Centerpiece of an 834-acre resort and residential community fronting a pristine stretch of beach on the Pacific Ocean 15 minutes from downtown Cabo San Lucas, the Greg Norman Signature golf course at Rancho San Lucas has opened for play.
Known for his ‘least-disturbance’ design approach, Norman has created a low-profile, links-style layout that features sweeping ocean views from every hole. Earthmoving was kept to a minimum: the site’s contours and topography, Norman said, were ideal for the routing of a world-class course.
Spanning three different ecosystems, the 7,210-yard, par-72 golf course rambles through huge windswept dunes at the start, climbs through a thick cactus forest creased by meandering arroyos in the middle of the round, and returns players to the beach and sea on the back nine.
Tailored to the site’s terrain, Norman and his design team integrated indigenous landscapes and grass varietals that use the least amount of water, creating an eco-friendly golf experience that flows naturally with the dune and desert landscape. The club has applied for enrollment in Audubon International’s Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses.
“Rancho San Lucas is the most spectacular piece of oceanfront property I’ve seen in a long time, so to have the opportunity to build a course on this site was truly once-in-a-lifetime,” Norman said. “My goal was to keep it as natural as possible while showcasing the site’s arroyos, dunes and view corridors. We wanted to build a sustainable course that is playable from all perspectives, including the forward tees. We’re committed to making a global impact by creating courses that withstand the test of time, and I truly believe this golf course is one of the best we’ve ever built.”
The layout’s defining characteristic is its revetted pot bunkers. These sharp-edged, steep-walled sandy pits were constructed from recycled artificial turf and are nearly identical to the natural sod-walled bunkers found on British links courses. Resistant to washouts, the club’s synthetic, low-maintenance bunkers are a first in Mexico. Norman used them sparingly.
Tees, greens and fairways at Rancho San Lucas are surfaced in paspalum, a salt- and drought-tolerant cultivar that uses a fraction of the insecticides and fertilizer required by normal grasses.
The versatile, well-groomed layout has five sets of tees and offers exceptional pace and variety. The par 5’s are brawny, the par 3’s are varied. The par 4’s, angled to all compass points, range from long and stout to short and fun.
Featuring a dramatic 300-foot elevation change, the well-strategized course has a handful of holes on the beach, notably the par-3 third, which parallels the sea and will give players fine views of breaching whales during the winter months. There’s also a signature island green at the par-3 17th hole. Corridors are wide and targets are generous: four of the putting surfaces exceed 12,000 square feet.
Mindful of the seasonal windy conditions, Norman devised a 12-hole ‘course within a course’ at Rancho San Lucas. This innovative 4,964-yard, par-49 layout consists of low-lying holes sheltered by the dunes and shielded from Pacific breezes. It promises a pleasant outing on a windy day in May.
With two on-course comfort stations, each providing Mexican specialties and ice-cold refreshments, players can enjoy an all-inclusive experience during the round. A handsome ranchero-style clubhouse overlooks the fairways and sea. The practice facility features a basin-shaped driving range, an 18-hole putting course, and dedicated chipping, pitching and sand play areas.
Rancho San Lucas is a private club with exclusive access available to guests of Solmar Group hotels, including the new on-site Grand Solmar Rancho San Lucas Hotel & Resort. https://www.ranchosanlucas.com/