Time Off: Los Cabos golf anchored by sportfishing lore

World-class Los Cabos golf actually began with equally impressive deep-sea fishing as the self-proclaimed “Marlin Capital of the World.” Apparently more striped and black marlin have been caught within 20 miles of the tip of the Baja Peninsula than anywhere else on Earth.

Intrepid adventurers, industrial titans and media elites like John Wayne, Ernest Hemingway, Desi Arnez and Humphrey Bogart made trek to the remote Baja California outpost at the tip of the 800 mile-long Mexican peninsula to land 1,000-pound underwater behemoths in the wake of World War II and throughout the 1960s.

As word caught on and accessibility increased with the arrival of regularly schedule cruise and airline traffic, a new generation of well-heeled, affluent traveler began to arrive. They discovered that not only was unspoiled Los Cabos a hotspot for one-of-a-kind sportfishing, but also possessed pristine beaches, temperature climate, and a growing number of top golf courses in the two business districts of San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, connected by a highway along the Tourist Corridor. Broadly known as Los Cabos, San Jose del Cabo remained decidedly serene and traditional, while Cabos San Lucas took on a party vibe, as it still does today.

High rise and sprawling resorts, anchored by top-tier golf courses designed by golf royalty like Jack Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf, Tom Fazio, Robert Trent Jones Jr. and others, began to form the Cabo we see today – upwards of 10,000 hotel rooms, still splendid beaches and fishing, gorgeous natural scenery including its famous arch formations, and exclusive, top-tier golf.

The One&Only Palmilla, which Forbes Travel Guide awarded 5-Stars to in 2022, started it all. The son of the former president of Mexico Abelardo Rodriguez built a grand oceanfront “hacienda” more than 60 years ago. The original 15-room property has blossomed to more than 170 and offers access to Palmilla Golf Club, 27 holes of Nicklaus-designed perfection, three 9-holes appropriately themed Ocean, Mountain and Arroyo come with breakfast and Calloway club rentals.

We wonder if the Golden Bear ever envision building here when he fished the azure waters of the Sea of Cortez as a child with his father, only to return decades later for his second monumental project here at Cabo del Sol Golf Club, where he designed seven holes along more than a mile of coast line with two dramatic inland holes at what he calls “The Pebble Beach of Mexico.” Exotic cacti, craggy outcrops, sugary beaches and splashing waves punctuate one of golf’s most exhilerating string of holes.

Guests from nearby Grand Fiesta Americana Resort and Sheraton Grand Hacienda del Mar Resort also have access to Tom Weiskopf’s first foray in Mexico at the other nine at Cabo del Sol, the Desert Course, which features dramatic elevation drops from tee to fairway and green, along with fairly traditional bunkers.

There is so much more golf here in the Los Cabos region – Querencia, El Dorado, Cabo San Lucas Country Club, Cabo Real, Diamante, Chileno Bay, others – but you’ll have to book a trip to see for yourself.

Photo by One&Only Palmilla

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