Danzante Bay Golf Club

New­est Must-Play in Baja Cal­i­for­nia

Golf Vacations - - Contents - by David R. Hol­land

There is a feel­ing of ex­cite­ment and an­tic­i­pa­tion when you play any golf course that has a sig­na­ture hole so spec­tac­u­lar that it ranks among the best in the world. That hap­pens at a new must-play Rees Jones de­sign in Baja Cal­i­for­nia.

LORETO, Baja Cal­i­for­nia South, Mexico – There is a feel­ing of ex­cite­ment and an­tic­i­pa­tion when you play any golf course that has a sig­na­ture hole so spec­tac­u­lar that it ranks among the best in the world. That hap­pens at a new must-play Rees Jones de­sign in Baja Cal­i­for­nia. From the lofty perch of the par-3 17th hole at Danzante Bay Golf Club one can view a Sea of Cortez panorama that Jac­ques Cousteau once pro­claimed “The Aquar­ium of the Word”. You don’t want to leave. You want to play this hole over and over. “I have no doubt that No. 17 will be one of the best in the world,” Jones said. This new Rees Jones’ de­sign just cel­e­brated the grand open­ing of 11 ocean-fac­ing holes that fea­tures the stun­ning 178-yard par 3 that’s ev­ery bit as good as No. 7 at Peb­ble Beach. The tran­si­tion from the uphill 16th fair­way and green to the 17th tee is filled with an­tic­i­pa­tion. You crest a ridge and dis­cover a daz­zling vista of the Sea of Cortez 250 feet be­low the tee. Your stroke is to a penin­sula green sur­rounded by a horse­shoe­shaped bunker. The putting sur­face seems to cling to a rock plateau with dis­tant is­lands in sight. Scan the hori­zon and you might see a breach­ing whale. Danzante Bay’s down­hill 18th hole, a par-4 jour­ney of 520 yards from the back tee, is a fit­ting fi­nale to this fun quest.

Di­verse land­scape might be Danzante Bay Golf Club’s legacy

“This is the most di­verse land­scape I’ve ever had the op­por­tu­nity to work with,” said Jones, whose re­design of Tor­rey Pines South and Beth­page Black got him the moniker of “The U.S. Open doc­tor.” This land fea­tures dunes, moun­tains, foothills, desert, ar­royos and ocean holes. And the fi­nal seven val­ley holes, set to open in a year, re­mind you of a Juras­sic Park jour­ney. It is very much like an Ari­zona with gi­ant saguaros (called cardón cac­tus in Mexico) and rugged ter­rain mi­nus an un­spoiled ocean. The 7,107-yard, par-72 course also fea­tures a nine-hole putting course in­spired by the famed Hi­malayas course in St. An­drews, Scot­land where fam­i­lies can en­joy play­ing to­gether. And the prac­tice fa­cil­ity is an un­usual uphill re­verse fun­nel into the moun­tain face. So why did Danzante Golf Club open with just 11 holes com­pleted? “Peo­ple stay­ing at the ho­tel kept ask­ing to play,” said hote­lier Owen Perry, owner of the Villa Group. “So one day this Fe­bru­ary we did and ev­ery­one who played loved it and wanted to play again.” “Most of the world’s most pop­u­lar golf cour­ses that have stood the test of time were built slowly,” Jones said. “Golf holes aren’t re­ally de­signed and built from a plan – you feel them in the land. This land is so good it tells us what to do. The holes fit the land nat­u­rally.” “This is a golf course that both avid and ca­sual golfers will want to travel to play,” said Jones. “The golf course has open en­trances, pock­ets and sandy ar­eas to cap­ture the ball and keep it from go­ing into the desert. We’ve kept the green con­tours mild so that the putting sur­faces are man­age­able in the wind. Peo­ple will want to play this course over and over again be­cause the con­di­tions change with the wind.”

“Be­ing lo­cated in a pro­tected ma­rine park, we ad­hered to strin­gent en­vi­ron­men­tal rules, and we gladly ac­cepted the chal­lenge, be­cause we feel that that is go­ing to keep the Is­lands of Loreto unique,” said Perry. “When I first saw the land where we are build­ing this golf course, I was stunned by the amaz­ing beauty of both the moun­tains and wa­ter that sur­round it. “Sun­rise each day gives the moun­tains a brown­ish hue and when the sun sets at night, they turn a vi­brant red. And the views of the bay are with­out ques­tion some of the best I’ve ever seen. We’re lit­er­ally carv­ing this golf course into this in­cred­i­ble set­ting while main­tain­ing all of its nat­u­ral beauty.” Danzante Bay uti­lizes two strains of Pas­palum turf, the salt-tol­er­ant, dis­ease-re­sis­tant grass that has ac­cel­er­ated the growth of golf in the trop­ics and has proven to be ideal for the Baja cli­mate. The turf grass is ir­ri­gated with wa­ter drawn from a re­cently up­graded re­verse-os­mo­sis plant.

Villa del Pal­mar Beach Re­sort & Spa at the Is­lands of Loreto

Villa del Pal­mar has been called Baja Mexico’s first bil­lion-star re­sort -- the ab­sence of a dense pop­u­la­tion and city lights or street lamps, makes the night sky a sight to be­hold. The beau­ti­ful Is­lands of Loreto trans­ports you back to his­toric Mexico. And the re­sort, flanked by the rugged land­scape, leads you to one of the last vir­gin coast­lines. The five is­lands of Loreto cre­ate a sanc­tu­ary for more than 1,000 species of ma­rine life and in 1996 the area was de­clared fed­er­ally pro­tected as Loreto Bay Na­tional Ma­rine Park. This pris­tine meet­ing of land and sea of­fers a lux­u­ri­ous beach­side re­sort com­plete with ex­cel­lent din­ing, wa­ter sports and spa days. Ad­ven­tures in­clude snor­kel­ing, kayak­ing, pad­dle board­ing, fish­ing, hik­ing, moun­tain bik­ing, horse­back rid­ing or just en­joy the warmth of the wa­ter. Com­pli­men­tary shut­tle ser­vice en­ables guests to ex­plore his­toric Loreto and visit the 1697 mis­sion that made the town fa­mous. A short, di­rect flight from LAX on Alaska Air­lines, the re­sort is lo­cated just 25 min­utes from Loreto In­ter­na­tional Air­port. Danzante Bay real es­tate op­por­tu­ni­ties also in­clude a 734-acre mas­ter planned re­sort com­mu­nity and time­share con­dos are also avail­able.

Sa­bila Spa

Named one of Mexico’s Best Spas by SpaFin­der, ex­pe­ri­ence an ex­tra­or­di­nary spa ex­pe­ri­ence within the re­sort’s 39,000-square foot fa­cil­ity. Ex­pect to be cap­ti­vated at the Sa­bila Spa and Well­ness Cen­ter, where the menu takes in­spi­ra­tion from the sooth­ing plant and herb ex­tracts na­tive to the Baja Cal­i­for­nia area.

Danzante Bay View

18th Hole (photo by David R. Hol­land)

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