Tiger Woods’ El Cardonal Golf Course To Open December 16

1 of 25 Getty Images
The Blackstone Course at Mission Hills features heavily bunkered holes draped atop ancient black volcanic rock.
2 of 25 Getty Images
Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods met in head-to-head competition for only the second time on Monday, the first being the Duel at Jinsha Lake in 2012, where McIlroy also defeated Woods by a single stroke.
3 of 25 Getty Images
A golf fan reveals where his loyalties lie.
4 of 25 Getty Images
"I would like to play all my tournaments in China where I can beat Tiger," McIlroy said after his victory.
5 of 25 Getty Images
Located on the Chinese island of Hainan, Mission Hills Haikou features 10 full courses.
6 of 25 COURTESY OF LEGACY PROPERTIES
11th Hole: This 220-yard par-3 emphasizes Tiger's design philosophy for variety, fun and fairness. While it’s a haul from the back tees, the hole features a long tee box, a la Firestone, that Tiger prefers, so that everybody can play from the same box, even at different yardages. The green is large, and so is receptive to the longer shots that will be required, with plenty of room to recover for a miss.
7 of 25 COURTESY OF LEGACY PROPERTIES
12th Hole: The uphill 405-yard, par-4 12th doglegs to the left up a slope to a plateau fairway. The small, 4,500-square-foot green features a false front that will repel any timid second shot.
8 of 25 COURTESY OF LEGACY PROPERTIES
12th Hole: It exemplifies the “looks hard, plays easier,” aspects of Tiger's design philosophy.
9 of 25 COURTESY OF LEGACY PROPERTIES
13th Hole: A change of direction from the previous hole, the dogleg-right, 465-yard, par-4 13th is defined by natural arroyo down the right side that adds menace and strategy. The closer the drive is to the arroyo, the better the angle into the massive, 60-yard-deep green.
10 of 25 COURTESY OF LEGACY PROPERTIES
15th Hole: The 460-yard, par-4 15th could prove to be El Cardonal’s toughest test when the wind is up. With the sea in the backdrop, this slight dogleg left invariably plays into the wind and shot trajectory is further complicated by the healthy elevation change, from high to low. Overcook the approach and a natural arroyo back-left of the green awaits.
11 of 25 COURTESY OF LEGACY PROPERTIES
16th Hole: Only 155 yards from the tips, don’t let the tiny scorecard yardage deceive you into thinking this memorable par-3 will be an easy birdie. The short-iron punch is played over a tree- and scrub-filled arroyo to a small, sectionalized green placed on a left-to-right diagonal axis, which is surrounded by cacti and by palo verde and palo blanco trees.
12 of 25 COURTESY OF LEGACY PROPERTIES
17th Hole: A back tee set WAY back at 444 yards provides a demanding test on this strategy-filled par-4. The fairway landing area is delineated into sections.
13 of 25 COURTESY OF LEGACY PROPERTIES
17th Hole: An upper area, covering one-third of the fairway landing area, is harder to hit, but if successful, you’ll face an easier angle into a peninsula green that edges the arroyo. No matter how you fare, you get a superb view of the seaside dunes.
14 of 25 COURTESY OF LEGACY PROPERTIES
18th Hole: Measuring well over 500 yards, this downhill closing hole with its awesome distant sea views was intended by Tiger to be a stern par-4. In the end, however, given the course’s role as a private club for vacationers, it was converted into a more scorecard-friendly par-5.
15 of 25 Courtesy of Legacy
A map of Tiger Woods' new course El Cardonal at Diamante Cabo San Lucas.
16 of 25 Steve Sy
The following front-nine photos were taken earlier in the construction process while Golf Magazine's Joe Passov (front, left) toured the site with Tiger.
17 of 25 COURTESY OF LEGACY PROPERTIES
2nd Tee: The massive 215-yard, par-3 second hole features a gigantic, 10,000-square-foot green that’s dished out to something resembling a Macdonald-Raynor punchbowl.
18 of 25 COURTESY OF LEGACY PROPERTIES
3rd Tee: Drivable under the right conditions, the 360-yard, par-4 third hole calls for a tee shot over the only lake on the course. Woods wanted to approximate the shot values of Riviera’s 10th hole, so there’s nearly as much emphasis on the proper layup off the tee as there is on a smash that attempts to reach the green.
19 of 25 COURTESY OF LEGACY PROPERTIES
3rd Fairway: A small, 4,400-square-foot target awaits the approach to El Cardonal’s par-4 3rd, though strategically placed bunkers complicate matters. Tiger built a ramp on the left side of the green and in back of the green, “so in case you blade one, you still have a backstop.”
20 of 25 COURTESY OF LEGACY PROPERTIES
4th Tee: “This might be the toughest hole on the course,” says Tiger. It’s 485 yards, par-4 and plays uphill, with bunkers flashed-up in “Old California” style that eat into the fairway landing area. “We’ve got big, bold bunkers, but we’ve built in ways to avoid them,” he says.
21 of 25 COURTESY OF LEGACY PROPERTIES
5th Tee: The 420-yard, par-4 fifth doglegs to the right, along an arroyo. The arroyo, a natural dry river wash, is a menacing hazard, yet it’s intended to be playable -- and escapable -- for those venture that way.
22 of 25 COURTESY OF LEGACY PROPERTIES
5th Fairway: A 260-yard carry is required to take on the two staggered bunkers on the right side of the fairway, but there’s plenty of room for those who choose a more conservative play. Yet, the strategy is superb, as those who hug those bunkers off the tee are rewarded with a better look at the green, which itself is closely guarded on the right by the arroyo.
23 of 25 COURTESY OF LEGACY PROPERTIES
7th Tee: From a grove of Cardon Cacti behind the tee box, this downhill 500-yard par-4 features an outstanding view of the Pacific Ocean in the distance. A helping contour short of the green shortens the hole considerably for those who wish to run it onto the green.
24 of 25 COURTESY OF LEGACY PROPERTIES
7th Fairway: There’s plenty of room to the right side of the fairway off the tee at El Cardonal’s par-4 7th, but the further right the drive winds up, the more the sprawling greenside bunker comes into play.
25 of 25 COURTESY OF LEGACY PROPERTIES
7th Fairway: A hint of a nasty fairway bunker is visible in the foreground at the 7th. The tee shot calls for a 245-250 yard carry over the bunker, which opens up the approach perfectly. The safer shot off the tee is to the right of the bunker, which brings the greenside trap into play on the approach.