The Magic Of Golf In Mexico
Greg Norman is the featured Golf Editor in the 2016-2017 Annual Collectors’ edition of Baja Traveler which hits newsstands world-wide on May 15, 2016.
Golf was introduced in Mexico just over a hundred years ago, which is shocking considering today it is the type of golf destination that will make you wonder if it is the best you have ever visited.
No two golf courses are the same, and one of the special pleasures of golf is to play as many of them as possible. But in Mexico – where the deserts of Baja California, the tropical shorelines of the Pacific, the snow-capped volcanoes of the central plateau and the azure waters of the Caribbean – all provide perfect backdrops to the golfing experience, you have a feeling that you are traveling the world within the borders of one country.
I have been a regular visitor to Mexico for nearly three decades and I have followed the country’s meteoric development very closely. Mexico has established itself as a world-class golfing destination and the attraction is the result of many factors – weather, location, luxury and unique experiences among them. I am tremendously pleased that Greg Norman Golf Course Design has had the opportunity to contribute to this and design a number of golf courses in Mexico with six completed designs, three under construction and another five under contract to date!
As a golf course designer, my challenge is to create aesthetically pleasing yet playable courses, each with a distinct look and feel. I like to “begin with the end in mind” on each and every project and I pride myself on finding the most desirable natural features and incorporating them into the routing. Our “least disturbance” design approach is integrated into each project and results in courses that blend seamlessly with their surroundings and appear as if they have been part of the landscape for generations.
Due to our unique philosophy, GNGCD has been an industry leader in promoting sustainability and the compatibility of golf courses with the environment, with many of our projects have been awarded the coveted Audubon Society Award for environmental stewardship.
For us, sustainability is integral to how we do business. With 7 billion people on our planet, the earth’s resources can be strained. We believe that we have a responsibility to our customers, to the communities and the environment in which we have a presence. This means sustainability is the only acceptable model for our business.
Anyone who has ever thrown a bag over his or her shoulder knows that the game of golf is much more than birdies, pars and bogeys, for every course is intrinsically linked with the elements of nature as it progresses from the first tee to the 18th green. This is the essence of Mexico’s most magical courses – grand links in their most natural form – wonderful gifts returned to Mother Nature.
I am protective of the game of golf. I was fortunate enough to travel the world playing and promoting the game, so if I have one tiny little part in its growth, whether it would be in Mexico or China, it would be one of the greatest honors of my life. I would love to see the game grow to a hundred million people, because I’m so passionate about all that it has given me and what the game can give to the world.
With golf becoming an Olympic sport this summer, the international growth of the game will increase exponentially. There are 118 member countries in the International Golf Federation, many of which will now receive government funding to support grass roots development efforts. A golf explosion is imminent in many parts of the world and Mexico is no exception.
GNGCD is working on a number of projects in Mexico and I look forward to growing the game in ways never thought possible there. The Norman Course with Grupo Vidante in Nuevo Vallarta has 9 holes open with plans to open the full 18 in just three months’ time. This core-golf layout is located along the Rio Ameco where guests will love the river-valley setting. The back 9 of our course at Puerto Los Cabos should be complete in early 2017. The final layout will include an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus resort course and our private 18-hole Greg Norman Signature Course reserved solely for the homeowners of the community. We recently started construction on a new course at Rancho San Lucas in Cabo, which will be a premier amenity of the Grand Solmar and should be open for play in 18 months. The routing winds through desert terrain and rolling dunes to the beautiful waters of the Pacific. Our newest addition to Mexico is Costa Capomo in Riviera Nayarit, an 18-hole championship course which we will be breaking ground on this September. True to eco-sensitive design process, we are in the process of rescuing native vegetation at this site to house in a nursery during construction until time to re-plant.
Golf benefits society and accelerating the growth of the game and expanding its accessibility will improve the quality of life for those who are introduced to its positive values. It is crucial to effectively and consistently communicate golf's economic, human and environmental contributions to society. Mexico has done an incredible job of this and I look forward to continuing to assist in this endeavor and serving as an ambassador to this great game in a country I care so much about.