Nature takes its course
The landscape at Danzante Bay Golf Club is an environmental beauty
For a penultimate hole, Rees Jones thinks No. 17 at Danzante Bay Golf Club is destined for ultimate experience status.
Early raves aside, Jones mainly sees that happening as more people discover the course’s location in Loreto, a ruggedly beautiful portion of Mexico on the Sea of Cortez side of the Baja Peninsula about 275 miles north of Cabo San Lucas.
For Jones, a golf course architect with more than 200 designs and renovations to his name, his first layout in Mexico has been worth the wait, which will last a few months longer while the final seven holes are completed.
“This, I think, is the most diverse landscape of any golf course in the world,” Jones said in early November at a pre-opening of the course. “This is one of those build-it- and-they-will-come deals. You have desert holes, mountain holes, valley holes, dunes holes and what I think will be among the world’s best holes – the 17th.”
Yes, the 17th is indeed a spectacular sight, and one that caused Jones and his team to rework Plan A so the 160-yard par-3 on an undiscovered portion of the property could be included in the layout. What he found – and golfers will find – is a hole with a tee box 250 feet above the sea requiring tee shots to land on a narrow green perched on a rock outcrop with three steep falloffs interrupted briefly by a horseshoe-shaped bunker.
“I got lucky,” Jones said of the discovery. “I think it’s probably one of the great golf experiences in the world. When we saw it, we asked Owen if we could build a hole there and, when he saw it, he said yes.”
Jones’s reference was to Owen Perry, co-owner of the Villa Group that opened Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa at the Islands of Loreto five years ago. The resort, which is affiliated with the course and has increased occupancy rates each year, takes gorgeous advantage of the region’s serene beaches, scenic vistas, natural habitats and active opportunities that include fishing, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, paddle boarding, whale watching and snorkeling near one of the five main Islands of Loreto.
“We saw what a unique area this is and that people would enjoy it, and so far we’ve been right,” said Perry, who has completed 14 development projects since joining the group and is in the process of building a clustered real estate component at the Danzante Bay site. “We are very confident about this location.”
That confidence will likely grow when the remaining seven holes of the golf course are complete. As of now, the first and ninth holes, in addition to the back nine, are open for play. It wasn’t Perry’s intent to open the course in phases, but after requests from resort guests to play the finished holes proved popular, he agreed to give people a shot.
“The feedback was tremendous,” he said of player reactions. “So we decided to go ahead and do it this way.”