Golf On The Baja Peninsula ... Cabo's Best

By Greg Wires

April 3, 2024

Nearly 900 miles south of San Diego is the Mexican village of Cabo San Lucas. It is at the southern tip of the Baja peninsula. The peninsula is where the Baja 1000, a grueling 1,300+ mile car race, across foreboding terrain and typically won in some time over 16 hours, is held. To the west of Baja is the Pacific Ocean and to the east is the Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California.

In the past couple of decades, Cabo, as it is commonly called, has become a tourist destination for many travelers from the U.S. and Canada. The climate is almost always ideal, with average high temps from December through April being in the 70s and 80s and only a handful of rain days all year.

In and around Cabo are about two dozen golf courses, some private, but with about a dozen open for regular daily play, it is not difficult to find a place for a game. Recently we were lucky to come upon a gem that has been compared to Pebble Beach. While not sure of the comparison, I can say that if you enjoy views of the Pacific Ocean on an exceptionally designed and well-maintained course, Solmar Golf Links will not disappoint.


Solmar Golf Links is a Greg Norman designed golf course and opened in 2020 as a part of Grand Solmar Pacific Dunes Resort, a time-share complex with all the amenities you expect either completed or in the seven-year completion plan. A Greg Norman branded housing community is also part of the complex.

From the opening hole, a par-5 which faces mostly north/northwest and is into the prevailing winds, views of the ocean are a constant. With the lush green fairways surrounded by huge sand dunes and desert cacti, getting on in regulation on this first hole takes three solid shots. Be successful on that first hole and you get to the par-4 second, the number one handicap hole on the course. The 3rd and 4th holes have you heading more southerly with a mid-length par-3 and shorter par-4, offering a decent chance to put a couple of good numbers on your card. Be sure to look back from the 4th green and take in the view, with sailboats and other water vessels usually in sight. The fifth hole gives you your second front-nine par-3 and is surrounded by enormous sand dunes. It is mid-length, though slightly downhill, so club selection can be tricky depending on wind. From the cart path to the 6th tee, stop and look back up the first fairway to a cool view of the impressive clubhouse.


You will also have the opportunity, just before the 6th tee box, to stop at the first of four possible stops at snack bars. On our day of playing, tamales and empañadas were offered along with a nice snack mix cup, some chips and beverages (pop, water, cerveza, tequila and more). With 13 more holes to enjoy, we chose the water and snack mix. You come to this refreshment stop again following play on the 8th hole and this time we tried the tamales and empañadas and both were delicious mid-round treats. Make sure to ask for the hot sauce.

That 8th hole was an enjoyable, neatly designed par-5 that plays with a significant downhill terrain and with a good tee shot can be reachable in two. I had only a short chip to get on the green in regulation. The ninth hole is a slightly uphill par-5 that takes you back to the clubhouse. Following the cart part around to the 10th tee heads you again in a south/southeast direction, more often than not with a tailwind. There is a ravine to carry on your approach to the green. 

Number 11 is a very short par-3 hole playing along part of the aforementioned Greg Norman Estates, some impressive homes for sure. Holes 12 and 13, a par-4 and 5 respectively, take you back towards the ocean with ravines to carry on approach shots. Following the 13th you have a chance to stop at the second snack bar, this one offered hot dogs and a delicious chicken salad cup along with the other snacks and drinks mentioned earlier. Playing the 14th hole is a treat, a nice par-4 running adjacent to the ocean. You will again play up and away from the ocean on 15, though you will have a stunning view of it if you look back and to your right. Following 15 is your final chance to stop at the snack bar. For me, it was late enough in the round to order a refreshing Dos Equis to savor over the final three holes. Sixteen is a short par-4 with a spectacular view from the back tee. Regardless of the tee you are playing, go back there for the scenery.  


Next is the signature hole that you have been told about and anticipating much of your round and certainly the past couple of holes. It is a par-3 with an island green, accessible from a short walkway behind the green. Depending on your tee, it will be a mid or short iron and as with all par-3s, getting on is the most, if only thought you want to have. I was able to hit the green with a 9-iron, though with a left pin, Johnny Miller would have called my shot to the left edge of the green a mistake. However, the 20 foot putt was nearly straight and flat and making a ‘2’ on the penultimate hole made for a fun way to begin my wrap-up of a fantastic round of golf along the Pacific coast of the Baja Peninsula. The 18th is a nice, slightly uphill par-5 that brings you back to the clubhouse.


Of course there is more than golf to Cabo. The town itself is full of shops, restaurants and bars. You will want to spend time at the harbor, walking around if you are able. It will be about a 30-45 minute walk and you will be approached by vendors, always willing to make a “deal” on their wares, from silver jewelry and leather goods to blankets and pottery and much more. There are bazaar-type shops everywhere. If you can, by all means take some sort of water cruise. We chose a sunset cruise that took us past the famous Cabo Arch and a bit out to sea where we were able to view dozens of humpback whales breaching the water as they made their way back north from their winter getaway in warmer waters. We also enjoyed a water taxi that took us to the popular Medano Beach for $7. A pedi-cab ride back to the base of our resort costs about the same and was a kick with Mariachi music piped to us. You will not need pesos in Cabo as nearly every establishment readily accepts dollars. Occasionally they will provide your change in pesos, usually at the bank-offered exchange rate that day. Taxis are plentiful and the way we mostly got from our resort to and from the golf courses. We walked to the harbor in under 10 minutes.


Lodging options are abundant and Cabo is a time-share mecca. You will almost certainly be approached and offered opportunities to buy into many of the properties, but renting these units either directly from the owner or through second parties like VRBO or RedWeek is also an option. Many of these properties are essentially upscale resorts with multiple restaurants, infinity pools, spas and the like. Regular hotels are also readily available. We were in a time-share resort, in a suite we rented through RedWeek. Though we chose to mostly enjoy the array of restaurants for meals, with a refrigerator, stove and microwave in our suite, we were able to have a few essentials. We also met people who fully stocked their units for a week.  Ours was a wonderful unit, near the infinity pool and a short stroll to all the restaurants.

As mentioned above, there are some dozen golf courses in and around Cabo, many with spectacular vistas and interesting terrain. I hope to see more of them, but for now, having played Solmar Golf Links is a nice check-off the to-play list.



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