Riviera Nayarit Golf Considered Far Above Par
Photo courtesy of the Riviera Nayarit Convention & Visitors Bureau
Few golf destinations can rival the scenery and settings of Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, where stunning views of Banderas Bay, the Pacific Ocean, pristine beaches and lush rainforests of the Sierra Madre Mountains paint a dramatic backdrop.
Beauty aside, Riviera Nayarit golf resort vacations continue to gain popularity thanks to challenging course layouts designed by masterful golf architects listed among the sport’s greatest figures. Guests are privy to six exceptional world-class Riviera Nayarit golf courses designed by the likes of Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus.
It all postures Mexico's Riviera Nayarit as a dream destination for your clients to fine-tune their driving, chipping and putting. The impressive roster includes Flamingos, El Nayar, El Tigre, Litibu, and Punta Mita Bahia and Pacifico.
Flamingos Golf Course
Flamingos has matured as a world-class golf resort since it was built in 1970 as a cornerstone of the Nuevo Vallarta resort development. Percy Clifford created the 6,853-yard par 72 layout that merges rolling hills with mangroves, natural lagoons and lush tropical rainforests — making it a favorite among nature lovers who covet playing a round in a gorgeous setting.
With nine water hazards and 43 bunkers, Flamingos features Bermuda grass in both fairways and greens. Accommodating long and short distance hitters, its four tee-off marks provide the right level of challenge for players of varying calibers.
For more details or to book tee times for your clients, visit flamingosgolf.com.mx.
El Tigre Golf & Country Club
Since opening in 2002 at Paradise Village in Nuevo Vallarta, the par 72 El Tigre has roared as a challenge that tests even seasoned PGA pros. With its massive Mayan Temple stone archway, the 7,239-yard course designed by Von Hagge, Smelek & Barilhas boasts 12 lakes and a trio of beach sand bunkers — all attesting that it merits its Rolex ranking as one of the “Best 1,000 Golf Courses in the World.”
Aside from great golf, El Tigre provides a 45,000 square foot clubhouse, 300-yard driving range, putting range and “19th hole” restaurant with bar.
For green fees and a hole-by-hole review, visit eltigregolf.com.
READ MORE: Riviera Nayarit's Chic Boutique Hotels
Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta — Jack Nicklaus & Greg Norman Courses
Opening in 2001, the Jack Nicklaus-designed El Nayar Golf Course at Vidanta is surrounded by lush jungle and mountains on one side and the Pacific on the other. With 49 strategically placed bunkers, seven lakes and strong crosswinds off the Pacific, this par 70 course with its 6,668-yard design presents a challenge for golfers with handicaps from low to high.
Winding along the banks of the Ameca River separating Nayarit from its neighboring state of Jalisco to the south, the new Greg Norman Signature Golf Course at Vidanta presents unsurpassed course conditioning on wall-to-wall Paspalum playing surfaces and a trip across the world's longest golf cart suspension bridge.
Large landing areas off the tee give way to large undulating greens protected in typical Norman fashion by cavernous bunkers. The par 72 design also wows with native grasses, indigenous trees and jungle surrounding the core course layout that’s described as “void of civilization.”
Other Vidanta perks include a Jack Nicklaus Academy of Golf, clubhouse with restaurant and bar, lighted practice range and caddie service.
For details on these two Vidanta courses, visit vidanta.com. You can also book tee times at 866-231-4423.
Litibu Golf Course
Near Riviera Nayarit’s exclusive Punta de Mita area, the Greg Norman-designed Litibu Golf Course is a challenging par 72 with seven link-style holes and eight additional holes surrounded by virgin jungles. The final three holes along Litibu’s 7,022-yard layout play along the ocean with impressive views of Mexico's Pacific coastline and the upscale Punta Mita resort. Garnering praise as a course favorite, the par 3 fourth hole features 185 yards of splendor garnished by a hill, narrow green and three surrounding bunkers.
For tee times and course details, visit fonaturoperadoraportuaria.gob.mx.
Punta Mita — Pacifico Golf Course & Bahia Golf Course
Both the Punta Mita Pacifico that opened in 1999 and Punta Mita Bahia Golf that followed ten years later have been thoughtfully designed by Jack Nicklaus to incorporate the area’s beautiful tropical landscaping and incredible ocean views.
Pacifico’s unique design inspired GOLF magazine to name Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita as one of the top sites for teeing off in the publication’s GOLF 2016-2017 Best Places to Play rankings. Playing between 5,037 and 7,014 yards, Pacifico takes advantage of its seaside location with eight holes fringing the water and every hole providing a striking view of the Sierra Madre. Generous landing areas off the tee and subtle movement in the greens make this resort-style design enjoyable for players of all abilities.
Golf diehards are especially driven by the novelty challenge of the world’s only natural island green that’s dubbed “The Tail of the Whale.” This option “3B” hole is reachable only during high tide via the resort’s amphibious gold cart.
In contrast to Pacifico, the Bahia Golf Course features six ocean holes and plays between 5,180 and 7,030 yards as it rolls through the property of the St. Regis Resort, and among the Punta Mita communities of El Encanto, Porta Fortuna and La Punta Estates. Count on undulating fairways and greens demanding precision putting. While Punta Mita’s beautiful natural landscape provides a stunning backdrop for the entire course, one of the most breathtaking holes ups the ante via a Banderas Bay panorama.
Please note that play on Punta Mita’s pair of Nicklaus golf courses is reserved for guests of the St. Regis Punta Mita Resort and Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, as well as Punta Mita residents. For further details, visit puntamita.com.
More by Dawna L. Robertson
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