The Takeaway: The Dunes course is special. You aren’t there long before a smile emerges on your face as you know you’ve discovered one of the best courses in the world. The commanding dunes and sparkling ocean views combine with top shelf architecture to create an experience superior to any other in Mexico. Not including the Dunes on a golf trip Cabo trip is a nearly unforgivable mistake. Grade A+
Designer: Davis Love III in 2009
Phone Number: U.S. (866) 901-1456 or Mexico +52 (624) 172-5812
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Diamante (Dunes)'s official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - Boulevard Diamante, Cabo San Lucas, BCS 23473
Accolades: Ranked 1st in Baja California Sur and 1st in Mexico by Golf Course Gurus.
What to Expect: The Dunes at Diamante is the prime example of how good golf in Mexico can be. The Davis Love III design does a brilliant job of embracing the undulated terrain, ocean views, and sand dunes to create a golf experience that is as pure and natural feeling as you'll find. The large dunes on the property give the course a different look and feel compared to what you'd typically find in a desert setting and feels like a European links in a warm location. Every hole at The Dunes is engaging is its design and compelling in the way it plays. In fact, I kept finding myself excited to see what was coming up next but thoroughly enjoying the hole I was currently on. While El Cardonal gets a lot of attention for the width of its fairways, the short grass at Dunes is only slightly narrower and offers plenty of room off the tee which helps accommodate the wind when it picks up. From a conditioning standpoint, you won't be disappointed as the course is maintained in excellent shape and is a pleasure to play from. Really the only downside to the course is the newly constructed Hard Rock and Nobu hotels that have taken away from the views and atmosphere of the course and are a quick dash of reality that you haven't actually made it to heaven. Unrelated to the golf course design and play, the comfort stations on the course are a nice perk from an experience standpoint where you can find snacks, drinks, and homemade tamales. Carts and caddies are also available for players to take on the course. In the end, the Dunes at Diamante is deserving of its spot on Top 100 World lists and its designation as the best course in Mexico. It is the type of course where time flies by way too fast and you can hardly wait to tee it up there again for another crack at playing such good hole designs.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 17th Hole – 175 Yard Par 3 – At tracks as good as the Dunes course at Diamante it almost cheapens it to identify just one signature hole considering how many of the holes designs are great, but the 17th checks all the boxes with beautiful scenery, an appealing design, and a setting that embraces the property. Playing directly towards the ocean, the 17th descends gradually to a tiered green that shows off its curves late in the day when the shadows take center stage. How strong the wind is coming off the water dictates the club selection and how aggressive to be attacking the day’s pin location. It is a beautiful hole and the perfect precursor to the finishing hole that take players back inland.
Best Par 3: 2nd Hole – 252 Yards – The opening hole is a nice offering, but it took stepping onto the 2nd tee before realizing how special the Dunes course promised to be. The green sits at the base of two impressive dunes with the one on the left totally exposed while the one on the right is peppered with foliage. It’s the most natural looking golf hole I’ve discovered in Mexico and if it weren’t for the 80 degree temperatures I would have thought I was in the British Isles or on the coast of Bandon, Oregon. At 252 yards it is no pushover, but the elevated tee effectively takes off some yardage and the inviting entrance allows players to hit short and chase their balls onto the putting surface. Players that fly their tee shot all the way to the middle or back third of the green risk watching their ball roll off the back as the putting surface slopes away to a tightly mown chipping area. This a great hole to set the tone for the round with more strategic elements to consider than most par threes.
Best Par 4: 11th Hole – 507 Yards – On what could easily be considered the Bogey Beware course at the Dunes course, the 11th is a stout two-shotter that requires every element; length, accuracy, and finesse. Length is required off the tee to have any chance of reaching this green in two, accuracy is needed to avoid the bunker in the middle of the fairway, and finesse is mandatory around this raised green with a false front and crater bunkers. The approach shot on this hole begs for a towering fade that splits the bunkers and comes to rest on the proper level of the undulated putting surface. If your confidence is wavering, take an extra club and work the ball off the backstop behind the green and take your chances on where your ball finishes. It is a complete golf hole that plays uphill to increase the shot making required; all elements of success.
Best Par 5: 13th Hole – 516 Yards – The reachable 13th is a delightful par five that is attractive, shows off the terrain, and features a risk/reward opportunity. The tee shot is plenty inviting with a generous fairway before the hole bends right while the fairway slopes hard to the left. The approach shot plays slightly uphill to a green flanked in front by a dune that transitions to a greenside bunker while the backside boasts a large dune that the putting surface trails off to. The precision required to reach this green from distance is acute and laying up can quickly result in your ball tumbling down to the low side of the fairway effectively resulting in an uphill approach shot where most of the putting surface will be shielded from view. The hole is short enough to tempt players to reach the green in two despite the clear challenges, especially since laying up is no gimmie afterwards. It is a great design and a hole you’d never tire of playing.
Birdie Time: 6th Hole – 488 Yard Par 5 – 19 yards shorter than the par four 11th, the par five 6th is a perfect opportunity to throw a birdie on the card. The tee shot on this dogleg left plays downhill to a fairway flanked on the left side by a sizeable bunker. The approach shot, which could very well be with an iron, plays uphill to a bowled green with a small shelf in the front third and a wide landing area in the back. The generous contours around the green will yield plenty of eagle putts and a generous amount of birdie conversions. On a side note, this hole felt like something you’d find at Tom Doak’s Ballyneal course in the northeastern corner of Ballyneal. Frankly, it is impressive to find such natural looking holes in Mexico that embrace the roots of course design in an area so new to the game.
Bogey Beware: 7th Hole – 292 Yard Par 3 – I’ve played par fours shorter than this beast! At nearly 300 yards, the 7th is the toughest green in regulation of the day at Diamante’s Dunes course. The elevated green helps reduce the effective yardage but a series of exposed humps across the face of the green can repel balls that aren’t coming in with enough merit. The best miss is left of the green which will allow you to chip back into the slope and yield a good opportunity to get it close. Pars here take a half stroke on the field, at least.