TPC Danzante Bay among the 25 of the Best Golf Courses in the World by Travel + Leisure
Since its debut in 2017, TPC Danzante Bay, the golf centerpiece of Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto and Mexico’s only TPC golf course, has consistently been recognized by leading golf and travel authorities as a world-class facility. Recently, it was included as one of the best golf courses in the world by Travel + Leisure.
Before citing the club’s recent awards, let’s take a look at how the course got its start. The stage for greatness was set early on. Owen Perry, owner and president of Villa Group, invited renowned designer Rees Jones to have a look at a rugged site set between the majestic Sierra de la Giganta mountains and rolling dunes near the shores of the bay. The first phase of the layout opened in 2016, with 11 holes oriented to the sea. The remaining seven holes, etched into the floor of a canyon enclosed by steep rocky cliffs, opened the following year.
A Varied and Versatile Design
“Golf holes aren’t really designed and built from a plan–you feel them in the land,” Jones stated. “This land was so good it told us what to do. The holes fit the land naturally.”
An outstanding layout, TPC Danzante Bay features a diverse array of golf holes that build in drama and interest as the round progresses. The multi-themed, 7,237-yard course takes players through a variety of desert, mountain and beachfront settings unique to Loreto. With a 250-foot elevation change from start to finish, the tees, greens and fairways offer panoramic views of distant islands in the Bay of Loreto, a national marine park. The course pays homage to how golf originated–at the place where the land meets the sea. And while not technically a links, conditions change daily with the wind, which means the course presents a new challenge every day.
Perry noted that in addition to Jones’ reputation as a celebrated golf architect (Jones is known as “The Open Doctor” for his redesign of numerous courses in preparation for major championships), he partnered with the younger son of legendary designer Robert Trent Jones because of his talent for building user-friendly courses that complement a site’s habitat and co-exist in harmony with nature.
An Eye-Popping, World-Class Par 3
While golf raters and golf architecture critics generally evaluate c
ourses based on their shot options, layout variety, overall land plan, character, challenge and conditioning, aesthetics often spell the difference. Even the most hardened critic is not immune to TPC Danzante Bay’s scenic splendor. The course, which has a huge “Wow!” factor, reaches a climax at the 17th hole, a breathtaking par 3.
Somewhat incredibly, the club’s signature hole was not included in the original routing. Perry had noticed a slim rocky peninsula jutting into the bay in the general area of the proposed back nine.
Could a golf hole be constructed atop a peninsula that dropped off on three sides to the sea? Discussions ensued. Based on the prospects for an iconic penultimate hole, the initial routing was altered to make way for a dazzling bit of stagecraft. No. 17 is a stupendous par 3 that plays sharply downhill to an elongated green yoked by a horseshoe-shaped bunker. The putting surface, clinging to a pinnacle of rock at the tip of the peninsula, commands a land’s end prospect high above the glittering sea. The challenge and beauty of this hole makes an indelible impression.
A Bevy of Awards and Accolades
For the record, Jones and other golf architects tend to shy away from “signature” holes. Their goal is a seamless, tightly knit field of play designed to provide a firm but fair test to players at all ability levels. Even so, No. 17 at TPC Danzante Bay is in a class of its own, especially during the winter months, when migrating whales breach and spout far below the green. “As spectacular a one-shotter as exists on any course in the world,” is how Golf Course Architecture described this off-the-charts par 3.
In the end, TPC Danazante Bay checks all the boxes on every rater’s list. It’s not only enjoyable and challenging for all golfers; its beauty is irresistible.