Grand Opening – Golf Course 18 holes in Loreto, Mexico
DESIGN PHILOSOPHY & OVERVIEW
Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa at the Islands of Loreto, a destination resort on the east coast of the Baja Peninsula along the Sea of Cortes, is home to Danzante Bay, a new Rees Jones-designed golf course that sprawls across a dazzling, world-class site.
The first phase of the golf course opened in April 2016 with 11 ocean-facing holes situated near the resort’s hotel. The remaining seven holes, etched into the floor of a canyon marked by jagged cliffs, are already open for you to enjoy. The 7,107-yard, par-72 course offers magnificent views of Danzante Bay and the Sea of Cortes to the east. The majestic Sierra de la Giganta mountain range rises to the west. Jones also built a nine-hole putting course inspired by the famed Himalayas putting course in St. Andrews, Scotland where families can practice together.
"Most of the world's most popular golf courses that have stood the test of time were built slowly," Jones explained. "Golf holes aren't really designed and built from a plan – you feel them in the land. This land is so good it tells us what to do. The holes fit the land naturally."
Like all memorable courses, Danzante Bay showcases a diverse array of golf holes that build in drama and interest as the round progresses. The multi-themed layout takes players through a variety of settings, including valleys, arroyos, dunes and foothills. Holes throughout feature panoramic views of the sea, the mountains and the surrounding Islands of Loreto, a national park. In many ways, the course pays homage to how golf originated – at the place where the land meets the sea.
"This is a golf course that both avid and casual golfers will want to travel to play, enjoy and experience," said Jones, who noted that with its multiple sets of forward tees, the layout is playable by any caliber golfer. "The golf course has open entrances, pockets and sandy areas to capture the ball and keep it from going into the desert. We’ve kept the green contours mild so that the putting surfaces are manageable in the wind. People will want to play this course over and over again because the conditions change with the wind."
One of the prime appeals of the course is its diverse environment. According to senior designer Steve Weisser, the layout is an unusual topographic blend of desert, mountain and dunes, with a 250-foot elevation change from start to finish. Four holes are stitched across a valley due inland from the hotel. Three holes are carved into rolling sand dunes along the beachfront. The new holes, Nos. 2 through 8, began construction in late 2016 and move up, down and across the flanks of a rocky canyon. The 15th and 16th holes, each a strategic mid-length par 4, climb to the breathtaking vantage point of No. 17, a jaw-dropping par 3 and the signature hole at Danzante Bay. “As spectacular a one-shotter as exists on any course in the world,” is how Golf Course Architecture described this one-of-a-kind creation.
Jones and Owen Perry, owner and president of Villa Group, the resort’s developers, changed the initial routing and displaced a few rock outcrops to make way for this extraordinary hole, which commands the crest of a rocky peninsula and drops off on three sides to the sea far below. During the winter months, it’s not uncommon to see gray whales on their annual migration to Baja from Alaska from the 17th hole, which sits nearly 250 feet above the Sea of Cortes. Danzante Bay’s downhill 18th hole, a massive 520-yard par 4 from the back tees, is a fitting finale to this singular, world-class golf course.
Perry noted that in addition to Jones' reputation as an artist and celebrated golf architect (Jones is known as "The Open Doctor" for his redesign of numerous courses in preparation for major golf championships), he partnered with Jones because of the designer’s talent for building challenging yet friendly courses that complement a site’s habitat and co-exist in harmony with nature. For example, Danzante Bay utilizes two strains of Paspalum turf, the salt-tolerant, disease-resistant varietal that has accelerated the growth of golf in the tropics and has proven to be ideal for the Baja climate. The turf grass is irrigated with water drawn from a recently upgraded reverse-osmosis plant.
"Being located in a protected marine park, we adhered to stringent environmental rules, and we gladly accepted the challenge, because we feel that is going to keep the Islands of Loreto unique," said Perry. "When I first saw the land where we are building this golf course, I was stunned by the amazing beauty of both the mountains and water that surround it. Sunrise each day gives the mountains a brownish hue and when the sun sets at night, they turn a vibrant red. And the views of the bay are without question some of the best I've ever seen. We're literally carving this golf course into this incredible setting while maintaining all of its natural beauty.”
Now, resort guests and homeowners will be able to play all 18 holes on what the pundits are already saying is the best new course in Mexico.
Hunter Public Relations
Hunter Public Relations