Redesign of Ocean course takes shape at Cabo del Sol

  • Cabo Del Sol

    The new par-three seventeenth at Cabo del Sol’s Ocean course

  • Cabo Del Sol

    Nicklaus Design, responsible for the original 1994 layout, has returned for this year’s work

  • Cabo Del Sol

    The par-three sixth hole on the Ocean course at the Los Cabos resort

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

The Ocean course at Cabo del Sol in Los Cabos, Mexico, is being redesigned to accommodate new development.

Nicklaus Design, who originally designed the course in 1994, have returned for this year’s work on at the site Jack Nicklaus originally described as “the best piece of golf property I’ve ever seen.”

New development at the 1,800-acre master-planned community owned by Los Angeles-based Robert Day and the Day family includes the construction of a new hotel.

Changes will be made to both the Ocean course and the Tom Weiskopf-designed Desert course, in multiple phases.

Work on the Ocean course includes the replacement of two beachside par-three holes, the seventh and seventeenth. “We’re going to take a couple of holes off the ocean, but we’re not going to compromise the quality of the golf course,” said Nicklaus. “We’re still going to have great ocean views, and we’re still going to have four holes on the ocean.”

Senior design associate Jim Lipe, who was on site when the Ocean course was originally built, is leading the redesign, alongside Nicklaus Design consultant Kurt Bowman.

“Over the years, Cabo del Sol never capitalised on its real estate potential,” said Lipe. “We are building a handful of new holes to accommodate the resort community’s new land plan. Over the next few months, we’ll be redoing all the greens, rebuilding all the bunkers and upgrading the playing surfaces. The end result will be a better golf experience.”

“We’re keeping Mr. Nicklaus’s original design intent, but we’re upgrading and improving the course in multiple ways,” said Bowman. “Once completed, the Ocean course will be a better-conditioned layout with enhanced playability and a bigger ‘wow’ factor.”

The new hotel – Park Hyatt Los Cabos Resort – will be located above the seaside sixth hole and is expected to be completed in 2021.

The resort’s beach club will be built on the current par-three seventh. A slightly longer replacement hole, “a beautiful little hole in the dunes” according to Nicklaus, will offer two different angles of attack from alternate sets of tees and will play to a raised green defended by deep bunkers.

To accommodate a new entrance to Cabo del Sol, a new par-four ninth is being built in a corridor adjacent to the existing ninth. The new hole will offer real estate views across the fairway to the sea.

A new luxury residential community called the Cove Club is taking shape at the west end of the Ocean course, occupying the site of the former par-three seventeenth. In its place, Nicklaus has designed a new ridge-to-ridge par three that is played from a set of elevated tees to a green backdropped by the sea. The club and community are scheduled to open in November.

The current sixteenth hole, a downhill par four that plays 100 feet down the side of a mountain, will be recast as the eighteenth hole. “We’re going to move the green a little closer to the ocean, drop it down and create a spectacular finishing hole,” said Nicklaus.

Six oceanfront estates attached to the Cove Club and a new five-star resort development are planned on the site of the former par-four eighteenth.

In 2018, Steve Adelson, who was involved in the development of two private golf communities in Los Cabos – El Dorado and Chileno Bay – was named CEO of the project.

“I have been an admirer of Cabo del Sol for many years, and I love the culture and charm of Los Cabos as a whole,” said Adelson. “The combination of the location, the physical characteristics of the land and the people involved make this one of the best opportunities I’ve ever been involved with. I am very honoured to be given this responsibility and look forward to working with the entire Cabo del Sol team to create authentic and engaging experiences for our members, their families and our guests.”

The Ocean course will reopen in November. The Desert course will remain open throughout this first phase of development.

In later phases, the Desert course will close for renovation work and the Ocean course will close again for additional modifications.

Upon completion of the whole project, the Ocean course will function as a private club, with exclusive access available to guests of the new on-site hotels. The Desert course will remain a public-access resort venue.