Tiger Woods discusses opening of new El Cardonal course

Tiger Woods discusses opening of new El Cardonal course
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

Tiger Woods Design is celebrating the first opening of one of its golf course designs.

The El Cardonal layout forms part of the Diamante resort, located near Cabo San Lucas on the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula in Mexico.

Speaking to GCA’s Sean Dudley, Woods explained how his design philosophy has been shaped by the way he plays the game.  

“I like to think my way around the course and play lots of different shots,” he said. “We’ve used bunkers not only as deterrents at El Cardonal, but also as hazards that can be carried with well executed shots to challenge players to make decisions and evaluate risks. We’ve also left the fronts of many greens open and accessible to low shots bouncing up onto the greens, adding more shot options to get approach shots close.”

El Cardonal is the second course to open at the Diamante resort, the first being the Davis Love III-designed Dunes course which has received much acclaim since its unveiling in 2010.

Woods was quick to praise the work Love carried out, and confirmed that the lowest few holes of El Cardonal play through the same dunes and will therefore have a similar feel to those on the Dunes course. The remaining holes are higher up on the property and Woods said these are very different, playing through the natural arroyos and enjoying big ocean views.

“My goal was to design a distinct and memorable golf course using the natural arroyos and dunes features of the site and the spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean,” he said. “I think people will enjoy the classic feel of the course with its lawn tees, wide fairways, and traditional style bunkering.”

Woods – who worked alongside architect Beau Welling on the El Cardonal course – has found the project an interesting learning curve, and is the first to admit that he doesn’t know everything there is to know just yet. 

“I have learned a great deal about the more technical aspects of golf course design,” he said. “I have found that when I set a clear vision for the holes I design and how I want them to play, there are talented shapers, builders and consultants who can help me achieve that vision. There is a tremendous amount that I can learn from studying all golf course architects. And I’ve been fortunate to be able to meet and talk to many of them over the years.”

It’s fair to say that his firm has not had the easiest time since its inception, and though Woods admits entering the industry during a tricky period, he never questioned his decision to do so.

“All industries have financial ups and downs, and the golf course design industry is no different,” Woods said. “My intent is to be designing golf courses for a long time, so it did not concern me when the economy and industry slowed down shortly after starting Tiger Woods Design.”

The firm’s attention is now likely to focus on the Bluejack National course near Houston, Texas that is currently under development and the design of the Trump World Golf Club, Dubai, which is scheduled to open for play in 2017.