By Chris Sands ViaBaja.com
For the past fifteen years, Tiger Woods has been chasing Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major championships, and the unofficial title of "best golfer ever." In the last five years, Woods has also followed Nicklaus into course design, and in late 2012 signed on to design a course for Diamante, the high-end 1,500-acre oceanfront community located on the Pacific Coast northwest of Cabo San Lucas. The design will be Woods fourth, and his second in Mexico, following Punta Brava in Ensenada.
"What really sets TWD (Tiger Woods Design) apart is Tiger's commitment to the project, and his passion to create a golf experience players of all levels can enjoy," said Ken Jowdy, CEO of Diamante. "It doesn't hurt that Cabo San Lucas is the backdrop to Diamante, as one of the world's most desired vacation spots. Having a course designed by Tiger Woods will only add to the resort city's allure."
Tiger Woods and Diamante are pairing up on El Cardonal.
Despite Woods' much publicized divorce and his struggles in majors, this is a huge feather in Diamante's cap, and will be a great complement to their Davis Love III designed Dunes course, which opened in 2009 and is currently ranked among the 100 best courses in the world (it's currently rated 58th by GOLF Magazine). The new Woods Course, to be named El Cardonal, is scheduled to open next Spring (2014), and will augment Los Cabos' growing collection of world-class layouts from major champions like Nicklaus, Love, Gary Player, Greg Norman, and Tom Weiskopf.
Jack Nicklaus, it should be noted, was one of the key players in the Los Cabos golfing boom, designing several standout courses in the 1990s, including Palmilla, El Dorado, and the Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol. In the interim, the area has garnered a reputation as one of the premier golfing destinations in the world, with three courses that have been ranked among the world's best, another that has hosted two Senior Slam events, and more high-profile projects in the pipeline. Woods' El Cardonal is expected to be another high-profile property in the regional portfolio, and a big draw for Diamante, with plenty of rolling hills and spectacular ocean views.
"While the (Davis Love III designed) Dunes course is reminiscent of a classic Scottish links course, this course is going to remind people of the old-style California courses," Woods said. "We will use the existing arroyos that traverse the site and well-placed bunkers to create definite strategic choices and carries off the tees."
Like the Dunes, El Cardonal will measure about 7300 yards from the tips, and the two will be contiguous to each other on the Diamante property. Wood's course, which he envisions as a sort of Baja version of the Southern California loops he grew up playing, will be the centerpiece of a fully separate resort within the Diamante community. The new development will encompass about 80 acres, with a vacation club and more than 200 residences. The new resort property will also include a village complex with retail shopping, restaurants, and family friendly amenities like a kid's camp, arcade, water park, swim-able lagoon, spa and fitness center, and a training complex for tennis, baseball, soccer and other activities.
"We are excited to work with Tiger Woods and his design team," Jowdy said. "He brings a wealth of golf knowledge and experience, and we look forward to creating a world-class golf course that integrates Diamante's unique style and characteristics."
Diamante is famed for being the only community associated with one of the world's top 100 courses that offers fractional ownership opportunities. So the new Woods' designed course offers one more chance for destination golfers to buy into a week or more of time every year on a highly rated championship level course.
Ground has already been broken on El Cardonal, and it is expected that the course will be playable early next year.
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