GRADE “A” ARCHITECTURE
Much publicity, quite rightly, surrounding the recently opened Danzante Bay Golf Club in Loreto, Mexico is centered on the majestic but equally treacherous par-3 17th. The hole commences from an elevated tee and provides a mesmerizing panorama with the Sea of Cortez spectacularly dominating the backdrop. It’s an amazing site indeed.
While the 17th is certainly a major thrill and shotmaking challenge — there’s another hole that may not have the pictorial pizzazz but has even more sizzle and demands.
The par-3 3rd was among the final holes seven holes finished by architect Rees Jones before the course had its grand opening earlier this month. The hole is reminiscent of the design elements found at the world renown 16th hole at Cypress Point in California. The 3rd is shaped like an upside down letter “L”. Tee boxes are staggered and it pays to know precisely one’s skill set because the 3rd is like the shark in “Jaws,” — you’ll be swallowed whole for the slightest mistake made.
The hole is framed in a box canyon and the putting surface is slightly higher in elevation than the teeing grounds so pulling the right club is an absolute must. The wind pattern can swirl so what you are feeling at the teeing areas and what is happening in and around the green can be vastly different so a solid strike is crucial.
Between the tee and green is a massive drop-off to no man’s land. Anything hit short is forever doomed.
But, fortunately, there is a bailout area to the left and if any player has doubts it’s best to avail oneself to ensure no more than four is scored.
The green provides sufficient width — 25 yards — and length – 40 yards. There’s also a spine separating the left and right hand sides. Those bailing out to the left will have to judge well regarding the amount of break that’s involved — whether chipping or putting.
The scariest situation is encountering a “blue flag” which means the pin position will be in the far right corner. From the tips the listed yardage of 208 is not indicative of the additional carry one needs to make to ensure a safe landing.
When you stand on the green and look back towards the tee you see a tremendous vista with the hotel in the distance and Danzante Bay immediately behind it.
The 3rd at Danzante Bay will likely remain in the shadows of the more celebrated 17th, but in terms of overall demands the 3rd takes no back seat whatsoever. The hole and will leave an indelible impression and possibly a lesser weighted bag as a few balls are sacrificed when encountering its rigorous demands. Those fortunate souls who do make par will treasure the score long after the round concludes.
Photos courtesy of Joann Dost.