Monday, May 25, 2015

Bring the Kids to Cabo San Lucas

There is plenty to do and plenty of choices to stay in Cabo St Lucas Mexico. Here is a look at Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Resort and Spa located at Lands End in Cabo St Lucas. Several of the resorts north of here are still closed due to last falls hurricane damage but not Pueblo Bonito Resort. Pueblo Bonito sits right at lands end where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean.  (read more

Monday, May 11, 2015

Superstition Mountain Golf Club Superstition Mountain AZ

by Larry Berle

Superstition Mountain was established in 1998 by developer Lyle Anderson, who had a long lasting partnership with Jack Nicklaus developing notable Golf Course communities such as Desert Highlands, Desert Mountain, Las Campanas and now Superstition Mountain.

We are near Apache Junction  AZ about 38 miles east of Sky Harbor airport but much closer to Mesa Gateway airport which is a new feeder airport for the greater Phoenix area.

There are two golf courses here, Prospector and Lost Gold.  It is private now, as it was at its inception, but a few years ago it was hit by the recession and had to allow public play to stay afloat. Seven years ago it was purchased by Susan Hladky and on January 1, 2014 it returned  to being a successful private club with over 420 members currently, and back to its old glory.

The Tuscan clubhouse  warmly welcomes you on arrival and the practice facility is as good and expansive as any I have seen with a vast driving range and a wonderful  short game area.  Its an appropriate  opening to such a club that boasts Mike Malaska, the 2011 National PGA teacher of the year, as head of instruction.  If you want to improve your game, this is as good a place to do that as any. 

Before we started our round Nic DiLucci the head golf professional  cautioned us about reading the greens.  “They are running almost 12.5 today  (about the same as Augusta) and ran over 14 on the stimpmeter when we hosted the Arizona Open”.  He also suggested we pay attention to the mountain nearby.  Downhill putts may appear up hill and vice versa. We weren’t more than a couple holes into the round and we were very thankful  for his advice.  At first these greens appear benign, but in fact they are very subtle  and subsequently  a challenge to read.  

From the tee boxes , the generous fairways and landing areas make the holes appear easy, but once you approach the green  you have  plenty of bunkers to contend with  (over 200 on both courses)  thats an average of nearly 6 bunkers per hole.

Prospector was running firm and in excellent shape, and sitting at the foot of the Superstition Mountains, its in a beautiful setting.   There are 3 drivable par fours  (10,14 and 15  and each presents a very different challenge.  We never saw water on the course until we encountered a pond that runs the length of the par 5 eighteenth hole. It could be  very calming conclusion to your round  or a very frustrating one, depending on whether your ball is anxious to go for a swim.

Prospector has hosted “The Tradition”, several years of the LPGA tour, and the Arizona Open more than once.
Prospector plays 7225 yards from the tips and down to 5223 from the front. so its fun for all.

$20,000 initiation
$885 monthly dues

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Come to Quivira for the Golf and be awed by the views

Come to Quivira for the Golf and be awed by the views
by Larry Berle

I am staying at the Pueblo Bonito Oceanfront Resort and Spa, and tomorrow morning I am going to get up early  to watch the sun peak its head over the Sea of Cortez and provide me with a spectacular sunrise  from my balcony.  This particular hotel is adults only but several others on the property cater to families, the closest being  Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Golf & Spa Resort, which has villas from 1-4 bedrooms.  So bring your family or your foursome of buddies.

The golf course here is Quivira, and  there are not many pieces of land that have such spectacular potential.   Jack Nicklaus must have been thrilled when he was asked  to plan a golf course here.  This par 72 plays 7139 yards from the tips but there are 5 sets of tees all the way down to 4793 yards which should make it fun for everybody.

The Pacific Ocean meets the sea of Cortez at lands end of Cabo St Lucas, which  is a spectacular location for a golf course.  Ernesto Coppel,  figured golfers would love to spend a few hours , playing golf and just absorbing these endless views, so he hired Jack Nicklaus to put a golf course here.  And if that wasn’t enough, he accompanied it with a very luxurious resort so dad could bring his entire family to enjoy a vacation here at Lands end.

The first 4 holes have generous fairways and are very welcoming. Number five may be one of the most interesting and confounding holes you will ever play… Just ask yourself how can a 310 yard hole from the tips be the #1 handicap and you will get the idea.  We rode over 1/2 mile up the steep mountainside  to the tee box which is perched  on a cliff nearly 300 feet  above the Pacific. The hole winds around and falls away to the green which is similarly perched on that same cliff.  All I can say is wow!!  The par three  number six sits on that same cliff but its route is much clearer.   If spectacular is what you are looking for, you have come to the right place

 Fifth Hole Quivira

It seems as though you can see the ocean from every hole.  9-12 lets up a bit on your sensory overload. Then comes number thirteen, a short 148 yard par three from the tips that may be as spectacular and 5 and 6, with a postage stamp green perched on a spectacular granite rock outcropping.  Just remember, you came here to play golf, not to gawk at the scenery. Fourteen through seventeen are visually stunning as well,   especially number 16 which  has an awesome tee shot  from over 100 feet above the fairway.  You will get hang time that would make an NFL punter proud. 
 When asked about this property Jack Nicklaus said “The sand dunes of the rolling desert foothills and gusts of wind from the Pacific Ocean are natural hazards. And the vivid colors and contours of the granite cliffs should challenge and awe golfers.”
 Then its time for the 19th hole at the clubhouse which sits right on the Pacific shore. Cool off and if your hungry try the Quivira  Steakhouse. Watch the crashing waves here at Baja’s lands end and you may want to stay till night fall.

13th tee in the morning

Did I mention the comfort stations?  Four in all, along the way with complimentary  food and beverage that will surely cause you to pause at each one.These are not just cookies and candy— they have chefs on site to prepare delicious regional dishes  for you.  To truly appreciate what this course has to offer you are most certainly going to have a round of golf longer than 4 hours.  But its worth it.

If you don't feel like hauling your golf clubs  to Mexico, then I suggest
 the resorts brand new Taylor Made  rental clubs and to be honest they were better than my own set.

*photos courtesy of Quivira Golf Club

If you go:

Greens fees range from $295- $240 in prime season down to $140 in the summer

Quivira  has won several awards already including  Golf Magazines 2014 Best New International Golf Course.