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Maya Riviera, Mexico


MyBluC4

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Golf in Playa del Carmen area
45 minutes South of Cancun is Playa del Carmen, a terrific town that is the center of the Mayan Riviera fast becoming the top spot to vacation in Mexico. Nice part is that there are no high rises to speak of. Most of the resorts are set back from the road with large areas of vegitation so you don't feel like its Cancun or Alcapulco. There are Mayan ruins to visit in Tulum and Playa del Carmen is fun to visit at night with many good restarurants and shops. Very clean and secure.
There are 8 courses between Cancun and Playa, all signature tracks that offer every type of design. Here is my feedback from the last trip:

Playacar Golf Club on the Maya Riviera, 35 minutes south of Cancun is a very difficult Robert von Hagge design. While many in the U.S. may not be familiar with von Hagge, he is a highly talented and respected designer in Mexico and the Carribean. He is known for extremely narrow fairways and small greens and Playacar is no exception. The course is cut from the jungle with cenotes (natural sink holes from underground rivers and acquifers) throughout the track. The course playes 7,144 from the tips (that is far to difficult for most players with the winds in play). The Blues are 6,639 and course carries a 76.1/148 slope rating (huge for Mexico or anywhere else for that matter). The par 4 seventh at 455 yards is the number one handicap and considered one of the most difficult par 4's in Mexico. The back nine is 400 yards shorter than the front but don't be lulled into getting too confident. The shorter holes are doglegs with undulating fairways protected by crazy bunkers. With the wind you will be hitting 2 and 3 club variations to small greens. This course is tough but is a lot of fun when on vacation. It is one of the older courses on the Riviera Maya being completed in 1994. The greens fees for the morning run $180 with range balls, cart, snacks and unlimited beverages including beer. Twilight fees are $130 and begin at 1PM.
Playa Paraiso, Maya Riviera Mexico

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The Iberostar Playa Paraiso course on the Maya Riviera, about 30 minutes south of Cancun. The course was designed by P.B. Dye, finished in 2005 and is a beauty. It is one of the newer tracks lining the area between Cancun and Playa Del Carmen. The course features a lot of undulating greens, some that are almost crazy but fun for a resort track. Like other P.B. courses, this one is packed with bunkers, curved fairways and hollows in front of the majority of greens. The par 5 14th is one of the best at 485 yards featuring a steep hard dogleg. The course is carved out of the jungle and looks like Dye moved a lot of dirt. The course plays 6,683 from the tips with a 72.4/136 slope rating. A round including cart with snacks and drinks including beer runs $180 in the morning and $130 at twilight that starts at 1PM. Compared to some of the other tracks like El Cameleon at $259 a round, this is definitely worth playing.

El Camaleon, a Greg Norman signature design course. While not usually a big fan of Norman designed tracks this was a good resort course. The conditions were excellent. The fairways were perfect and the greens were pristine. Traps were consistent throughout. The course reads 7024 from the tips with a 71.1/131 slope rating, 6562 from the whites. Like other Norman courses, this one had, for the most part, wide fairways and huge greens. You could find yourself with 80 foot putts on a number of occasions. Course meanders through thick vegetation and is bordered on a number of holes with hotel suites. Two holes, both par 3’s are right on the ocean providing beautiful views. There are 6 par 4’s over 425. This is good because with the wind you are hitting long approach shots to greens. The 4 par 5’s averaged just over 540 yards.
If you are staying at any Mayakoba resort the 18 hole rate is $181 per round with carts. There is a twilight rate of $77 that works. Many players choose to play 9 holes at around 2PM when the weather is nice and the shadows start to fall across the course. The staff, outside of the pro shop, were terrific and helpful. Pro shop staff needs to get their act together and do a better job of coordinating with the hotel front desks. The often have conflicting information regarding rates, especially for junior players under 17. All in all a good week of golf and sun.



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