It took dozens of starts and stops before Diamante finally opened in January. It was worth the effort. Designed by Davis Love III and Paul Cowley, Diamante looks like no other course in Cabo. It is built right into majestic, barely disturbed dunes, with some greens set into giant sandhills. The 600-yard, uphill 14th, with its alley-like fairway threaded through the dunes, echoes the 11th at Waterville — it’s just about 30 degrees warmer than its Irish counterpart. There may be one too many blind shots for some tastes, and it’s not cheap at $275 in high season, but the price includes cart, caddie, and all food and beverage during the round.
If you need more proof that Cabo is no longer a sleepy little village — besides the new Mercedes dealership and the Costco store — sample Puerto Los Cabos. This 2,000-acre community sprouted from the desert floor, spawning three neighborhoods and the world’s only Greg Norman/Jack Nicklaus course, but this wasn’t exactly a collaboration. Both architects had designed separate tracks, but until the economy recovers the developers have opened nine by each. The front nine is Norman’s, the back is Jack’s. Jack’s is the sterner test, Greg’s is more fun. Nicklaus built the region’s first championship course, Palmilla, in 1992, and almost singlehandedly transformed Los Cabos into a golf destination, albeit an expensive one. He puts it diplomatically: “I love Cabo for how it was and I love it for how it is.”