Golf Course Architecture - Issue 60, April 2020

67 COSTA PALMAS The view from the tee of the seventh, an uphill par five, is very open: there is a great deal of width on offer, though much of it is sand. A large central bunker built into a big mound dominates the second landing zone, while a wide, shallow arroyo fronts the green. On this hole particularly the sheer expanse of bare sand toys with visuals and makes club selection difficult. Another central bunker is to be found on the mid-length par four eighth. Cut nicely into a landform, it dominates decision-making. Right is shorter and offers good visibility but sand threatens. Left is the bailout, but a mound makes accessing green harder. This is a good solid strategic hole. The ninth is a brute: a tough, long four with sand biting in from the left at 295 yards from the back tee. A big sand complex at front right threatens the approach. There is a good view of the green from the right side of the fairway – and the longer the drive, the better the view – but the sand fronting the putting surface is scary. Thankfully, at the end of such a savage hole, the green is fairly forgiving, with punchbowl qualities. Another theme of the course is the tees. In a sense, they are classic Jonesian style, but they are sinuously shaped, and mostly surrounded by sand, so you don’t get the overwhelming perception of an unnatural aircraft carrier deck. The course’s greens are mostly at grade with their surrounds: the long par three fourteenth is one exception to this, using a slight elevation to defend the front of the surface. The fifteenth, a medium par four, is the first of the marina holes, with a very attractive tee shot. It is strategically clever; the green very clearly accepts shots better from the left side, close to the water. Sixteen is potentially a standout par three. Again, there is a huge expanse of sand – with very artistic edges – but this time it is backed by the sea. The short par five seventeenth shares its teeing ground with sixteen, not particularly relevant to riders but another nice touch for walkers. And the home hole is a long four. From the tee, it feels as though it is a diagonal ‘bite off as much as you can chew’ shot, but actually the hole is pretty straight. There is a central bunker 240 yards from the back tee, with lots of room to the right, though the view is better from the tighter left side. You would, however, have to be pretty brave actually to aim there. A tiny back left plateau on the green gives a scary Sunday pin. So, that is Costa Palmas, a splendid course with a great variety of holes and a very good addition to the golfing attributes of Los Cabos. It’s fair to say that the course needs to be good, given the standard of the rest of the development, but Bobby Jones and his crew have more than lived up to the ground they were given – this is fine work. GCA “The sheer expanse of bare sand toys with visuals and makes club selection difficult” Photo: Evan Schiller