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Cabo 04
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Cabo del Sol Golf Club – Desert Course

Our Rating: 103

Friendliness of Staff: 10

Not much has changed with the staff since we played the Ocean Course last year. If anything, they’ve added more staff! Everyone you walk past greats you with a “hello”. From the 4 girls in the pro shop, to the two guys checking you in, to the starter and beer girl, everyone was very friendly and treats you the way you expect to be treated at a top resort. The starter offered us tips for the course and even let us know they were not happy with their rough, due to over-thatching.

Facilities/Pro Shop: 10

Not much has changed since we played here last year, except that I did find a second practice green.

The clubhouse is absolutely extravagant, with high, arching ceilings with an indoor restaurant and an outdoor bar with patio seating. Nice bathroom with porcelain sinks, but only two urinals (not good if a tournament were to wrap up). The pro shop is huge and very high end. They have a men’s and women’s section with top of the line clothing. If you’re looking for sunglasses, they’ve got the best Maui Jim’s available. I bought myself a straw hat, which was very reasonable at $35, but some of the prices of the other merchandise can shock you if you’re not used to the high end stuff.

The driving range was perfect, with unlimited Nike range balls, 3 greens to aim for, and plenty of space for multiple hitters. The practice green was huge, with plenty of slopes to practice putts of any length and slope. You will definitely want to spend more than 10 minutes on the practice green, as the speed of these greens will take some getting used to, if you playing on slower ones back home.

Quality/Value of Food/Snacks: 10

Again, there was a free coffee bar before you start your round and you could purchase fresh fruits if you wanted. The beer cart is still fully stocked with beer/liquor and plenty of snacks. At the turn, they have a small snack shack where you can get reload on beers or snacks (no hot dogs or finger sandwiches though), or get more golf balls (which I needed a sleeve of). All of the prices were comparable to any reasonable course, which is refreshing when you’re on such a nice resort course.

Fairway Conditions: 9

The starter had mentioned to us that they were not pleased with their rough, as it was over-thatched and asked that we not drive on it as they’re trying to bring it back around. It’s great that they told us ahead of time and the rough didn’t look all bad, but it did mess with your shots out of it if you were not careful. Hit it a bit fat and your club will get hosed up in a large chunk of loose grass. It still has a long way to go to get fully re-rooted.

The fairways were in great shape. I did notice a small amount of browning in a couple places, but it’s obviously in direct sunlight with only trace amounts of water. Overall, it’s green everywhere and is very carpet-like. If I could package up some of their grass and cultivate it at home, I’d use it as my rug.

Greens Conditions: 9

The greens are very tough, even more so than the Ocean Course. In the yardage book they give you, there is also a picture of the green with it’s various slopes; be sure to pay close attention to this book as you’re sizing up your putt. Most of the greens are not covered in ballmarks, but there is one (#12?) that had definitely seen better days. You could see where sand has replaced a lot of damaged areas for repair and it was definitely browning out a shade. Once this green is back to the standards of the rest of the course, this rating will be a 10.

Scenery: 10

You may not get to hit over the beach like on the Ocean Course, but you get great views of the Sea of Cortez from nearly every hole. They have built in water hazards on three holes, but the name “Desert Course” holds true, as there is a lot of sand and desert waste areas to contend with. The tunnels taking you under the nearby highway are beautifully constructed, making you envious of the rock work and detail taken on the smallest of things, like a tunnel.

Difficulty of Course: 10

If you’re looking for an easier round at Cabo del Sol, play the Ocean Course (even though it’s at least $100 more to play). The Desert Course is extremely difficult. Measuring just over 7,000 yards from the tips and 6,100 from the middle tees, you will think that you’re in for a long day with the driver. While this can be true, you would need to be extremely accurate with your driver. We played the gold tees (6,680 yards) and I elected to go with a 3-wood off of most tees, partly because I didn’t want to get in trouble with the driver, but mostly because I would be hitting it to a certain area. This course is touted as being target golf, and it is exactly that. There are fairway bunkers placed in the landing area of most average golfers, and you need a pretty big stick to carry them. The fairways also narrow down in some spots, leaving you very little room for error. Hands down, this is a tough course, but very fun. Plan on using most of the clubs in your bag.

Value Received: 10

It’s not cheap to golf in Cabo, but compared to the Ocean Course, and what if costs to play the Desert Course, this is a steal. It was $220 for this time of the year, while the Ocean Course is up over $300. They don’t skip on the amenities either, giving you a great yardage book and a towel on the cart that you get to keep as souvenirs. You also can grab tees, ball markers and a divot tool for your bag, no charge. Your golf cart comes with a cooler with plenty of ice and already stocked with a couple bottles of water. If you’re driving here, be sure to drop your bag off with the attendant before parking your car. You definitely receive top notch treatment, better than we’ve seen at some private courses in the States!

Speed of Play/Design of Course: 10

Tom Weiskopf probably had one thing in mind when designing this course…make it challenging. He sure succeeded, as the layout and placement of hazards sure make this a tough course. Play smart, and you can score pretty well. Take risks, and you could be in trouble. If you catch a break on your risks, you will definitely be rewarded. Hole # 7 is a 245 yard par 4 that my playing partner drove, so rewards can be had.

I thought the starter was trying to rush us off a bit too quick, perhaps fearing back-ups, but we didn’t see any other players out there at all during our round. We finished in 4 hours and that included looking for a few errant balls that made their way in to the desert.

19th Hole: 10

Again, I chose not to eat here, but the menu was top notch and well priced. They have indoor/outdoor eating with a large bar that was showing some kickboxing on their TV. Given the top-shelf liquors on the beer cart, I’m certain this bar will have whatever it is you are looking for.

Bonus: +5

There is a beer cart on the course.

Comments:

While we said in our Ocean Course rating that we would play that course just once, this is one that I’d keep coming back to. The Desert Course is a great price and very challenging, while still having the same amenities and clubhouse as playing the Ocean Course. If you’re renting clubs, you will be pleasantly surprised with the Taylor Made clubs, although I had wished I had my own PW, SW and LW. Cabo del Sol continues to be my favorite golf resort and I will be returning to play here many more times in the future.

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