Punta Mita Golf Club Bahia Course: A True Test of Golf
I’ll be totally honest…
When I woke up to play the Bahia Course at Punta Mita, I was having a bit of a rough morning.
Between a Mexican spirits tasting at the Four Seasons, a crying baby during the night, and the added twist of Mexico’s daylight savings time hitting – I was not at 100% when I rolled out of bed around 6:45 to make my 7:50 tee time at the Bahia Course.
In part, because I was convinced they must have had my tee time wrong and didn’t account for daylight savings.
It was pitch black.
But after laying in bed for 20 minutes longer than I should have, I realized I’d better be there just in case.
Fortunately, a shuttle was waiting at the front of the hotel, and as I made the short journey through the grounds of the Punta Mita community, a little bit of light slowly started creeping up over the property.
When I arrived, sure enough, 7:50 tee time.
At this point, I was still a bit groggy, but I got a water and some complimentary coffee and headed to the first tee.
I was thankful to be playing by myself this morning. That way if I really couldn’t shake the sleep away, at least I’d be the only person affected by it.
However, by the time I reached the second fairway, everything changed.
This round at Bahia ended up being incredibly special for me, and one of the single most enjoyable rounds I’ve had over the past few years.
First Impressions of the Bahia Course at Punta Mita
After playing the Pacifico Course the day before, I knew I was in for a stout test of golf. Multiple people mentioned that Bahia was harder, had deeper bunkers – but was also, more fun?
We’ll see about that.
The vibe at both Bahia and Pacifico is similar. After all they have essentially the same terrain and landscape.
But the way the course plays is totally different.
It doesn’t take long to figure this out either.
The Bahia Course was built to be a championship test of golf.
Yes, the bunkers are deeper and more plentiful. But they’re also positioned in ways that will punish a bad shot. You can get away with more on the Pacifico Course. With Bahia, you better be ready to play.
If you find yourself missing the green short left or right on many holes, you’ll have a tricky time getting up and down. Or at least this is the case ify you’re a 12 handicap like me.
But what about the “fun” part?
Honestly, I didn’t expect Bahia to be fun.
I figured something got lost in translation when people kept saying it was more fun than Bahia.
But you know what? It’s a blast to play.
The Front 9 of the Bahia Golf Course Punta Mita
The first three holes are very similar to the Pacifico Course in that you have a gentle par 4, a risk reward par 5, and then a beautiful par 3.
As I was strolling down the 2nd hole and watching the sunrise over the horizon, everything shifted for me.
The hangover subsided, and I found myself feeling immensely grateful for being where I was at that moment.
After a couple years of COVID and lockdowns, very little travel, having a kid – to be playing a beautiful golf course in Mexico, by myself overlooking the ocean at sunrise?
Well, it just felt special.
Similar to Pacifico, the Bahia course has a nice flow with a solid collection of ocean-view holes as well as inland holes.
Personally, I found the inland holes on the front 9 to be far superior to the inland holes on the front 9 of the Pacifico course.
On 4, Nicklaus made good use of “fore” bunkers to throw off your depth perception a bit on your approach shot.
Clearly, it worked on me.
5 is one of my favorite holes on the entire property.
A large, multi-tiered, wild green not only makes for some fun pin locations, but it just looks really cool.
6 is a risk-reward par 5 that has multiple layup spots, but begs you to try and go for it in 2.
End up a little short, however, and you have plenty of bunkers and a creek waiting to punish you for it.
At this point, I’m starting to get it. Yes, the Bahia course can punish you if you’re not on your A game. But it almost always gives you an easier, errr, “smarter” option to play as well.
And with risk-reward options like the 6th?
Or the drivable par 4, 7th?
It’s a ton of fun to play as well.
I made my only birdie of the round on 7 after slicing my drive onto the 8th teebox, and then hitting wedge to 8 feet before draining the putt.
This back part of the property on 5-8 was one of my favorite stretches of golf I played in Punta Mita.
At this point, I was fully awake, and reveling in the experience.
There wasn’t a single person around.
It was just me, the golf course, and a surprising amount of wildlife.
I can’t remember the last time I had a round like that while traveling.
In the early days of Breaking Eighty, I used to travel and play a ton by myself. Not so much these days.
So this felt like a throwback to driving around Northern Michigan or Wisconsin all by myself and just taking photos and enjoying the experience.
The Back 9 of the Bahia Golf Course Punta Mita
One thing I’ve neglected to mention in either this or my Pacifico recap up to this point is the service.
The on-course service is excellent.
On both courses, there was a drink cart every 3-4 holes.
Along with that, at a similar cadence, a concierge drove up and asked if there was anything we needed.
Need a new towel? Water? Sunscreen? A hat from the pro shop?
They have you covered.
I can’t remember another resort I’ve played that has this, and admittedly, I never needed anything, but it’s a nice touch.
The back 9 at Bahia gets a bit more open than the front.
10 is a long par 4, and one of the tougher holes on the course.
11 starts a stretch that feels a bit more open and plays around a large lake.
It’s a solid par 3, that then leads into a tricky par 4 with water all down the right. The par 5, 13th plays back on the other side of the lake with some bunkering that requires thoughtful shots.
15 features one of the best green sites on the course. It’s a beautiful cliffside green with a gorgeous ocean backdrop. Make sure you check out the insane house (mansion? estate? COMPOUND?) to the right of the green.
16 is the last in a quintet of par 3s on the course.
And then you hit 17.
I didn’t do a ton of research on the course beforehand, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Frankly, I wasn’t expecting anything. I was just walking down the path to the next tee box.
But when you get there, you’re treated to one of the most spectacular golf holes I’ve ever played.
The 17th is a shorter par 4 tucked into a little cove below the St. Regis hotel.
It’s almost a cape hole, but not quite.
And you play directly over the ocean coming in from the left-hand side.
You can hit everything from driver to mid-iron off the tee, and the setting is truly one of the coolest I’ve played.
The island green on Pacifico is obviously the major draw to the club, but this hole takes the cake for me.
I’d put it in my top 10 favorite holes I’ve ever played.
18 is a massive par 5 with the widest fairway on the course. It then bends around in a dogleg left that takes you down to the green perched up over the water. It’s an excellent finishing hole with some great views, that compliment the previous hole beautifully.
Final Thoughts on the Bahia Course
I didn’t expect to like the Bahia Course as much as I did.
Often times overly challenging courses can feel brutal, in ways that don’t make for an enjoyable resort round of golf.
That isn’t the case here.
If you play from the proper tees, you won’t be overwhelmed by the length of the course. And there are plenty of layup opportunities that should help you avoid some of the more difficult bunkers.
But regardless of how you play, the spectacular oceanfront holes, and very solid inland holes will keep you engaged and entertained throughout the round.
If you’re visiting the Four Seasons Punta Mita with your family, and only have time to sneak in one or two rounds of golf. Try and arrange the first time of the day.
This round did something for me. It re-energized me in a way that I haven’t experienced in a long while.
The Bahia Course is a wonderful complement to its older sibling the Pacifico, and the members at Punta Mita Golf Club are lucky to have two unique golf experiences at their club.
If you get the opportunity, both courses are well worth making the trip to play.
For more about access to the courses at Punta Mita, see our full Four Seasons Punta Mita review.