7 August 2012
Written by Art Stricklin
PUNTA MITA, Mexico — If you have some of the top chefs in the world, some of the top oceanside golf courses, the top Northern American Scenery and top tropical weather, you might think you would have a tip top good golfing time.
You would be right when you make the journey to the Pacific Mexican regional destination Riviera Nayarit and it star attraction Punta Mita.
Earlier this year, Punta Mita hosted the Second Punta Mita Gourmet and Golf Classic which brought together leading chefs from across North America and Europe to the lavish mountaintop section of this Mexican Pacific playground for a three-day showcase of fine food, fine wine and fine golf.
It also served as a showcase of the entire Riviera Nayarit region which stretches 180 miles from the resort town of Puerto Vallarta in the south with its booming international airport all the way to Playa Novillero in the North, along with dozens of miles of unspoiled beach all along the Pacific coast.
There are eight courses in the region ranging from championship to beginner as well as tennis, horseback riding, snorkeling and just resting and recharging on the quiet beaches.
Punta Mita opened its first golf course in 1999, the Jack Nicklaus designed Pacifico course and it remains the best known and most played in the region. It was named the No. 1 Resort Course in the world by Conde’ Nast Traveler Magazine in 2008 and is ranked No. 3 in Mexico.
Pacifico is best known as the Tail of the Whale for his 191-yard par 3 third hole or better known as 3A, the only natural island green in the world. In low tide, you fire your challenging tee shot over the surging Pacific and either walk along the rocky path or drive your cart to the edge of the green. In high tide, the green is unreachable and you play the regulation 18 holes with just a glance at this scenic gem.
The Nicklaus designed Bahia course opened in 2009, and while it may not be as dramatic as Pacifico, it also has plenty of ocean holes ending with a seaside par 4 17th hole and a dogleg left par 5 18th hole.
“I don’t know where else in the world you could have as scenic a background as Punta Mita for two great courses,” Nicklaus said.
Longtime Mexican golf veteran Phillip Ferrari overseas both courses, including a large practice facility and junior clinics.
The adjacent Four Seasons Resort and St. Regis Punta Mita Resort make it tough to decide on where to rest, dine and spa after another day on the beach and the links. Both are luxury powerhouses accustomed to handling international visitors and regular guests.
Other famous championship courses in the area include the Robert von Hagge, course El Tigre in Nuevo Vallarta and El Nayva Golf courses.
Mexican golf is full of surprises, but none better than the Pacific Rivera Nayarit region!
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