CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico -- The Dunes Course at Diamante Cabo San Lucas skyrocketed into international prominence when it opened in 2009 on the tip of the Baja Peninsula.
Could the addition of two new holes among the spectacular sand dunes near the Pacific Ocean elevate the Davis Love III design even higher? It sits 52nd in Golf Magazine's 2013 list of the Top 100 Courses in the World.
Lead architect Paul Cowley, who stayed at Diamante to be the project manager of the new El Cardonal Course by Tiger Woods, built the new 12th and 13th holes on the Dunes Course to look and play more like a traditional links. The new holes were routed away from the lake that framed the old ones. The new 514-yard, par-5 12th hole, which is 80 yards shorter than the par 5 it replaces, ends at a Redan-style green that angles diagonally away from the approach shot. The new 378-yard 13th hole wanders downwind toward a 12,000-square-foot punchbowl green.
The front nine, while essentially a warm up for the more dramatic dunes and ocean views of the back nine, still conjures up variety galore. Players can potentially drive the fourth green if they're brave enough to take on dune hazard dissecting the fairway. The 475-yard sixth hole and 290-yard seventh hole feel like par 4s, although they're actually a short par 5 and long par 3.
A day at the 7,160-yard Dunes starts at a driving range, where the free smoothies and breakfast or lunch sliders and piped-in rock music foster a cool hangout vibe.
Only golfers who stay on property and go through a one-time "Stay & Play" sales presentation can play at Diamante.