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Golfing with Whales: Greg Norman Course Opens in Los Cabos

Latest course designed by the golf legend brings expansive views and unexpected natural wonder

Rancho San Lucas, an 834-acre resort and residential community fronting a 1.2-mile stretch of beach on the Pacific Ocean 15 minutes from downtown Cabo San Lucas, opened its Greg Norman Signature golf course and Rancho San Lucas Golf Club this month – a showpiece for the resort that further positions Los Cabos a top golf destination.

The new course highlights the native terrain and is surrounded by panoramic views along the 7,210-yard, par-72 course expanse that is all within earshot of the thundering surf of the Pacific Ocean. The links-style course spans three different ecosystems as it meanders through a thick cactus forest and winding arroyos before descending to enormous windswept dunes.

Golfers find a dramatic 300-foot elevation change and five challenging holes on the beach. The par-3 third hole parallels the sea and offers close-up views of breaching whales during the winter months. There’s also a signature island green at the testing par-3 17th hole.

“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,” said Norman. “My goal was to keep it as natural as possible, using my ‘least-disturbance’ approach, while showcasing the property’s three unique ecosystems: the ocean, the sand dunes and the arroyos. We wanted to build a sustainable course that is playable from all perspectives, including the forward tees. My design company is 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 course is grassed from tee-to-green in Paspalum, a drought-tolerant, disease-resistant varietal, the course features a unique bunkering design unlike anything else in the region. Specifically tailored to Cabo’s terrain and locale, Norman and his design team integrated indigenous landscapes and grass varietals that use the least amount of water and in doing so, succeeded in creating a sustainable 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.

Solmar Group Founder and Developer Francisco Bulnes relates a story about how the course was built. “In the beginning, Greg told me, ‘It’s such an amazing piece of property, we’re only going to clear the fairway corridors 10 meters at a time.’ Most designers mass clear a site and then attempt to re-vegetate it later. Not Greg. He was very careful to remove specimen trees and plants and shelter them in a nursery. He wanted to work at a very slow rate, so he could evaluate the site’s contours and build the course in an environmentally responsible way. This took several months, but that’s what his ‘least-disturbance’ design philosophy is all about: keep earthmoving to a minimum, and step as lightly as possible on nature’s toes. We’re excited to share this world-class golf course with our guests and owners.”

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 spacious 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 homeowners and guests of Solmar Hotels & Resorts, including the new on-site luxury hotel, Grand Solmar at Rancho San Lucas. The Villas at Rancho San Lucas and the Norman Estates, a pair of residential communities, tied to the club offers real estate opportunities starting at $650,000. The exclusive gated enclave is located 15 minutes from downtown Cabo San Lucas.