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Quivira Golf Club: A Player’s Guide to Better Scoring

With its Golf Digest accolades—voted to the magazine’s coveted “World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses” list and recipient of an “Editors’ Choice Award” for the fourth consecutive year, Quivira is the most decorated golf course in Los Cabos.

From a player’s point of view, this Jack Nicklaus-designed tour de force, which vaults sheer granite cliffs high above the sea, offers a breathtaking test with views to match. But it can be visually intimidating, especially to first-timers. And because of the vertiginous setting, each risk-reward scenario must be weighed very carefully on this one-of-a-kind layout. When in doubt, take the conservative route.

Some insider tips. Quivira has a mesmerizing beauty all its own, but it is first and foremost a challenging course. Consider moving up a set of tees from your normal preferred yardage. You’ll have more fun and reach more greens in regulation. On the other hand, there are hazards, both visible and unseen, to watch for.

Many of the fairways are girdled by long waste bunkers filled with coarse native sand. Players can ground their clubs in these bunkers. Getting the ball back in play, as opposed to attempting a heroic all-or-nothing shot, is usually the best option.

Play the desert rule. If your ball departs the fairway and enters a raw landscape thick with spiny vegetation, take a drop two club lengths from where the ball entered the desert, penalty of one stroke.

Quivira is hilly. The land rises sharply from the sea to the mountains. Rolling fairways present an array of uphill, downhill and sidehill lies. Players must adjust their stances to ensure they hit the ball squarely.

As for the invisible hazard, it’s the wind. The prevailing breeze is from the southwest, but it can shift during the round and must be taken into consideration on every shot. Local pros have a favorite tip: “When it’s breezy, swing easy.” The idea is to impart as little sidespin as possible on full shots. Solid contact is the key.

Putting? Quivira’s greens are firm, fast and true. Spend some time on the practice putting green before teeing off to get a feel for how firmly the ball needs to be stroked in order to reach the hole from a variety of distances.

Here’s some local knowledge that flies well under the radar. Nicklaus, to his credit, built kicker slopes and containment mounds at Quivira that tend to gather the ball to safety and feed the ball to the hole. A case in point is the dazzling par-3 13th hole, which plays across a chasm to a tiny wafer-like green that sits atop a pinnacle of granite high above the sea. Hit safely away from the forbidding rocks to the grassy slope on the left, and the ball generally will roll down the slope and onto the green.


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