Costa Palmas Golf Club

Tacos, Pacificos, and a Robert Trent Jones II Layout at the Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos

An hour north of the Cabo airport sits the Four Season Costa Palmas and the Costa Palmas Golf Club, a Robert Trent Jones II layout. East Cape, as the area is being marketed, is at least 90 minutes from anything you know as Cabo, but that’s the beauty of the place. Once here, you really don’t need to go anywhere else. It is remote and isolated, but in a way where you all of sudden don’t feel the need to check your email. The only time we left the resort was by water taxi to Mozza, the Cabo outpost of Nancy Silverton’s LA classic. We were there during spring break 2022 and the full resort felt anything but full, especially on the golf course where I encountered more staff than golfers.

For the first round, I teed off at 8:00 am (the first tee time) and finished at 10:31 am including two stops for tacos (more on that later). It was a Sunday and not only did I never wait on a hole, but I only saw one other group, which was one more than I saw the next two days. I should note that only 17 holes were open for play as Hurricane Olaf knocked out the par-3 third and the tees on the par-5 fourth hole. This also cut the green fee down to $150, less than half what it will be later this year when the full 18 is back open.

The course is somewhat difficult to categorize. I suppose it is technically a links course as it’s built on sand dunes next to the Sea of Cortez, but it felt like a mash-up of a links layout and a desert course. It is the desert so waste areas and bunkers come into play on nearly every shot. If you use the memorable holes test, it’s about half and half. There’s not much in the way of elevation change and to set proper expectations, you don’t actually ever play along the water other than the marina and the channel leading into it.

By far, the most memorable hole for me was the par-5 seventh. Slightly uphill, it’s open off the tee with waste areas on each side of a wide fairway, but it’s the next two shots that deliver the drama. From the tee, there’s an ominous bunker complex jutting up from the center of the fairway and blocking any view of the green. Once around it, you’re hitting your third across a wide arroyo and into a green that looks crowded out by sand traps. I smelled a par one time, but couldn’t putt once I finally made it on the green in three. On the third day, I actually laid up my third shot in an attempt to put a wedge close enough to one-putt. I smoothed a wedge right into one of the backside bunkers and took a lucky number 7 with me to the 8th tee.

Costa Palmas Golf Club
View of the 7th green at Costa Palmas Golf Club.

I played three different tees over the three rounds, including the tips which stretched the course out to 7,221 yards. As it should, the course played quite differently from all three tees but the tee boxes themselves were unique and took some getting used to. There isn’t a flat rectangle to be found. The same way the fairways roll through the desert, the tees take on the terrain with minor undulations and an overall sinuous but more natural feel. The takeaway? Don’t count on an even stance.

It’s hard to write about golf at Costa Palmas without talking about the food.

Plate of tacos and salsa bowls at Lucha Libre, on the Costa Palmas Golf Course.

Normally, when a green fee includes food & beverages, it’s nothing to get excited about with the usual hot dog at the turn or a club sandwich at the 19th hole. That is not Costa Palmas. I skipped the practiced range for a pre-round machaca breakfast burrito at Bouchie’s and it was the best machaca anything I’ve ever had. Between the 8th and 13th holes is Lucha Libre, an open-air taco stand. I’ve dined at taco stands from Tijuana to Puerto Vallarta and lived in LA and Texas for two decades and I can officially say, Lucha Libre is legit. The el pastor, the carne asada, the breakfast tacos, all on point. I ate a whole bowl of chips just to finish all three salsas they set in front of me. There’s a cooler of icy cold Mexican beers too. I stopped both at 8 and 13 on two of the days and my wife wondered why I wasn’t hungry for lunch.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the service. The people were truly phenomenal and made a very good golf experience exceptional. Before I could even get a word out, I was handed a beer, given directions, pointed to my ball in the sand, or served up chips and salsa. I was even offered a popsicle daily by a smiling gentleman pedaling a bike with a cooler mounted on the back. I would have gladly enjoyed a mid-morning popsicle had I not already had breakfast once, lunch twice, and happy hour in between.

Chris Austin — Founder, Editor, Writer, Average Golfer