Palmilla Golf Club Celebrates 25th Anniversary

In Los Cabos, Play by Suzanne Koch

The “Grande Dame of Los Cabos Golf,” the 27-hole Palmilla Golf Club, is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, whose also known as the “Golden Amigo,” the course opened in 1992 and has since paved the way for upscale golf development in Los Cabos.

The course, whose layout is surrounded by large and small cacti and desert trees along with iconic mountain, desert and ocean views, was the first course in the hemisphere to highlight the surrounding landscape and incorporate it into its layout. The course’s core 18 holes—the original Mountain and Arroyo nines—were joined by the Ocean nine in 1999, which were added by Nicklaus. The Ocean nine feature a mountain-to-sea landscape with a 600-ft. elevation change between the first tee and the sixth green. Players can experience a variety of course play from heroic carries, broad terraced fairways, generous bail-out areas and open-entry greens. The course also includes five sets of tees, allowing for both veteran and less-experienced golfers to enjoy a strategic game.

In addition to offering a membership and daily-fee play, Palmilla Golf Club is also a prime amenity to guests of the luxurious One&Only Palmilla resort. Originally known as Hotel Palmilla, the resort was a famous getaway in the 1950s for A-listers like John Wayne, Bing Crosby, Ernest Hemingway and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Today, the hotel still draws famous faces to its desert-ocean location and its recent $3.5 million renovation after Hurricane Odile hit in September 2014 has added and upgraded even more alluring amenities. The hacienda-style clubhouse received a redesign, adding a new check-in area and additional retail space in the golf shop along with the club’s cantina expanding its outdoor seating and upgrading its delicious menu.

The course itself also received a facelift by upgrading its computerized irrigation system, golf cart fleet and course maintenance equipment and outbuildings. Bunkers were refilled with sand, irrigation lakes were restored and all playing surfaces, including tees, greens and fairways, were reconditioned by Troon Golf, who manages the golf course.

“Judging from the pictures I’ve seen, the course looks like it did when it opened,” said Jason Ballog, Palmilla’s director of golf.

While Palmilla Golf Club was the first Jack Nicklaus Signature design built in Latin America, it would not be the last. Nicklaus returned to paradise to build an additional five layouts at the tip of the Baja peninsula.

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