In Puerto Vallarta, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, three courses await golfers who enjoy challenges: Vista Vallarta and Punta Mita.

Punta Mita, the main attraction, features a private island where only the green exists. Imagine teeing off from main land and then taking a small amphibian vehicle to the island for your second stroke (hoping the ball will be on the green). Hole 3 (par 3, 175 yards), named “Tail of the Whale,” is the hole with the world’s biggest water hazard.

In Vista Vallarta, the spectacular Sierra Madre mountains are part of a perfect setting for two courses where golfers enjoy an ideal balance of sea breeze and perfectly trimmed greens.

 

 

Vista Vallarta

We start our tour at Vista Vallarta, two unique courses in the middle of the jungle which feature, as their calling card, the fact that they were headquarters of the World Golf Championship in 2002. Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf, two great designers and players, were selected to plan these courses.

 

 

Nicklaus Course

The Nicklaus-designed course was inaugurated in 2001. He took advantage of the 7057 yards of topography to create a par 72 course worthy of any player who, regardless of skill, can play the course using every club in their bag (yes, all 14!).

Hole 3 is the most difficult: a long 550-yard par 5 from the golden tee box. Remember this is at sea level so the ball travels at least 15% farther than expected, which means that you need three perfect shots to play it by official guidelines.

 

 

The challenge continues at hole 5, the longest par 3 (213 yards). It has a large green where it is ideal to aim for the middle. But beware if the flag is on either extreme: this means that there are problems because it is protected by traps to the left and right.

Hole 10, a 536-yard par 5, is the only one that can be played two ways. The first is the safest, with a stroke to the left of the fairway or, if you prefer the challenge, to the right. The second stroke, from either position, faces three traps 100 yards from the green.

 

 

One of the most beautiful holes is 16, a 423- yard par 4 with a dogleg to the right that features water running along the fairway and a trap awaiting the second stroke.

Before the end of the day, the golfer finds hole 18, Jack Nicklaus’ trademark: a 445-yard par 4, with a dogleg to the left and a raised green: a gorgeous panorama before making the stroke. The green is 43 yards long but there are a pair of traps in the rear awaiting a miscalculated stroke, all designed for a magnificent finish.

The Records

Jack Nicklaus

Records

Yards

Rating

Slope

Golds

7,073

74.3

136

Blues

6,595

71.6

134

Whites

6,031

69.4

115

Reds

6,031

69.4

115

 

Weiskopf Course

The 18 holes designed by Tom Weiskopf complement Vista Vallarta’s setting. The dense jungle, deep ravines and winding streams make it special. The raised starting tees allow you to enjoy the view between strokes and don’t forget to take a few seconds in the middle of the fairway to listen to the peaceful sounds of nature in all of its splendor.

Inaugurated on November 1, 2001, the course features spectacular views of the contrasting greens of the mountains, deep cliffs, creeks and the blue of the sea. After playing the 18 holes, golfers arrive elated to the 19th hole. Weiskopf created an incredible masterpiece taking full advantage of the uneven terrain and the beauty of the setting.

Hole 5 is the most difficult: a 450-yard par 4 that demands a long and precise first shot Once on the fairway, the approach must be accurate because there are many drops on the green: a miscalculated stroke will make the ball roll to the bottom where two huge bunkers await. Making par can be considered a triumph.

 

 

Before facing number 10, the longest hole (a 624-yard par 5) stop to admire the view of Bahía de Banderas. After a good drive, the second shot must be on the mark because the fairway before you is narrow and there is a sand trap 100 yards from the green and a lake to the left. Once you are near the green you must be careful because it is protected by a pair of sand traps.

And if you think there is not enough excitement, wait till you reach the longest par 4: hole 16 (466 yards) with a narrow fairway. The second stroke must be handled with a long iron or wood to reach the huge green that has two bunkers in the rear.

 

Records

Tom Weiskopf 

Records

Yards

Rating

Slope

Golds

6,993

73.4

136

Blues

6,466

71.6

134

Whites

5,867

69.3

119

Reds

4,943

69.4

115

 

Four Seasons Punta Mita

Jack Nicklaus found the ideal spot for a golf course in this part of Mexico: Punta Mita Golf Club, located 47 km from Puerto Vallarta, where he created one of the most spectacular courses in the world.

 

Jack Nicklaus found the ideal spot for a golf course in Punta

 

Opened at the end of 1999, the 7001-yard course was built on 40 hectares. Because of its splendid location at the edge of the sea, it is known as the Mexican version of California’s Monterey peninsula, and it delights the player with its wonderful views.

 

 

The 18 holes have a view of the Pacific. Eight are ocean front and of these, the most outstanding is 3B (194-yards, par 3), played towards the sea because the green is situated on a small natural island.

While designing the course, Nicklaus discovered a tiny island right off shore, almost 175 yards from the beach, and imagined it as part of the round. This resulted in the hole with the world’s largest water hazard—the Pacific Ocean— and one of its most beautiful.

 

 

After your shot which, needless to say, has to be extremely precise, you take a small amphibian vehicle to the island green. If the tide is high, the hole has an alternate green on dry land.

Another spectacular hole is the 13th, which runs along a lagoon surrounded by plants and animals. The 18th hole (445 yard par 4) is the final prize of the round: encircled by the sea and with waves crashing against the rocks. It makes golfers feel that they have been transported to a true tropical paradise. 

 

Records

Jack Nicklaus

Records

Yards

Rating

Slope

Blacks

7,014

72.9

131

Golds

6,641

71.9

129

Blues

6,261

69.9

124

Whites

5,767

67.3

118

Reds

5,037

68.4

116

 

Text: Laura Velázquez ± Photo: Vista Vallarta y Four Seasons Punta Mita

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