CostaBaja Resort & Spa
La Paz, B.C.S., Mexico
7,187 yards, par 72
Green fees: $100-$160
Not since Zorro rattled his rapier has a man in black carved up an arid southwestern landscape with such precision. Globe-trotting Gary Player had created courses in 35 countries on five continents, but it wasn't until CostaBaja debuted in November 2010 that Latin America was added to his résumé.
Located in La Paz, 100 miles north of Los Cabos on Mexico's Baja California Peninsula, the CostaBaja course is the centerpiece of a massive resort/real estate development that includes a 115-room hotel, 250-slip marina, beach club and spa.
Player's 7,187-yard thrill ride takes center stage. The nine-time Major winner deftly fused the rugged, rolling desert and cactus-covered mountains with a playable layout carpeted in SeaDwarf Paspalum, with rock-accented bunkering that blends the course into the terrain.
Best of all, spectacular Sea of Cortez panoramas beckon at 14 holes, notably at the 612-yard, par-5 14th, which careens downhill and leftward toward the beach amid a phalanx of target bunkers.
"There is so much contrast in what we were able to create there, with the green fairways against the desert conditions and the beautiful blue Sea of Cortez," says Player.
The result? An extraordinary color palette from the man in black.
(Photo: Aidan Bradley)