Quivira Golf Club: A Seaside Rollercoaster Ride
For years I’ve been hearing about this mythical golf course down on the tip of Baja Mexico.
A course with holes dangling over the ocean, and others carved into the side of a mountain.
A track with looks to kill, and comfort stations that will make you forget about the golf altogether.
I’m talking about Quivira Golf Club, and after years of hearing stories like this, I finally got the chance to see it for myself.
And I’ve got news for you: the stories are true.
Arriving at Quivira Golf Club
This trip down to Los Cabos was only the second time I’ve been on an airplane during the past 20 months. It was a quick trip so I wanted to make every second count.
Unfortunately, many of those seconds were spent on a delayed flight.
Which I then had to deboard, forcing me to miss my connection.
The good news, is that despite missing my first afternoon at the Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Resort, I made it in time for my first day of golf at Quivira Golf Club – and boy am I glad I did.
When you pull up to Quivira you immediately notice the unique clubhouse.
It blends inside and outside seamlessly and is perched up with wonderful views of the ocean.
I overheard one of the golfers in our group say to no one in particular “this is the nicest clubhouse I’ve ever seen.”
Once your bags are on your cart (and you will have a cart), you head over to the practice area.
You don’t see many driving ranges with ocean frontage, but Quivira Golf Club isn’t your average place. The views here are spectacular and the range gives you a hint of the special round that’s to come.
Before you finally step out to the first tee, you have one more stop to make: your first comfort station.
Courses in Los Cabos have become renowned for their “comfort stations” dotting the course, and Quivira is no different. Sliders, tacos, brisket sandwiches, margaritas, beer, tequila shots – whatever you want, it’s sitting there waiting for you.
Oh, and the best part? It’s included in the cost of your round.
We teed off at 7:00am on day 1, so I grabbed some coffee and a croissant and we made our way to the first tee.
First Impressions of Quivira Golf Club
I’m going to be honest with you: I expected Quivira to be way…goofier…than it is.
I’d heard so much about the course being an over-the-top rollercoaster with ridiculous cliffside golf holes, that I almost didn’t expect it to feel like a real golf course.
Kind of in the way that Tobacco Road doesn’t feel like anything else you’ll play.
But you know what happened? I got out to the first tee, and guess what I saw:
A great-looking golf hole.
A hole that wasn’t over the top, and featured some great strategic elements to it.
This is backwards to a lot of what I’d heard about the course.
Holes 2, 3, and 4?
More of the same!
Great golf holes that wouldn’t be out of place on any “top 100” course.
Yes, as you’ll see Quivira Golf Club has a little “Vegas” in it. It has holes (and a few other features) you won’t see anywhere else.
But generally, speaking? It’s a really good golf course that exceeded all of my expectations.
Oh, and want to see just how impressive Quivira is? Watch this:
Quivira Golf Club: The Front 9
Part of the reason you don’t hear much about the opening holes at Quivira is because they aren’t perched up on the hill overlooking the ocean – like nearly every other hole on the course.
One is a great dogleg left par 4.
You’ll want to pay attention to where the pin is, as that will dictate which side of the fairway will give you the better approach.
2 is a beautiful par 3 that features some excellent sucker pin locations above some deep bunkers over on the right hand side of the green.
It doesn’t take long to learn that Quivira is a course that rewards local knowledge. There are a lot of hills and ridges around the greens that can give you a great result if you utilize them properly.
3 was one of my favorite holes on the course.
It was still early when we played it, and the white stucco houses behind the green made it feel like I’d been transported to Greece.
Short par 4s are my favorite type of golf hole, because you can literally hit any club you want off the tee – and things were no different here.
A safe iron over the left bunker gives you a great angle in. But driver is in play if you want to swing for the fences – just don’t end up short right.
Hole 4 is the first par 5 on the course, and gives you a choice of how much you want to bite off on the tee shot. You can carry the right bunkers, but watch out for a pot bunker in the middle of the fairway waiting to swallow up balls.
Be precise on your approach, as the green falls off along many of the edges. I learned this lesson on each of my two rounds at the course.
This is Where Things Get Crazy
After 4 holes, I was already loving Quivira. But knowing that the features it’s really known for were still to come?
That had me excited.
And it all begins with the green to tee transfer from 4 to 5.
You know how I said I’d heard a lot about how Quivira was a little over the top? Maybe even quirky at times?
This is where it begins.
The tee transfer from 4 to 5 took us 4 minutes and 24 seconds.
In a cart.
It was the longest tee transfer I’ve ever had, by a significant margin.
But I did as the GPS screen in the cart said to: “Follow signs. Enjoy the long, beautiful ride to Hole #5.”
You literally feel like you’re climbing a mountain by the end of it, but when you arrive, you’re met with a comfort station and a very nice man who will give you whatever you want.
But we’ll come back to that. Let’s focus on golf for the moment.
The 5th Hole at Quivira
5 is one of the most unique golf holes I’ve ever played in my life.
It’s a par 4 that was literally carved into the side of a cliff.
I’ve played some dramatic golf holes, but this one would certainly be top 5 of “how-the-hell-did-you-build-that” golf holes.
It’s another par 4 that gives you some options. It’s a short dogleg left. At the dogleg, the hole dives straight down towards the ocean to a green that’s at least 6o 0r 70 feet below you.
If you want to be a hero you can rip driver way out to the left over the ocean, where you can see a sliver of the green poking out.
Or can take anyting from a mid iron to driver and try and catch the slope to see if you can get it to roll down to the green.
My first round I played a perfect 5 iron to the top of the dogleg. It ran halfway down the hill, but got caught up in the rough – leaving a precarious shot.
There was some wind during my second round, so my same 5 iron left the ball right at the top of the hill.
Hands down, this was one of the top 10 most fun golf shots I’ve ever had.
It couldn’t have been more than 100 yards. But the elevation change was so severe that gauging distance was extremely difficult.
And keep in mind you’re doing all of this, with one of the most spectacular ocean backdrops in golf.
The 6th Hole at Quivira
But the 5th isn’t even the signature hole.
The 6th hole is the one where everyone goes for photos.
Honestly, before arriving at the course, the 6th hole is the only hole I’d seen photos of.
And when you get to the tee box you understand why.
It’s a par 3, that like the hole before it, is also carved into the side of a freaking mountain.
Once again you find yourself thinking, “this golf hole should not exist!”
And then you hit your 170 yard shot and think “…but I sure am glad it does.”
While the hole looks daunting, if you can get your distance close, it’s not as bad as it looks.
The hill will kick balls back down to the green, so even slightly errant shots still have a chance.
Related: Thinking of planning a trip to Cabo to play Quivira? Check out our full Pueblo Bonito review. This is where you’ll stay if you want to get on the course.
The Rest of the Front 9: Still Good
These days I don’t usually do a hole-by-hole synopsis of a golf course.
But as I’m writing this, there’s just so much to share.
The course is full of memorable moments, and if you’re considering a visit, I want you to know just how excited you should be for your round.
7 brings you back down to Earth a bit.
Well, ok not really, as the par 4 keeps you climbing and is the highest point so far on the course.
It’s a more straightforward par 4, but is a great example of how course knowledge goes a long way.
Any balls hit onto the slope right of the green will roll back down leaving you a great chance at birdie.
8 is another great par 4 that forces you to make a decision off the tee.
Do you drive straight over the left waste area to give yourself the shortest approach possible, or do you play it safe out to the right? You’ll have a longer approach, but there’s less danger to contend with.
After your second comfort round experience, you’ll play 9 which is a par 3 with a dangerous fall off left. I hit it left center of the green and watched it tumble all the way back down to the rough off the green.
The Back 9 at Quivira
Heading into the back 9 at Quivira I didn’t exactly know what to expect. Since the only holes I’d really heard about were 5 and 6, I didn’t know if I should expect more of the same on the back?
Fortunately, there are multiple surprises in store for you.
Despite 12 being the par 5 showpiece of the course, at least 3 golfers I talked to said the 10th was their favorite par 5.
It was the hole that reminded me the most of the neighboring Dunes Course at Diamante. Your tee shot has you hitting directly towards a giant sand dune that then runs down the entirety of the left-hand side of the hole.
You can choose how aggressive you want to be off the tee. If you take a chance and aim farther right with more bunkering to clear, you’ll be rewarded with some extra roll and a legit chance to land the green in 2.
Usually for safety reasons, unlike many Golden Age courses, you won’t see too many blind shots on newer golf courses.
Especially not a resort course.
But at Quivira there are a handful of them, that you’re either going to love or hate.
The tee shot at 11, while beautiful, might be the only shot on the course I didn’t love.
It’s a blind shot to a split fairway, and if you’ve never played it before you’ll find yourself saying “I have no idea where to hit this ball.”
After my tee shot on my first round, I said “well if that’s not in play, this is a horrendous golf hole.”
Fortunately, it was right in the center of the fairway.
Then we get to 12. How no one had prepared me for this hole is beyond me.
It’s a giant S shaped par 5, that winds its way down the hill towards the ocean.
It’s unlike any hole I’ve ever played, and it’s very much a love it or hate it hole.
I got Instagram DMs from a couple well-known golf writers who called it “all world.”
In my group was another seasoned golf writer who thought it was the worst hole on the course.
Personally? I think he was drunk. It’s a phenomenal golf hole.
13 is a cliffside par 3, that gives you your best chance at Quivira to make an ace.
14 is an example of a blind tee shot that I do like.
A very short par 4 that is drivable. However, to do so, you need to go directly over a sand dune and hope your aim is correct.
If you’re not feeling that gutsy, a long iron straight away will give you a perfect view and a wedge in.
At Quivira no two holes are the same.
When you play more traditional courses, often you’ll find holes blending together.
After even one round here, I could vividly recall and each and every golf hole – and to me that’s one of the hallmarks of a good golf course.
The round finishes up with a ridiculous downhill tee shot on 16.
Followed by 17 which is a hole in flux. It used to be a par 4, that is currently playing as a par 3 while construction finishes up some housing in the area. I’m not entirely sure what it’s final incarnation will look like.
18 is a nice par 4 that plays directly towards the ocean.
I often talk about my love of “adventure” golf. Or non-traditional golf courses that can feature a lot of significant elevation change, and wild golf holes.
I think that’s the best way to sum up Quivira Golf Club: It’s an adventure.
And one I would gladly play anytime I was given the opportunity.
Comfort Stations at Quivira
I’ve mentioned the “comfort stations” at Quivira throughout this post.
And if you’ve never played golf in Cabo, you may be wondering: “what exactly is a comfort station?”
Essentially it’s a mini restaurant or snack shack that’s located at various spots throughout the course.
In the case of Quivira, there are 3: after holes 4, 8, and 15.
Everything in these comfort stations is included in the cost of your round, and each has it’s specialties.
While I was there, the first station had unbelievable brisket sandwiches while the 2nd one featured tacos and sliders.
On top of your typical beers, sodas, and cocktails – they each had their own signature drink as well.
For instance, one had a mai tai, while another had margaritas.
But if you wanted a gin and tonic, bloody mary, or shot of Patron? They’ve got you covered.
This truly adds to the over-the-top experience, although at times this can be to the detriment of pace of play. Expect a 5 hour round when you play Quivira.
The good news is you’ll probably be eating and drinking for 30 minutes of this 🙂
Final Thoughts on Quivira Golf Course
I had a feeling I was going to like Quivira. If you know me, you know I like “fun” golf. If some things are a little over the top or goofy? It just adds to the experience for me.
But I wasn’t prepared for just how much I’d like Quivira.
Or frankly, just how good of a course it would be.
Yeah there’s some stuff that will make the architecture geek cringe, but there’s also a lot of elements to the course that will make them say “wow, that is a really well-designed golf hole.”
I’ve had a week since my visit to sit and reflect on the course, and honestly, all I can think about is how much I’d like a return visit.
As with many of the top-ranked Los Cabos courses, a round there isn’t cheap at just under $400. Not to mention the fact, you’ll need to stay at a Pueblo Bonito resort to even get access.
But for vacation golf with all your food and drinks included, and some of the most memorable golf holes you’ll ever play?
I’ve seen many worse values in golf.
So to sum it all up? I’m a fan. A big fan.
Quivira features so much of what I love in golf, that it becomes easy to overlook the fact it’s the least walkable course I’ve ever played, and has a high price tag to go along with it.
Because despite those things, this is one golf course that I’ll be talking about for many months to come.