The Takeaway: Jack’s newest nine, Ocean, is the highlight of the 27 holes at Palmilla with Mountain owning the second spot. It may not be among the best of Cabo’s several courses, but is a solid public offering. Grade B-
Designer: Jack Nicklaus 1992; Ocean nine added 1997
Cost: $145 - $325 Click for current rates
Phone Number: +52 624-144-5250
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Palmilla Golf Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - KM 7.5 Carretera Transpeninsular, San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sure 23400 – MEXICO
Photos: See additional photos of Palmilla Golf Club
What to Expect: Palmilla, or The One and Only Palmilla as they like to refer to themselves as, is a public access golf course that neighbors Querencia in San Jose del Cabo on the southeast end of the peninsula. The Jack Nicklaus design was originally 18 holes, consisting of the Mountain and Arroyo nines, with an additional nine holes (known as Ocean) that was added five years later. The Ocean nine is the most impressive of the nine holes with beautiful views and engaging hole designs that pair best with the Mountain if you are only going to play 18 holes. Mountain and Arroyo provide a classic desert golf experience where you find the fairway or you've likely lost your ball; or you're going to beat up your spikes looking for it. A fair amount of elevation changes comes into play throughout the routing and if you can't hit from the sand; in a bunker or waste area; then it's going to be a long day. A couple of water hazards are worked into the routing and do a nice job of breaking up the scenery and strategy of the holes. The par fours are the highlight in the routing with some memorable offerings but the conditioning of the turf isn't very good compared to most courses in Cabo. While it can't compete with the private tracks in Cabo, Palmilla is a nice course for the public to enjoy.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 3rd (Ocean) Hole – 458 Yard Par 4 – A postcard worthy hole that quickly inspires the senses is what players find when they stand on the 3rd tee. The downhill tee shot plays to a fairway that angles from left to right and asks players to decide how much of the hole they want to cut off by challenging the right side rather than flirting with the pair of fairway bunkers on the left. The approach shot continues to play downhill with the green terminating at the beach with palm trees encircling the target and providing a very tropical themed setting. There is some room to the left to miss, but on the right side is a deep bunker that cascades off the course to the beach. This hole is a compelling reason why many people prefer the Ocean course over the other nines.
Best Par 3: 6th (Mountain) Hole – 207 Yards – It is still Jack Nicklaus, but the 6th on the Mountain course looks like a par three you would find on a Pete Dye design. Water runs up the entire left side and leaves no room for error in that direction while the right side is protected by bunkers that demand you strike the ball well to find a green in regulation. It is a testing one-shotter that isn't for the faint of heart.
Best Par 4: 5th (Mountain) Hole – 401 Yards – The headliner hole on the Mountain course, the 5th plays easterly and requires a pair of forced carries. The tee shot plays over a ravine to a fairway that starts wide and narrows the closer to the green it gets. The bunkerless hole features a deep desert wash that must be carried on the approach shot along with the two bunkers that flank the left side and the false front with its tongue diving towards the arroyo. Marked as the #1 handicap, big numbers can occur here if you aren't golfing your ball proficiently.
Best Par 5: 7th (Mountain) Hole – 550 Yards – The 7th hole on the Mountain course offers players another glimpse at the ocean as they tee off downhill on this reachable par five. A cutting tee ball will follow the shape of the fairway and carry the first of three desert washes that come into play. There is a second wash that is a factor on the second short while a final wash crosses in front of the green for the third shot. There are forced carries everywhere at Palmilla and the better you can handle them, the more success you'll have.
Birdie Time: 8th (Ocean) Hole – 314 Yard Par 4 – The short 8th hole is Jack's gift for players that haven't been able to put a birdie on the scorecard. Just under 300 yards directly at the green with yield an eagle putt while dialing it back a bit just requires carrying the trio of cross bunkers that players first encounter. No matter what strategy you employ, you'll have a scoring club in your hand for the second shot and an opportunity to go pinseeking. Birdie here is a good momentum boost heading into the par five 9th.
Bogey Beware: 8th (Arroyo) Hole – 243 Yard Par 3 – The 8th is a beautiful and exciting hole to play, but is equally dangerous. This heroic par three is all carry over a ravine with a bunker hugging the left side of the green and the ocean creating the backdrop. The mounding on the right side of the green pairs with the bail out area to encourage players to stay away from the left side where misses will result in a lost ball. It is a do or die hole with more deaths than successes; but it is a lot of fun trying.