Some of the world's greatest golf course
architects have crafted courses amid this tropical
backdrop, including Jack Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf
and Robert von Hagge, who with 11 layouts south
of the border is Mexico's most prolific designer.
Beach it's not, but with a handful of world
class courses and even more first-class resorts,Puerto
Vallarta can now lay claim to being a great
GOLF in Vallarta
You get the feeling John Wayne
and Richard Burton would have relished the chance
to chase the little white ball around here.
After all, the two actors spent countless hours
in this unique fusion of Mexican fishing village
meets glitzy resort town filming movies and
imbibing spirits. If Puerto Vallarta had as
many golf offerings as it has today, the contingent
of actors that once called this coastal city
home would have ballooned like a tourist's belly
after a few too many carne asada tacos
"PV" as savvy travelers
have taken to calling it, is now home to seven
golf courses. Some of the world's greatest golf
course architects have crafted courses amid
this tropical backdrop, including Jack Nicklaus,
Tom Weiskopf and Robert von Hagge, who with
11 layouts south of the border is Mexico's most
prolific designer. Myrtle Beach it's not, but
with a handful of world class courses and resorts,
PV can now lay claim to being a tried and true
golf destination. PV resort owners and tourism
officials make no bones about it – they
want to go head to head with Los Cabos/Cabo
San Lucas as Mexico's leading golf destination.
Sovernigo, founder and director of Paradise
Village Beach Resort and Spa, just minutes
away in Nuevo Vallarta, has done his part
bringing golf here. "I'm happy to
say Puerto Vallarta is finally arriving
as a golf destination. It took too long,
but now we have seven courses."
For years, Hawaii has been
the industry leader in attracting American golfer
from the mainland. But the Mexican government
has unabashedly declared its intent to become
the top golf destination worldwide for traveling
American golfers. PV's core group of lush, jungle-rich
layouts is leading Mexico in its charge to the
The newest offering is von
Hagge's El Tigre at Paradise Village. Framed
in all directions by the Sierra Madre Mountains,
El Tigre is 7,239 yards, par 72, of manufactured
golf course. It was built on a flat piece of
land and the von Hagge layout called for a lot
of dirt movement and nine separate bodies of
water, just a minute away from the Pacific Ocean
and Paradise Village Beach Resort and Spa.
the most exciting championship golf course in
Mexico", was the challenge given to the
team of Von Hagge, Smelek and Baril, designers
of over 200 of the world's finest golf courses.
At 7,239 yards from the tips and featuring an
18th hole that players chide as a "nice
par 6", El Tigre has certainly answered
the call. Mexican architect Ernesto del Castillo
designed the beautiful Spanish-styled 45,000-square
foot clubhouse, which includes a restaurant,
lounge, locker rooms, golf shop and European
Ten minutes from the PV marina
and wedged in the region's breathtaking foothills
are the two championship courses of Vista Vallarta.
Both the Nicklaus and Weiskopf courses opened
in 2001 and have met with almost universal critical
acclaim. The dynamic duo was selected as the
site for the 2002 Anderson Consulting Match
Play Championships, and players from around
the world will not be disappointed.
The Nicklaus course measures
7,057 yards and features long par-5 holes. Weiskopf's
layout has more native jungle growth, is tighter,
and has a signature par 3 that appears to be
carved out of the jungle hillside. Weiskopf
has done a masterful job of blending the elevations
and natural features into an incredibly playable
experience from the first tee to the green of
the "drivable" 18th.
The Golden Bear's best offering
may be the Punta Mita where Pebble Beach scenery
mixes with turquoise-colored Pacific Ocean golf
holes and perfect winter temperatures. Punta
Mita is uncrowded and has one of the most spectacular
holes in the world, a par 3 of 190 yards, that
plays to a natural black, lava-rock island.
Your only entry to the green comes at low tide,
tip-toeing across a sandbar, unless you have
an amphibious vehicle or boat. You will need
a low, boring shot nailed into a tough head
wind or cross wind to par this one. Eight holes
border the ocean with a photo op at every turn.
Marina Vallarta Golf Club is
Puerto Vallarta golf at its finest, replete
with jungle foliage, lagoons, iguanas, tropical
birds, and a pretty strong golf course designed
by Joe Finger. The course winds its way through
countless palm trees and a number of holes feature
views of Banderas Bay.
Nicklaus' senior designer,
Jim Lipe, authored the 6,700-yard Mayan Palace
Golf Club, just next door to El Tigre. Mayan
Palace is a fun, less-challenging course with
a hefty 580-yard, dogleg-left par-5 No. 13.
Another scenic hole is a 180-yard par 3 that
plays over a lake to an oceanfront green with
a view of the Pacific. Just three minutes from
Paradise Village is Los Flamingos Country Club.
This 18-hole course is located in the countryside
with lakes, jungle and countless birds. It was
designed by architect Percy J. Clifford and
offers tennis, too.
About a 2 hour drive from Puerto
Vallarta, El Tamarindo Golf Course has been
rated "The Best Hidden Link in the World"
by many golf publications. Rivaling some of
the greatest golf courses in the world, El Tamarindo
features fairways that wander through the jungle,
3 breathtaking oceanfront holes, and 9 holes
with spectacular views of beautiful beaches.
A little further south, the Isla Navidad Golf
Course is one of the most lush golf resorts
in the world, with twenty seven holes that offer
spectacular ocean, lagoon and mountain views.
In Manzanillo, you'll find La Mantarraya Golf
Course at Las Hadas, which is considered one
the best golf resorts in Latin America, featuring
wide fairways and 11 water holes including #18,
an Island green built on the ocean. courtesy