Acapulco Golf Travel Article November 1st, 2016

An article by Anthony Langlois (August 2016);

Acapulco, a place you’ve most probably heard of. Indeed, the very name probably resonates with most people on a musical level thanks to the Four Tops 1988 hit ‘You’ll be going loco down in Acapulco’. Also, 25 years earlier Elvis starred in ‘Fun in Acapulco’ and introduced a world of movie-goers to a backdrop of breath-taking beauty. Not surprisingly, throughout the 60’s and 70’s Acapulco really was the place to be.

‘The Pearl of the Pacific’ has maintained its popularity with tourists from Mexico City who flock there, especially at weekends, as it is the closest coastal resort to the capital. However, in recent times Acapulco has been largely overlooked as a holiday destination in Mexico for foreign tourists with Cancun becoming the resort of choice.

The primary reason for my trip was to visit a fellow English friend who lives and works in the city. But I couldn’t resist bringing my clubs along. However, having researched information on the internet I found a lot of inaccuracies about the details of the courses. So, an idea developed, visit each golf club and create my own accurate website.

I decided on a gentle introduction to my Acapulco golf holiday, the 9 hole Club de Golf de Acapulco. Built in 1949 it was the first course to open in the region. Located on La Costera in the Zona Dorada/Golden Zone.

Measuring a mere 2,573 yards. My first thought was that I was going to over-power this track. But that is not how you play this course. Instead, focus on finding the fairway and a good wedge game will be rewarded.

Overall there are 10 greens (holes 1 and 10 have their own green), the rest of the holes have two flags each, white for the front nine, blue for the back nine. Holes 1/10 and 9/18 can be driven if you are very brave and capable of hitting the ball 280 yards. But as I mentioned, to get the maximum enjoyment from your round it is better to play each hole as the par dictates and your short game will get a good test.

Being located in the heart of the city I was pleasantly surprised with the ambience and the sight of local wildlife. Squirrels, peacock, iguana and deer roam the course freely. This just added to the charm of this historic course. Condition and presentation was more than acceptable.

Having had a relaxed warm-up to my golf holiday I was ready for a real challenge. Next destination was the Vidanta Golf Acapulco. One of four eighteen hole courses located in the Zona Diamante/Diamond Zone area, a 20+ minute drive from the city, heading back towards the airport.

The course had been re-named a couple of times in recent years, and a little difficult to know if I was at the right place. It is part of the Mayan Palace development, an impressive up-market 5* resort, and previously this was its name. It had also been known as the Copra Golf Course. The course now managed by the Vidanta Golf Group is set in beautiful landscape. Perfectly presented, the 6,176 yard course is a manageable length. Having all the facilities you would expect from a resort course, buggies, caddies, putting green, driving range, pro shop and golf club hire.

My round of golf was over too quickly. Comfortably playing the eighteen holes in under 3 hours. There was hardly anyone else here. I was visiting in low-season after-all. I thoroughly enjoyed my game. Each hole is clearly laid out, no punishing rough to note and each hole a sensible distance in length. In fact, only one of the par 3’s is over 150 yards. Plenty of birdie chances on offer. I could quite happily play this course every day. A fun resort course beautifully presented.

The next day I returned to the Riviera Diamante area to visit Turtle Dunes Country Club, host to the World Cup of Golf in 1982, a links/dunes layout designed by the legendary architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. I was met by the golf director Juan Carlos who was extremely hospitable. In fact, he offered to play the front nine with me. Immediately stepping on the first tee I could be mistaken for being on a Las Vegas golf course. Each fairway lined by gentle sand dunes. I got the distinct impression this was going to be a much tougher challenge than the Vidanta course.

You have the option from playing from a choice of five tees, measuring from 5,203 yards to the brutal championship length of 7,244 yards. A true test for all abilities. Unfortunately, Turtle Dunes Country Club is a member’s course. If you wish to play here as a visitor you have to be a guest of one of the three hotels located close by, Resort Mundo Imperial, Princess Mundo Imperial and Pierre Mundo Imperial. However, this does have its advantages, you are always guaranteed a tee-time. I was delighted to have played it, perfectly presented, a tough challenge. Best if I don’t mention my score.

My next golfing adventure was to Tres Vidas Golf Course, an exclusive private development 10 minutes from the airport. Securing a tee-time is difficult. As a non-member you have only one option and that is to book a suite on-site at the Hotel Tres Vidas. But if you do stay here you are in for an absolute treat. The location, ambience and setting is perfect, pure luxury. I was very fortunate. I had managed to contact the course prior to my arrival and informed them of my intention to develop a golf website for the region. They welcomed me with open arms. It was an absolute honour to play this championship course.

Tres Vidas Golf Course is designed by the late Robert von Hagge, credited with designing over 250 courses worldwide, most notably Doral (Blue Monster) in Miami. Measuring 7,217 yards from the back tees. This is again a course set-up for players of all abilities with a choice of five tees to choose from.

The course’s uniqueness is that five of the holes are perched on the beach overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Your first encounter of this remarkable scenery is when you stand on the par 3 sixth hole. The green is literally on the beach, spectacular. But don’t worry if you do find the sand, just like I did, the beach is not out of bounds and is playable. There is literally not a weak hole on this course. Each one is perfectly laid out. Plenty of water in play, and of course you revisit the beach views on numerous occasions. I felt very privileged to have experienced this course. The highlight of my trip.

For my final round of golf I returned to the shared club house of Turtle Dunes Country Club to play Princess Mundo Imperial Golf Course. This course is in stark contrast to its sister course. A length of 6,112 yards was much more inviting. Plus, it is fully open to all golfers.

The course has two contrasting nines. The front nine is lined by coconut palm trees, whilst the back nine becomes a little more open with parota and banyan trees to add further beauty to this layout. I enjoyed an easier round of golf than the two previous courses I played. And glad to note that I didn’t lose any balls.

As a golfer I thoroughly enjoyed my time and the hospitality I received in Acapulco. My only criticism is that two of the courses have restricted access to play. As a keen travelling golfer I find this a little frustrating. After-all, Acapulco wants to attract more international tourists. Offering a full access golf course policy would go a long way to achieving this.

Acapulco is a vibrant city. Plenty to do and see. A trip to the famous cliff divers is a must. The city also prides itself on its gastronomy and nightlife, the La Condesa area is a vibrant place in the evening. There is a great choice of nightclubs to choose from, dance with the Mexicans or listen to live bands. There is so much to do and enjoy, and you don’t have to be Elvis to have fun in Acapulco. But if you make the effort to visit this lively city you will indeed be ‘Going Loco’ with a love for the place, because as the next line of the song says, ‘the magic down there is so strong’. Acapulco, thank you for the memories, I shall return.

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