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Mexico M


exico’s golf courses serve every corner of the country, with around half of more than 220 courses clustered along picturesque stretches of coast. Think greens on the ritzy beach resorts of


Cancun, the Riviera Maya region on the Caribbean coast and the Pacific shoreline’s Puerta Vallarta. That's not forgetting the courses nestled in tropical rainforest or cactus-scattered desert, or the two-dozen world-class golf academies in bustling Mexico City where golfers can emulate former national golf pro Lorena Ochoa, ranked #1 in the world until her retirement in 2010 — the myriad Mexican offerings are a huge draw for golfers on their travels. A number of prestigious tournaments are now held in


Mexico, including the famous Mayakoba Golf Classic — a PGA Tour event, which takes place every November at El Camaleón Golf Club. Designed by Greg Norman, the course plays to a par 71, weaving 7,039 yards through a knot of mangrove jungles, cavernous limestone creeks and oceanfront stretches — three drama-rich landscapes that guarantee breathtaking views. In June 2016, Mexican golf hit the world headlines when


during the US presidential campaign, a PGA spat with Donald Trump prompted the World Golf Championship event to move from Miami’s Trump National Doral, where it has been held since 1962, to a course in Mexico City; a decision that’s reported to have enraged The Donald so much that he threw his iron into a bunker in rage. Mexico’s golf scene is delighted to welcome the world’s greatest golfers to its greens and fairways in the newest of a total of 70 tournaments and professional golf tours that are now hosted in Mexico. Golf is easily accessible in most regions with courses usually


within a short drive from all major resorts, if not already available on site. Non-golfers can stretch out by the pool with a cocktail and book in glorious golden sunshine, while golfing partners, friends and family can head out to the nearest top-notch course to do battle within the realms of palm-fringed sand bunkers. Without a doubt, the Riviera Maya in the southeast of Mexico is the country’s most popular golfing hotspot. Nearly all the


courses run behind the main highway, Route 307, along a 75-mile stretch, which leads from the high-rise bustle of Cancun down to the far quieter village of Tulum, famous for its ancient Mayan ruins. The Riviera Maya is predominantly coastal and offers soft sands and warm Caribbean waters. Away from the golf course, leisure activities centre on one


of the world’s most resplendent coral reefs — the 620-mile Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, a prime scuba-diving location famous for its rainbow of tropical fish and sponges. It begins near Cancun and runs along the whole length of the Riviera Maya, continuing southward to Guatemala.


BEST FOR PRESTIGE


EL CAMALEÓN MAYAKOBA


Golf aficionados from all over the world flock to play this par-71 Greg Norman design, host of the prestigious PGA Tour’s OHL Classic every November, on the beautiful Playa Carmen. With its immaculate greens and fairways, the course is everything you’d expect from a high-end resort. You can look forward to solicitous service as you play the 18 memorable holes and soak up the views of mangrove forests and clear lagoons. Twilight seasonal specials ensure magical golfing experiences that are worth every penny. Green fee: £160 for guests at one of Mayakoba’s three hotels (The Fairmont, Rosewood and Banyan Tree); £245 for visitors. mayakoba.com


128 ABTA Golf 2017


IMAGE: EL CAMALEON MAYAKOBA


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