The Takeaway: One of the better Greg Norman designs to date, Solmar is engaging, scenic, and strategic. The ocean views never get old, the playability is high, and it stands as a top public access course in Mexico. Grade A-
Designer: Greg Norman 2020
Cost: $250 - $330 Click for current rates
Phone Number: +52 554-172-4653
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Solmar Golf Links's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - Carretera a Todos Santos Kilometro 120, Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur 23473 – MEXICO
What to Expect: Originally known as Rancho San Lucas, Solmar Golf Links is a Greg Norman design at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula where the desert landscape meets the sandy ocean beaches. The design features spacious fairways and greens to hit while delivering a great variety of hole lengths, shapes, and strategies to engage with. Earlier Greg Norman designs seem overly penal as a whole, but Solmar shows the growth that Greg has developed over time and the result at Solmar is a course that is much more fun with greater long term playability. Greg also did a great job of incorporating ocean vistas into the routing that has holes running a variety of different directions which is ideal in a location where wind can commonly roll through. In addition, the elevation changes in the terrain and sand dunes provide an excellent setting to put a golf course on and feel a bit more pure than most in the Cabo area. The conditioning of the turf is fantastic as the SeaDwarf Paspalum grass provides a pure surface to hit from and roll putts on. Lastly, the comfort stations throughout the course provide a wide variety of food, snacks, and beverages to enjoy with a different set of items to pick from at each stop. In the end, Solmar makes an argument as one of the best public access courses in Mexico and is a must-play when visiting Cabo.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 17th Hole – 191 Yard Par 3 – Greg Norman isn't going to let you off easy on the penultimate hole that is an island green one-shotter. The wind can often be coming into your face and off the left which adds an element of challenge when picking your line and club. The green is large which provides a healthy target, but missing it is unforgiving as there is nothing but water to find other than the sandy area on the right with a cactus standing in it. It is a do or die offering and if you manage a par or better here, you'll be all smiles heading to Solmar's closing hole.
Best Par 3: 5th Hole – 251 Yards – The downhill 5th is a stunner with the green sitting in the foreground and a towering sand dune coupled with the ocean creating the background. The tee shot plays downhill so the yardage isn't as intimidating as the scorecard would indicate and the front of the green is wide open to run a ball up onto the putting surface. The swell running from the front to the back of the green makes pins on the left side easier to get close to than the smaller, higher shelf on the right. This is a beauty of a hole with several shot options of how to conquer it.
Best Par 4: 2nd Hole – 434 Yards – Norman wastes no time introducing players to the ocean here at the 2nd and showcases the impressive land that Solmar occupies. This two-shotter plays downhill with sand dunes on the right and trouble on the left, while players who find the middle will have a perfect look at the bunkerless green. The front right corner is the most accessible with the fairway leading up to it helping bound balls towards the putting surface while the back left is the most challenging location to attack with the terrain sloping off quickly beyond the green. Hitting approach shots into this green with waves crashing on the beach in the background is an inspiring view.
Best Par 5: 13th Hole – 595 Yards – The tee shot plays downhill towards the ocean on the 13th and offers an exhilarating view to take in. The native sage and cactus plants line each side of the fairway so it is critical to find the short grass to set up any chance of going for the green in two. Norman expanded a sand based path on the right side of the fairway and widened it as it approached the green before carving it between the fairway and green. The result is a desert island green with a small area of fairway in front that will allow players to try and reach the green in two, while players electing to layup should stay down the left side and give themselves the best angle for the day's pin placement. Going too far right on the approach to the green will bring the lake into play that surrounds the island green 17th. You have to be pretty exacting the whole trip on this par five.
Birdie Time: 16th Hole – 327 Yard Par 4 – Greg Norman clearly wanted to give players an opportunity to pick up a birdie before heading to the island green 17th, and he does it by offering this driveable par four. The tee shot plays from an elevated tee which aids in players creating extra distance to get home with their tee shot or at least get it down to flip wedge distance. A bunker protrudes into the front center of the green with putting surface coming down on either side of it and creating two distinct sides for the flag to be placed. If the pin is in the back center behind the bunker you may want to be more cautious with your approach, otherwise you should be aggressive attacking any other flag location.
Bogey Beware: 12th Hole – 460 Yard Par 4 – A beauty and a beast, the 12th offers panoramic ocean views from the elevated tee but pinches the fairway down tight where longballers might be able to reach. From the tee it appears that the left side is the preferred place to hit your ball due to the fairway pushing balls to the right, but the left side is also where the native ground encroaches and likes to eat balls while finding the sand on the right will at least ensure a second shot. If you attack the green from the left side you'll be able to play your shot short and bound the ball onto the putting surface while coming from the right will require an aerial ball over the bunker protecting that side. Once you are on board the putting surface, the challenge doesn't stop as the green features a series of undulations that will test your flatstick skills. If you card a bogey here, you have a par five next to try and make up for it.