Chosen from a ballot of nearly 500 golf courses worldwide, the Dunes Course at Diamante, which landed on GOLF Magazine’s Top 100 list shortly after its debut in 2010, now stands at No. 98, an indication of how competitive the international category has become.
“It’s quite an honor,” said Diamante developer Ken Jowdy. “To be ranked on GOLF Magazine’s list is a validation of everything we do. We’re thrilled.”
Designed by PGA Tour star and former Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, with assistance from his brother Mark Love and architect Paul Cowley, Diamante (Dunes) is unlike any other venue in Los Cabos. Located 15 minutes north of downtown Cabo San Lucas on the Baja Peninsula’s Pacific coast, the 7,022-yard, par-71 Dunes Course, centerpiece of a 1,500-acre private resort community, is a windswept, lay-of-the-land creation that rambles through 50-foot-high sand hills and skirts huge blowout bunkers on its journey to and from the sea. Fairways, tees and greens are carved into huge Sahara-like dunes set above the sea, where breaching whales are a common sight during the winter months. Five sets of tees, three of them rated for women, provide admirable versatility on the Dunes Course, which is surfaced from tee to green in sustainable, salt-tolerant paspalum grass.
“Diamante’s free-form architecture rests gently on the land, and the absence of any hard lines let the golfer’s eye soak in the delightful contrast between the dazzling Pacific Ocean, the dunescape and the emerald playing surfaces,” the magazine reported. “The Dunes’ random green contours are noteworthy as is the construction technique that left micro-undulations in the fairways. Spectacular ocean views sometimes come with the price of cold and damp playing conditions but not here.” A breezy, links-style layout, the Dunes Course resembles golf in Ireland–only 30 degrees warmer.
Refinements and routing alterations have greatly improved the club’s golf experience. For example, two seaside holes, the current 12th and 13th, each sculpted from vast rolling dunes within earshot of the surf, were built to replace inland predecessors. The mammoth 590-yard par-5 18th, previously the 17th, offers multiple landing areas and calls for a lofted approach to a shelf-like green perched 50 feet above the fairway. It provides a memorable finish to the round.
According to Ran Morrissett, the magazine’s architecture editor, “GOLF’s 107 raters, spread across the globe, dealt with Covid restrictions to deliver a comprehensive review of the game’s elite venues. The result is what we feel is the smartest vote on architecture among the myriad media outlets that also rate courses…if you look closely at the list, you’ll notice that what was once considered ‘great’ architecture is taking on a decidedly broader definition.”
Specifically, the panel, whose members include major championship winners, architects, journalists and well-traveled golf aficionados, now places a higher value on “width, strategy, playing angles, enjoyment (and) creativity stemming from ‘bouncy-bounce’ golf.” Built entirely on sand, Diamante (Dunes) has firm, fast-running conditions plus exceptional risk-reward variety.
It’s often said it takes great land to yield a great course. Diamante (Dunes) is the only venue in Mexico on GOLF Magazine’s Top 100 Courses in the World list, a tribute to the topographical uniqueness of the desert-meets-ocean environment in Los Cabos.
Access to Diamante (Dunes) is granted to guests of the on-site Nobu Hotel Los Cabos and Hard Rock Hotel Los Cabos, subject to availability.