puerto vallarta – golf and tennis
Mexico is the second only to Hawaii as the most popular golf desination in the world for US golfers, and Puerto Vallarta is nearing the top of golf destinations in Mexico. The following courses are listed in order of their closeness to Villa Encantada. Conditions and prices often change, so verify with the individual course.
Vista Vallarta is actually two courses, both of which are kept in great shape. Located in the foothills overlooking Vallarta. One of our favorites and two of the best courses in PV. Located about 3 miles inland from the Marina Vallarta area, with courses designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jack Nicklaus. Both courses share the same main building. Breathtaking views of the bay.
Regular rate, $183, twilight (after 2:00 pm) $129, replay $80. Rate includes shared cart. Tel. 290-0040. Villa Encantada has arranged for a 10% off discount with Vista Vallarta. Humberto can provide you with coupons for the discount. For groups of 12 or more they provide a package in lieu of the discount: $158 USD per player includes 18 holes at either Nicklaus or Weiskopf course, shared cart, unlimited use of the practice facilities, bottle of water, yardage book, bag tag, and taxes. Have heard that if you know a club member and they arrange your tee time, you get a 25% discount. www.vistavallartagolf.com, tel. 322-290-0030.
The Weiskopf course doesn’t have the same views as the Nicklaus course, but combines extensive native jungle growth and different elevations into a great playing experience. Although it is not an extremely long course, it’s also not easy! Like the Nicklaus course it’s a course for strategic golf. It does not have any water hazards, but does have several streams crossing the fairways. Many holes are protected by tough bunkers. And it makes effective use of the many elevation changes and fairway slopes. It’s signature par 3 hole is carved out of the jungle hillside.
Jack Nicklaus Course
The Nicklaus course is located on Vista Vallarta’s highest location, treating the golfer to stunning views of the Bay of Banderas as well as the surrounding Sierra Madre Mountains. It combines fresh mountain breezes with a very challenging course. The course uses the natural terrain to combine grassy hillsides, dense forests of Palm and giant Ficas trees, natural creeks and arroyos, and pleasant changes in elevation. It’s a course for strategic golf. Fairway width is generous, but there are strategically placed sandtraps guarding the shortest route on several holes that punish misclubing. Some sloping fairways. The course is very open, allowing wayward shots a chance to get back in play. Only one hole has water, but several holes have creeks crossing the fairway. Greens are generous, fast, well kept, and roll true, with some steps in them. Has a par 3 island green that is encircled by jungle. Shared cart is included in the price and required. Caddies (not required) are $10 not including tipps. Practice range is $13 an hour. Club rentals $50 per set and per round (Taylor Made).
With a magnificent view of Banderas Bay, this Joe Finger designed course is a good challenge for all skill levels, but a little tough for hackers. Several holes are long and ten have water. Target golf with many greens being fairly small. You occasionally play a ball with an alligator within sight—forget about retrieving water hazard balls! Several holes have views of the ocean and the course is strewn with palm trees, jungle foliage, iguanas, and tropical birds. Normal $129, twilight (after 2:00 pm) $98, replay $65. Tel. 221-0545 or 221-0073. Driving range $15 hour. Villa Encantada has arranged for a 10% off discount with Marina Vallarta-just ask Humberto. The course is within walking distance of the Marina boardwalk. Caddies are available. High season can be busy. www.foremexico.com, tel. 322 221 0073.
Mayan Palace Country Club
Designed by Jim Lipe, Jack Nicklaus senior designer. Located in the heart of the Mayan Palace Resort in Nuevo Vallarta. The course plays long. It has a fair amount of water and huge bunkers running along two fairways. Opened in December 2002, but plants and trees are already fairly mature. A decent challenge for golfers of all levels. Everyone plays with a caddy, so fairways and greens are in very good shape. Greens tend to be fast. Normal $140, twilight (after 2:00 pm) $80. Not as challenging a course as Vista or El Tigre. The signature par 3, 180 yard hole plays to an oceanfront green over a lake. Tel. 322-297-1830, www.mayanpalace.com.mx.
Paradise Village – El Tigre Golf Course
Golf course designer Robert Van Hagge’s new upscale golf facilities, located in Nuevo Vallarta. Lots of water on the course, and many huge bunkers (some lining the fairways), tend to make it a target golf course. Needs time to grow in. Has a par 3 island hole surrounded by water. Located not far from the ocean. Par 72, 7230 yard course. Normal $145 high season $116 low season, twilight (after 2:00 pm) $95 high season, $80 low season. 1-(800) – PARAISO. Fees do not include 15% tax. Book on line and save 10%. www.eltigregolf.com, Tel. 322-297-0717.
Flamingos Golf Club
The oldest course in Vallarta is located north of Nuevo Vallarta, in the Bucerias countryside, off the main road. It’s the cheapest and easiest Vallarta course. It was designed by architect Percy J. Clifford and offers tennis, too. This 6853 yard, par 72 course (blue tee 70.4 rating, and 130 slope from the white tee) is a mature, natural feeling, unmanufactured type of course which is different from the others in PV. It has somewhat narrow fairways on sloping terrain with lakes (even crocodiles), jungle , many trees (mangos, oranges, lemons, and 1800 palms) lining the fairways, and countless birds. Bermuda grass fairways and greens. 9 water hazards, and 43 bunkers. 4 tee off marks to accommodate both long and short distance hitters. Very friendly staff. The course has a nice sense of space and openness. Normal high season rate (November 1 to April 30) $121 plus tax, twilight (after 2:00pm) $77 plus tax, under 18, $35 (includes shared cart, 25 practice balls, and water bottle). Check for lower rates on weekends. $15 unlimited grass tee driving range, $45 rental clubs, caddies $20 (available and required for 4 balls), free club storage. Check out their frequent player discount (eg. 5 rounds for $61 each) on the website as well as flyover views of each hole on the website. Normally not crowded. Tel. 296-5006, www.flamingosgolf.com.mx
Four Seasons at Punta Mita
Located 26 miles from Puerto Vallarta on one of the most gorgeous places on Costa Vallarta. Opened in September 1999, this Jack Nicklaus signature course has a unique feature found nowhere else; one hole is on an island off shore, making it as challenging as it is breathtaking. Make sure you book the lowtide tee time, so you can play this hole-it’s worth the experience. Has 8 holes right on the water. $250. Tel. 304-6755 . Normally you have to be a member or make special arrangements to play this course. www.fshr.com, Tel. 322-291-6000.
Puerto Vallarta is considered the best tennis resort city in Mexico, offering dozens of tennis courts, pros, and lessons at area resorts and tennis centers. See http://www.banderasnews.com/sports/tennis.htm
Marival Grand Resort, 4 courts, 8am-10pm, $15 hour, lessons, Wed. tournaments, 322 226 8200.
Occidental Allegro, 2 hardcourts, lights, 9am-10pm, $10 hour, 322 297 0400 x2266.
Paradise Village Club, 5 hardcourts with Dacor II surface and stadium court, $15 hour, 8am-6pm, closed Monday, 322 297 0773.
Vellas Vallarta, 3 courts, lights, 8am-11pm, $10 hour, lessons 221 0370 x5513.
Casa Magna Marriott, 3 synthetic grass courts, 7am-10pm, $11 hour, lessons, 226-0000 x6244.
Westin Regina, 3 synthetic grass courts, 7am-9pm, $10 hour, Saturday tournaments, 226 1143.
Hotel Krystal, 2 hardcourts, lights, $13 hour, lessons, 224 0202, extension tennis court.
Holiday Inn, 2 hardcourts, lights, $5 hour, lessons, tournaments, 226 1700, extension tennis court.
Canto del Sol Tennis Club, at the Canto del Sol Hotel in the Hotel Zone, great facilities, indoor and outdoor courts, 4 clay courts, 4 laykol courts (great for rainy season play), $15 hour, tournaments, lessons, clinics, and partner matches. 226 0123 x4187.
Sheraton Bouganvilias, 2 hardcourts, lights, 8am-8pm, $10 hour, tournaments, 226 0404 x6525.
Dreams Resort, 2 synthetic grass, lights, 6am-10pm, 226-5000, beautiful resort, but only way to play here is to buy all day pass for around $75 day (includes food, drinks, and beach access,etc)