On the Sea of Cortez side of the arid peninsula of Baja California Sur sits Danzante Bay Golf Club. An 18 hole gem of a golf course surrounded by giant mountains and cactus on one side and overlooking the blue green waters of the Bay of Loreto on the other. While Loreto, a sleepy fishing town of 14,000 on Baja California Sur’s coast, may not have the name recognition of Cabo San Lucas, it’s got nature on its side. The Bay of Loreto National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2005, gives Loreto, and the Islands of Loreto, street cred. Add in La Giganta mountain range and the setting makes for magazine-worthy photo compositions shot on any smart phone.
For the non-golfers, there’s fishing, star-gazing, spa time and mission-spotting – Mission de Nuestra Senora de Loreto Concho was the first mission of Baja California Sur, established in 1697. While there are plenty of things to see and do in Loreto, this review will focus on The Danzante Bay golf course.
Developed by Owen Perry and designed by golf architect Rees Jones, the pair opened the first phase, an 11 hole course, in November of 2016 near the Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa. The now complete 18-hole course is tucked into canyons, blended into dunes and runs up and down the foothills. The 17th hole, a par three crafted into the course, is a simply spectacular signature hole overlooking the Sea of Cortez that offers all kinds of par three challenge.
“Golf holes aren’t really designed and built from a plan – you feel them in the land.”
Both men spoke at the course opening, December 2017, of letting the land speak to them. According to Jones, “golf holes aren’t really designed and built from a plan – you feel them in the land.” Jones is a famous course designer known as the ‘Open Doctor’ for his redesign of numerous courses for major tournaments. The course has two strains of Paspalum turf both of which thrive in Baja and the course is irrigated with water from a reverse-osmosis plant.
It is clear that the designers went to every effort to blend the course into the existing environment. The course has a natural and effortless flow that is challenging and yet not painfully difficult to a high handicapper such as myself. Perry noted that the courses in the Cabo area have become increasingly difficult. With Danzante Bay they have created very interesting golf, hole after hole, while keeping it enjoyable and generous for the average golfer.
With Danzante Bay they have created very interesting golf, hole after hole, while keeping it enjoyable and generous for the average golfer.
It is a par 72 with the white tees measuring 5,651 yards, while the black tees are 7,237 yards, the views are magical from nearly every tee, the landing areas are generous not onerous, and the greens are mildly contoured. It is fun to play over and over as I was busy enjoying the varied settings the first time I played it in some unseasonably high winds. The next day it became more interesting to play as I enjoyed how much fun the course is itself. This doesn’t mean that I hit the green on 17 with my first ball, but I did seemingly rip a drive down the 18th a wonderful (downhill!) finishing par four.
Don’t be afraid to travel without your golf clubs. Danzante Bay rents TaylorMade Aeroburner clubs for an additional charge.
If You Go:
Danzante Bay Golf Club 01-800-838-2662 www.danzantebaygolfcourse.com
km. 84, Calle Carretera Transpeninsular
Ensenada Blanca, Loreto 23880 Loreto BCS, Mexico
This review of Danzante Bay Golf Course, as well as photography, is a guest post by Cory N. Brown. Top photo and 14th hole and pool photo courtesy Nancy D. Brown. As is typical in the industry, Cory was a guest of the resort to write a review from first-person perspective. All opinions are his own.