REVIEW: Danzante Bay Golf Club, Loreto, Mexico
#TheMostPhotographedGolfHoleInMexico – It won’t be long and the signature hole 17 at Danzante Bay will have more photos on social media than any other hole in Mexico. It is visually stunning!! I played it 4 times on my trip, each during different light and saw the beauty of this hole from every angle. It wasn’t even part of the original design, it was discovered while working on the back 9. The peninsula green is surrounded by a horseshoe bunker to catch balls (and people) from falling off the cliffs into the water 250′ below. It has 2 main tiers and is very receptive to shots from any tee box, ranging from 178 to 99 yards. While it might be intimidating, it isn’t that hard. I was really happy to get some drone photos of this hole for a perspective few will get so see.
2. Terrain Variety
Danzante Bay Golf Club has 4 varieties of terrain that make for a visually stunning, yet playable course. There are 6 holes in the “valley” near the clubhouse. There is an irrigation lake in the middle of them so they stay interesting, even if on the flatter side. There are 9 holes that play in the canyons that surround the bay. They play up the canyon, down the canyon and hanging onto the walls of the canyon for great variety and visual beauty. There are 2 holes that play as beachfront holes. They are near the hotel and both greens are steps from the water sitting on the beach. The last terrain is the aforementioned cliff hole 17. The course meander through the terrain naturally and with great variety. (Outside of maybe holes 15 and 16 which play similarly uphill.) The views and challenges are different on every hole. Danzante Bay has an amazing collection of par 3s. They are different lengths and different styles. Hole 3 is actually the hardest of the bunch.
3. Friendly Design
Danzante Bay Golf Club will not be hosting a tour event. The remote location means there is no reason to design a course that only pros can hit the fairways and score under 100. Rees Jones did an excellent job of making a friendly players designed course. In my conversations with Steve Weiser of the Rees Jones design team, he said they actually designed the course from the forward tees and then worked back to the tips. If you want a challenge the tips will do so at 7237 yards, but if you want to enjoy all 18 holes on vacation, pick one of the other 4 tee boxes to play from. You will find wide fairways, large greens and few forced carries. There are plenty of opportunities to still lose golf balls, but you should be able to keep the ball mostly in play. We had 30 mph winds our first day so I had a few more lost balls than expected, but under normal conditions, this is a player friendly course. The range is a cool uphill strip of land partnered with plenty of chipping and putting space. Even if you don’t want to play a full 18 holes of golf, there is a 9 hole putting course that is aimed at both beginning and experienced golfers.
4. Danzante Bay
While I can play golf all day long, not everyone wants to play 36 holes+ on vacation. If you want to enjoy the beach and ocean, Danzante Bay is normally a calm tranquil cove that you can swim, paddle board, kayak and snorkel for hours in the crystal clear waters of the Sea of Cortez. We didn’t get to enjoy the water because of the high winds and slightly lower temperatures during our visit, but that was abnormal. This bay abounds with ocean life and because it is so protected and shallow it is great for the whole family to enjoy the ocean. If you take a hike on the cliffs, there is some whale watching in the late winter/early spring.
5. Villa Del Palmar Resort
This was actually a resort first and then the golf course was added. They have multiple buildings for lodging and food. The lodging horseshoes around a large turtle shaped pool complex. The rooms range from nice studio style suites to a 4 bedroom presidential suite which has 360* views of the ocean, the golf course and the pools. They are just starting the private home sales of 62 lots that are along parts of the golf course and some cliff side homes. These will be high-end residences for purchase or rent in the near future. The resort is kid friendly with a variety of pools and activities. It is fairly laid back and relaxing during the day. The nights are dark and quiet for great stargazing. I’m not a spa guy, I’m a golf guy. But my wife would rather spend the day at the spa while I go golfing. So that is what we did. She enjoyed the pampering at the Sabila spa which has many different options. Their hydrotherapy treatment is included in all visits to the spa. You can used the different showers and tubs to rejuvenate your skin. Their other treatments incorporate the plants and natural features of the area. My wife thought it was awesome.
6. The Little Things
Every good resort has little things hidden away to be discovered by guests. My favorite are the blue adirondack chairs dotting the cliffs along the bay. Grab a drink, and find one of these blue chairs to take in the water and the sunsets. There are hiking trails that weave to and from the resort around the cliffs and into the golf course. There are some hidden beaches that are accessible (I was told) that we didn’t have time to get to, but sound amazing. The little welcome rock in the room along with a chocolate golf cart were a nice touch too. You also never know you who you will meet here. Rees Jones, Byron Scott and Don Felder were just a few celebrities that made the grand opening ceremonies.
There are 4 different restaurant on site, so odds of you leaving the resort to eat are slim. The main restaurant is the Market. It serves all 3 meals each day in buffet style. There was a good variety of local cuisine and international flavors. The Danzante Restaurant is for fine dining and the Casa Mia is more of your “burgers and pizza” place. There is also a restaurant at the golf clubhouse too for food after your rounds. I was surprised at the lack of chips and salsa and margaritas. They did offer welcome drinks every night that were local and tasty, but I didn’t get a stereotypical Mexican dinner experience. The beer and wine flow regularly too, but there was less tequila here than I anticipated. The fine dining at Danzante Restaurant was very nice and rich with new flavors and tastes. Overall it was a solid offering at every meal.
8. Location and Transportation
This little fishing town is just starting to grow up. It is similar to Cabo 25 years ago. There are a few shops in town and a couple other resorts, but for the most part, you are going to stay at Danzante Bay and do most of your activities out of it. The town is almost 45 minutes from the resort and being some 5 hours from Cabo and 15 hours from Tijuana you aren’t venturing to those destinations on this trip. The airport is in town so you will need to arrange transportation to the resort. There is really only 1 option through Alaska Air to get to Loreto. The one flight a day to and from LAX will be your only option. It isn’t hard or difficult, but can be time consuming to fly into LAX, spent time getting lost there and then getting on the only flight to Loreto.
Danzante Bay Golf Club just opened all 18 holes and is so good that golfers will need to put this on their list of golf destination. It is already one of those “must play” courses in the world. Hole 17 is the signature hole and even better than expected. This hole will become an icon for golf in Mexico. It will be #TheMostPhotographedGolfHoleInMexico. While you are there, the Villa Del Palmar Resort will let you enjoy time relaxing on the beach, at the spa or in the ocean when you are not playing golf.
For more information: www.danzantebaygolfclub.com