Sunday, April 5, 2009

Golfing in Puerto Vallarta

Feel like golfing while staying in one of Mexican Destinations' luxury villas? Here is all the information you need about golf courses around Puerto Vallarta.

Puerto Vallarta is an increasingly popular golf destination; five courses have opened in the past 4 years, bringing the total in the region to nine. The Joe Finger-designed private course at the Marina Vallarta Golf Club (tel. 322/221-0073) is an 18-hole, par-74 course that winds through the Marina Vallarta peninsula and affords ocean views. It's for members only, but most luxury hotels in Puerto Vallarta have memberships for their guests. Club rentals, lessons, and special packages are available.

North of town in the state of Nayarit, about 16km (10 miles) beyond Puerto Vallarta, is the 18-hole, par-72 Los Flamingos Club de Golf. It features beautiful jungle vegetation and has just undergone a renovation and upgrade of the course. It's open from 7am to 5pm daily, with a snack bar (but no restaurant) and full pro shop. The greens fee is $95 and includes the use of a golf cart; hiring a caddy costs $12 plus tip, and club rental is $27 to $44. A free shuttle runs from downtown Puerto Vallarta; call for pickup times and locations.

The breathtaking Jack Nicklaus Signature course at the Four Seasons Punta Mita has eight oceanfront holes and an ocean view from every hole. Its hallmark is the optional Hole 3B, the "Tail of the Whale," with a long drive to a green on a natural island -- the only natural-island green in the Americas. It requires an amphibious cart to take you over when the tide is high, and there's an alternate hole for when the ocean or tides are not accommodating. It's open only to guests of the Four Seasons resort or to members of other golf clubs with a letter of introduction from their pro. Selected other area hotels also have guest privileges -- ask your concierge. Greens fees for nonguests are $260, including cart, with (Calloway) club rentals for $60. Lessons are also available.

A second Jack Nicklaus course is at the Vista Vallarta Golf Club (tel. 322/290-0030), along with one designed by Tom Weiskopf. These courses were the site of the 2002 PGA World Cup Golf Championships. It's in the foothills of the Sierra Madre, behind the bullring in Puerto Vallarta. A round costs $167 per person, including cart.

The Robert von Hagge-designed El Tigre course at Paradise Village in Nuevo Vallarta, opened in March 2002. The 7,239-yard course is on a relatively flat piece of land, but the design incorporates challenging bunkers, undulating fairways, and water features on several holes. El Tigre also offers lessons and has an expansive clubhouse. This seems to be the favored course of local pros. Greens fees are $185 a round, or $85 if you play after 2pm.

Start organizing your golf vacation in Puerto Vallarta with Mexican Destinations.