Sunday, January 1, 2006
From Cabo to Cancun, golf south of the border is hard to beat
Other notables include the Hilton Cancun Beach and Golf Club and Cancun’s elder statesman of golf, Pok-ta-Pok Golf Club. In a trend that defies just about every golf market in the world, 18 new courses are in the permit or construction phases, according to local golf officials, including three Greg Norman credits at the $1.35-billion Playa Mujeres Resort.
“The future for golf (and new courses) for Mexico is virtually unlimited," says von Hagge. "This is due to the magnificent properties still available in abundance and the present ease of the political and environmental permit process.”
When To Go
There’s never a bad time to travel south of the border, though you’ll need to grab a flight to get to the good golf. Even the closest Mexican golf destination, Los Cabos, is a 1,000-mile hike from the States. Aeromexico and Mexicana offer daily round-trip flights from most major cities. Both airlines offer faresaver specials and packaged vacations. Brand loyalists, take heart: More than 25 international airlines have extensive route systems, including Southwest, Delta, American and US Airways.
What To Bring
“Don’t bring your slacks and a sport coat,” quips Scott Bowles, vice president of new business for Golf Adventures, a tour operator that offers golf packages to Los Cabos. “Cabo has some resorts formal dining, but for the most part it’s Jimmy Buffet casual.”
On course, shorts and shirt sleeves work year-round. Thirty-six-hole-a-day types doing Mexico in the summer and early fall may want to bring along a change of clothes for afternoon rounds. Only winter mornings in Los Cabos may call for a light pullover or jacket. For a solid selection of gear designed to stand up to all the elements, check out Sun Mountain. The Montana-based outfitter stocks pullovers, vests, short-sleeve jackets and lightweight golf bags that travel well.
As far as clubs go, grab a few sticks to battle the tropical breezes. The majority of resort courses in Mexico are located on or near the ocean, and winds in the range of 15 to 20 knots aren’t uncommon. A straw poll of local head pros yielded a proclivity toward utility clubs that produce low, straight shots. A close second was well-tested sand or gap wedges for negotiating waste areas and greenside bunkers.
All major Mexican golf resorts have extensive Websites and most have toll-free reservation numbers. Tracking down official tourism information is a bit trickier than researching domestic destinations. A huge crop of golf and vacation packaging services have popped up on the Internet, looking to take advantage of the country’s multimillion dollar golf industry.
Many offer well-researched, accurate information on local conditions and amenities. Others don’t. A good place to start your vacation planning is www.visitmexico.com, the country’s official tourism Website. For a less “chamber of commerce-like” perspective, check out www.mexicofile.com and www.simmondsmexicotours.com. Both are creations of David Simmonds Â– a cult-like figure who’s sampled every course and 19th hole from Tapachula to Mexicali.
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