Travel – Quivira
When you have one of the most popular and successful golf courses in this target-rich links environment on the Pacific tip of Mexico, designed by one of the most popular architects, what’s the only thing you can do to improve?
Build a second one, like the first, by Jack Nicklaus. That’s exactly the plan for the spectacular Quivira Golf Club in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, which expects to break ground on the second Nicklaus Course later this year, ideally situated on the scenic heights above the ocean at the Old Lighthouse Club.
“It’s going to be Jack, so it’s going to be great,” said longtime Quivira Director of Golf Antonio Reynante. “He has done so many courses around here, we should call it Cabo San Nicklaus instead.”
Indeed, the Golden Bear, who enjoys the championship fishing here as much as the golf, designed the first and most notable course here, Cabo del Sol, in the early 1990s. That launched this once sleepy fishing village into golf powerhouse prominence, and he has continued to work here ever since.
Quivira Los Cabos opened in 2014, and immediately jumped to the top of the Cabo golf must-play list with its dramatic location, literally hugging the side of a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Add the lavish comfort stations and the scenic views of the desert and the ocean, and it’s little wonder the layout was ranked Best New International Club by Golf Magazine, as well as Top 25 in Mexico and the Caribbean by Golfweek Magazine.
But the success of the first course led Quivira Chairman Ernesto Coppel and the Lyle Anderson Company to contact Nicklaus for a second course and to establish the Old Lighthouse Golf & Ocean Club. It will also serve as a luxury housing development overlooking the new course, more than 300 feet above. The Old Lighthouse Club will also ultimately serve as the clubhouse for Quivira members on the new course, which will include a private Bunker Bar to watch dramatic daily sunsets. There is also a luxury housing component there, as well, which is already open.
“It had to be Jack, there is no one else,” Reynante said. “While he did a fabulous job with the first course, the second will be a different layout.”
The initial plans are for it to offer a more parkland design, making it lush and walkable, but also with plenty of the ocean views that have attracted a generation of golfers here. The routing is in progress, and ground is expected to be broken later this year for the as-yet-to-be-named new Jack Nicklaus Signature course. It will be laid out in the northwest portion of the 1,850-acre development, among rolling desert foothills and valleys interlaced with arroyos, and the southern portion of the course will offer panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.
“The first golf course at Quivira is a spectacular layout playing across a remarkable piece of property,” Nicklaus said in a media release announcing the news. “Now, I am excited that design is well underway on the second course at Quivira, which should be stunning and equally as spectacular. I hope golfers who play the second course all enjoy the views, the quality of golf and the challenge.”
While the original course, a par 72, requires a fully charged cart to get up the dramatic mountain side, Nicklaus said he hopes his second course will be walkable and players can play six or nine holes before retreating to the clubhouse, if they so choose, or perhaps the Bunker Bar at sunset.
While Quivira members and golfers who stay at the lavish, nearby Pueblo Bonito Resort, wait on the second course, there is plenty to enjoy with the original Nicklaus layout.
At Quivira, you get to see the ocean from all 18 holes, as you start your round at sea-level and climb through the cliffs around the Old Lighthouse for panoramic views. Golfers are able to tee it up from 7,085 yards from the back tees, or considerably closer if you want more fun and less challenge.
The course was recently modified to shift the first hole further away from the clubhouse, past the extensive practice area, and add a more challenging and dramatic 18th hole. After the first five holes in the valley, the fun really starts, as you make the slow cart climb up the mountain to the dramatic par-4 sixth hole. The first of three comfort stations is located before you get off the sixth tee and offers fresh, made-to-order libations, tacos, sliders, desserts, snacks and drinks of all variety.
The tee box is perched on top of the cliffs, with any misstep off the teeing grounds sending you to a fate much worse than a triple bogey. It’s steeply downward, meaning any decent airborne tee shot can land and roll close to the green or even on in one, as my fellow Texas partner did, which led to the nickname Eagle when he sank his first putt. Is it a classic, championship golf hole? Probably not, but is it absolutely fun and scenic golf? You better believe it.
The seventh is another scenic par 3, with the ocean all along the left side and the mountain on the right. There’s plenty of trouble with both, but a good tee shot would be a just reward. There is a par 5 and a par 4, before you reach another comfort station with fresh, hot flour and corn tortillas filled with different meats and cheeses. Along the way, you will pass El Faro Viejo, a large, old lighthouse that has guided ships around the tip of Baja for more than a century.
The back nine starts with another par 3, unless you’re too full to swing, and the 11th is a dramatic dogleg right that also slopes downhill. The ocean is not as close on the back nine, but the views are still spectacular, including the par-4 17th hole, which is also sharply downhill.
When golf is done for the day, Pueblo Bonito Resort boasts luxurious amenities that cater to anyone’s tastes. The complex is home to many different resorts of varying aesthetics and views. Quivira residential resort communities feature two resorts by the names of Pacifica and Sunset Beach, and a third lodging option known as Montecristo Estates Luxury Villas.
Each resort has a slightly different vibe to it, with some properties maintaining a more contemporary feel and others paying homage to its Mexican heritage. Guests of Pueblo Bonito Resorts are granted access to all restaurants and bars in sister properties. There is also a large food court in the center of the facility which features a sports bar with NFL Sunday Ticket and other games on at all times, along with a candy and chocolate store and a 1950s diner.
In short, there is something for everyone, and soon there will be a second Nicklaus course, designed by the Godfather of Cabo Golf.
“At Quivira, there is really nothing else like it,” Reynante said.
Plus, soon there will be more of it.