You may find cheaper golf destinations in Mexico than Cabo San Lucas, but you should keep in mind the old axiom, “you get what you pay for.”
It is well worth the cost to visit this oasis at the southern tip of Baja California, home to some of the best courses in the entire country.
Aside from the golf, there is plenty here that has made this a top vacation destination for decades. There is no shortage of high-end resort hotels, with terrific seafood, and plenty of entertainment options.
And the scenery is spectacular, as true on the golf course as it is anywhere else here. Splotches of green stand out against the often rocky and hilly terrain. And the weather is great for year-round golf. Aside from a short wet season spanning late summer and early fall, chances are good that you can play as much golf as you can handle.
Now on to some of the best places to play in Cabo San Lucas.
The Dunes Course at Diamante. Photo by Cal Wolfe / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)
Ranked No. 36 in the world by GOLF Magazine, Diamante is a gem nestled alongside 1.5 miles of fantastic Cabo beachfront.
This is a full-on resort with all the amenities you might want in a tropical setting, such as a man-made lagoon, a spa, the beach, and several restaurants. Don’t miss the swim-up bar at Amigos Restaurant, adjacent to the lagoon.
Of course, it is the golf that we are most interested in. Plenty of fun awaits the par 3 course, but it is the Dunes Course that rightly gets the most attention.
Designed by Davis Love III and opened in 2009, the Dunes Course was a hit right away. You are never far from the ocean, the views of which dominates this course, along with the sand dunes that gave the course its name.
You will be pampered here before, during, and after your round, with a fantastic practice area, a Slider Bar, and comfort stations offering food and drink every three holes.
All of this means you will find Diamante atop the list of courses in not just Cabo but all of Mexico, including ours.
Cabo del Sol features two courses that run along the Sea of Cortez just to the east of Cabo San Lucas proper.
The Cove Club Course is a Jack Nicklaus-designed course formerly known as the Ocean Course. It is best known for a four-hole stretch that meanders along the coastline. Playing these four holes as waves crash below you can be a surreal experience.
Cove Club will close the summer of 2020 for renovations overseen by Nicklaus, who promises an even better experience with updated playing surfaces, bunkers, and even new holes.
If the Cove Club Course is closed while you are there, you still have the Desert Course. This is as picturesque a course as you can find anywhere. Designed by Tom Weiskopf, the Desert Course is surrounded by desert and mountains alike, providing some unreal vistas.
And the ocean is still in view from every hole.
Located farther north up the Cortez coast lies Palmilla, which refers to itself as the Grand Dame of Los Cabos golf. It is hard to argue that point as Palmilla was the first course in Latin America to be designed by Nicklaus.
There are three nine-hole courses here, with views of the Sea of Cortez from all 27.
The Mountain Course is the longest of the three nines at 3,602 yards. As evinced by the name, each hole is surrounded by the mountains. The third hole presents quite a challenge at 470 yards, all uphill. Nicklaus did allow a wide landing area, but it is still a tough hole that could take three shots to reach the green for players who lack distance.
The Ocean Course presents challenges less with length than it does with elevation changes and directional shifts. You could throw a rock into the ocean from several holes on this course, so you will have to concentrate not to be distracted from the views.
The Arroyo Course is the shortest of the three but likely has the toughest three-hole stretch of the entire resort. Holes 6 through 8 are all doglegs with forced carries. This nine also gives the golfer the best chance of seeing wildlife, including exotic birds like quail, roadrunners, and hawks.
Another course designed by Nicklaus, Quivira has established itself as one of the better golf spots in all of Cabo in a short time.
This course winds its way along the beach below, with some dramatic elevation changes. That is most evidenced by the 5th hole, the most difficult hole on the course despite measuring just 310 yards from the back tee.
If for some reason you are daft enough to attempt to drive the green, know that you are facing a carry over a ravine with very little room for error.
Most golfers will hit a layup somewhere down the fairway that is in itself no picnic. Following that is a short iron straight downhill to the green with the ocean behind.
Although the back nine is somewhat challenging, Cabo San Real offers a less difficult course than others on this list. It is hardly lacking in beauty, though, as it sits within a resort that offers more than three miles of beachfront.
Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., Cabo Real features small greens that provide some defense against low scores. You might well be able to reach these greens with ease, but putting yourself in the right spot can be tough.
You will need to find a member to get yourself a tee time at this private course, but it is well worth the effort.
Tom Fazio designed this course. One of the best designers in the game, Fazio is quoted as saying he knew right away it was the perfect setting for a world-class course.
The course offers some scoring chances but penalizes poor shots. It is a great combination of risk and reward. All of this comes with terrific views of nearby San Jose del Cabo and the Sea of Cortez.