Golfing in Paradise
Guest Blog Diaries
Voting early for President Barack Obama by absentee ballot some weeks ago cleared my calendar for Election Day so I chose to tee it up at 7:30 am on Pacifico, one of the two Nicklaus courses here at the St Regis Punta Mita Golf and Beach Resort.
The Pacifico course has provided pleasant and challenging rounds since opening in 1999. Its eight ocean-side holes include the Tail of the Whale, hole 3B that plays from the water’s edge to a natural island green. Being able to hit to 3B green depends on the tide.
The par-72 layout offers options with five sets of tees, playing 7,014 yards from the tips (72.7/131) to 4,974-yard (68.1/114) at the forward tees. It delivers a lovely scenic routing over 200 acres of undulating terrain with ample fairways and approach shots that will test your skills. “You would be hard-pressed to ask for a more beautiful backdrop for a golf course than Punta Mita,” said Jack Nicklaus.
Earlier this week I played Bahia. It was ready for play in 2008 making Punta Mita, “that much more of a golfer’s destination,” said director of golf Phillip Ferrari. It includes six ocean holes and lush, wide and rolling fairways. The larger and more undulating greens, guarded by deeper and more traps help to make this layout more challenging than Pacifico. Bahia meanders near to St. Regis Resort. Players can choose from four sets of tees- 5,088 yards (70.1/121) to 7,035 yards (74.0/135).
“To be given spectacular oceanfront land as a canvas not once, but twice, here at Punta Mita is exciting for a designer. I’m confident people are going to enjoy the challenge and beauty of this golf course (Bahia), as well as the incredible scenery,” said Nicklaus The other day I caught up with Lorena Ochoa and husband Andres on Pacifico and later at the golf club’s Tail of the Whale restaurant. Both were warm and receptive with an unmistakable clear sense of being. They were at the St Regis in an ocean villa to relax, enjoy the beach with family and tune-up in advance for her tournament, the 2012 Lorena Ochoa Invitational November 8-11 at the Guadalajara Country Club in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Mexican born Ochoa played on the US LPGA tour from 2003-2110, where she won 27 tournaments including two majors and was the top ranked female golfer in the world 2007-2010. Ochoa is a Mexican treasure and the best-known golfer from Mexico. In 2009 she was married, and in 2010 at 28 she retired from professional golf. The tournament in Guadalajara benefits the Lorena Ochoa Golf Foundation that provides opportunity for children and adults with family based health, fitness, education and inclusion programs delivered through golf activities.
It was wonderful to meet Lorena and watch her still beautiful swing and on target approach shots. Last month she competed at the LaCoste Ladies Open of France. When asked if we’d be seeing more her in LPGA events she said, “Although I still enjoy playing, especially here at Punta Mita, I have no plans to return to the tour or competing except as part of my foundation event.”
Middle photo L-R: Carl Emberson, GM St Regis; Bill Nestor, Freelance writer; Lorena Ochoa and husband Andres,