Situated where the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez intersect, as the main attraction at the Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Golf & Spa Resort in Los Cabos, the Quivira Golf Club is an epic Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course… and for good reason.
Crowned with numerous awards since its debut in 2014 (including being named One of the Top 100 Courses in the World by Golf Digest), the track is laid out on a spectacular ocean front site.
“It is a unique course you will not find back home, with some quite distinct hole designs,” said Antonio Reynante, the Director of Golf at Quivira, “this includes sheer cliffs, massive dunes and rolling foothills plus several blind shots and challenging huge drop offs.”
If that isn’t enough, Mother Nature can become a factor in other ways in a hurry.
As a true links-style course, wind is a huge challenge with this piece of land. Being so exposed to the Pacific Ocean, chances are pretty high that you are going to catch a lot of wind. And without trees, there won’t be much frame of reference to take dead aim.
Still, the Par 72, 7085-yard, slope 142, rating 74 Quivira, a platinum paspalum grass course, is gettable.
“Since the course has a lot of slope, you need to know how the ball bounces,” said Reynante. “Once you have figured out where the ball is going to kick, you aim for the right spots, you are going to get good breaks for the vast majority of the time.”
And rest assured after trying to figure it out during your first round, there are plenty of fine options to enjoy down here before you tee it up the next day.
For example, the dining possibilities are varied and plentiful, but the one with the best reputation for service, atmosphere and menu is LaFrida. Winner of many awards, including a AAA Four Diamond Award for excellence in cuisine, the establishment features an elegant dining room that offers indoor and outdoor seating with panoramic ocean views.
As you arrive and are seated by your host, it will be easy to be swept away by the quite distinctive décor and ambiance.
“It is decorated with paints, traditional dresses, and accessories based on Frida Kahlo’s style,” explains Chef Carlos Contreras. “With dim lights, listening to live piano music, and enjoyment of our food and special wine from our wine cellar, LaFrida will give you a comfortable and pleasant atmosphere.”
And then there is the menu, filled with gastronomic delights.
“Fortunately, the guests enjoy all of our dishes, but as always, we have signature plates,” noted Contreras. “For appetizers, the favorites are: Frida’s Garden Salad (and) Squash Blossom Soup. For the main course, the favorites are:
Enchiladas with Duck Carnitas (as well as) Totoaba with Almond and Bacon Stuffed Clams.”
And to soothe your muscles and get a good stretch before your next tee time, the Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Hotel includes a world-class spa (the award-winning Armonia Spa, which Conde Nast voted One of the Top 5 Best Spas in the World).
“We have developed an extended line that offers a comprehensive menu of wellness-oriented body treatments, massage therapies, a fitness center, as well as a beauty salon’,” Pueblo Bonito Spa Manager Pilar Montenegro said. “We offer something extra, including organic treatments.”
“There’s also a special ‘sports massage’ that caters to specific muscles golfers rely on which actually uses golf balls as part of the treatment on the back and leg muscles to help relieve the pressure from their extensive playing,” Montenegro added. “It is part of the Quiro massage that incorporates a special balm using eucalyptus.”
Featuring 201 guest rooms including 47 suites (which offers 24-hour butler service and exclusive access to an oceanfront VIP Lounge), the Pueblo Bonito Pacifica’s accommodations are just a few minutes’ drive to the first tee.
Highlights of Quivira’s front nine include signature holes 5 and 6 that perilously hang on the side of a foothill that looks ominously over the ocean and will have you reminiscing about your round years later (yeah, you’ll tell everybody your knees weren’t shaking as you addressed the ball).
The former is a 310-yard dog-leg left par-4. Try not to notice the 100+foot drop to the Pacific Ocean over your shoulder as you set up. It is essentially a blind tee shot where the safer play is about 200 yards straight ahead. If performed properly, then the second shot will require just a short downhill wedge shot to a green that is perched on the cliff edge where anything that goes long will find a watery end.
An aggressive approach would be to stroke the shot (of course club selection must also factor in the wind blowing at the time) to the right of the green hopefully enabling your ball to tumble down onto the putting surface and potentially an eagle try. Good luck.
Whatever your score from five, don’t expect the next hole, a Par-3 playing just 180, appear any easier.
Again, the view will be seductive and can easily distract, but the tee shot demands your full attention as you still have the mighty Pacific on your left, but also a steeply stilted sandy foothill on your right. The price for failing can be instant inflation to your scorecard and reaching into your bag because your Titleist went surfing.
The Back Nine features perhaps Quivira’s best Par 5.
The challenging and picturesque Par 5, 635-yard 12th.
It starts with deception.
For this sweeping downhill dog-leg right design, the tees are perched high above the fairway. A two-shot or three-shot Par 5? It is here that Nicklaus messes with the player’s mind, forcing them to decide just how aggressive to get with their tee shot as they consider not only the amount of forced carry required, but also the large drop off in terrain.
While the hole does play downhill, the green is well-protected including plenty of sand, thus getting the distance right and properly executing is at the core of scoring well here.
With a steep, steep valley of rock that bottoms out at the Pacific lying between the tee and green, your next hole, the 148-yard 13th is among the course’s best Par 3’s.
Though there exists a fairly generous bail out area left of the green that is often prone to kicking balls onto the putting surface, be forewarned that because the green slopes left, along with the fact that the entire putting surface slides from left to right, a duffer should never go birdie-hunting at a flag on the right half of the green.
The final three holes at Quivira are all long par-4’s and the 16th starts with a very elevated tee shot, but the funnel-like fairway often provides a friendly bounce, that is if you don’t find the cactus looming on either side.
The closing hole, while it features a comparatively wide fairway, the concern will be one’s approach shot. That is because if you don’t hit it with authority on the grooves, the whipping winds coming off the ocean will take great pleasure in taking that little white ball off your intended course.
Quivira is like a five-course meal. There is a wide array offered on its golfing menu.
And while some may find that the golf is fulfilling enough, for those looking for extra servings in between rounds, there are plenty of adventure activities to enjoy in the immediate area: whale watching, sailing, fishing and snorkeling.
Still, what you will take away when you leave this tranquil oceanfront paradise are going to be the arresting memories of your golf days at Quivira.
In addition to sheer granite cliffs, huge windswept dunes, and more oceanfront exposure than any other course in Los Cabos, with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, it’s only natural you’ll be left wondering how would the PGA Tour players fare here.
“The only reason we cannot host an international tournament is the distance to walk/cart between certain holes,” said Reynante. “Four to five. Ten to eleven and fifteen to sixteen. That is the price to pay in order to have 18 tracks at this level. Eight are ocean front. All have ocean views, a compelling feature for any golf course.”
Compelling indeed, whether it is you and your golf buddies or Brooks, JT and Jordan.