GOLF / Golf Courses in Colonial Mexico / Meetings Alliance

Central, Mexico

Golf Courses in Colonial Mexico

While most visitors head to Mexico’s beach towns, central Mexico is full of great golf courses, fascinating colonial cities, noteworthy cuisine and all sorts of “19th hole” diversions.

Guadalajara, Mexico‘s second largest city and capital of the state of Jalisco, has several outstanding golf courses. With an altitude of 5,000 feet and some of the most perfect weather in the world, you can almost be guaranteed a sunny and dry round of golf.

This area is also birthplace to some of Mexico’s most famous traditions, including tequila, charreadas or Mexican rodeos, the Mexican hat dance and mariachi music.

The 6,763-yard El Cielo Country Club perches 6,500 feet above sea level. Cielo means heaven in Spanish and the course truly lives up to its name featuring grand vistas of Guadalajara and the Lake Chapala region, home to many American and Canadian ex-pats.

Playing this roller-coaster, designed by DeVictor-Langham, means that you will seldom have a flat lie and you will be thankful for the cart and caddy that come with your green fee. The 370-yard, par-four eighth hole, for example, plunges more than 150 feet from tees to landing area.

The scenery throughout the 18-hole, par-72 course is spectacular. El Cielo, located in the Reserva de la Primavera hills, is home to a variety of wildlife including hawks, deer, marmots and various reptiles. Bring lots of golf balls and your camera.

GOLF / Golf Courses in Colonial Mexico / Meetings Alliance

While most visitors head to Mexico’s beach towns, central Mexico is full of great golf courses, fascinating colonial cities, noteworthy cuisine and all sorts of “19th hole” diversions.

Located about an hour from Guadalajara, en route to the town of Tequila, the challenging El Rio Country Club, a Jack Nicklaus Signature course, takes maximum advantage of the region’s steep valleys and canyons.

More than 1,000 trees were planted to add definition to the fairways and unsightly electricity pylons were removed to enhance the aesthetic quality of the experience. The championship tees stretch to over 7,500 yards. Three of the par-fives are definite three-shot tests, including the 656-yard signature 18th. Two rivers and various streams run through the aptly named El Rio.

The Atlas County Club, a semi-private gem, was opened in 1969 and designed by Joe Finger. Home to two lakes on the seventh and 14th holes, the course provides a natural habitat for a large variety of flora and fauna.

Lying west of Mexico City and southeast of Guadalajara, the state of Michoacán is sometimes called “the soul of Mexico.” From mid November to late March, many visitors flock to an area outside of Michoacán‘s capital city of Morelia to witness the annual migration of the Monarch butterflies. Millions of these winged wonders congregate in highland forests.

Jack Nicklaus, who helped put Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta on the Mexican golfing map, has taken his design talents inland to the Tres Marias Golf Club located outside of Morelia, about a three-hour drive north of Mexico City.

Billed as the largest and most luxurious golf community in Latin America, Tres Marias Residential Golf Club is a city within a city and spans over 540 hectares.

In 2005, the Tres Marias Golf Club gained international recognition by hosting the prestigious LPGA Corona Championship. The women’s golf championship has since been held every year at Tres Marias during the second week of April. Mexican female golfer, Lorena Ochoa, who won the LPGA Championship in 2006, 2008 and 2009, has greatly contributed to the popularity of the Tres Marias Golf Club and the increase in golf enthusiasts in Mexico.

The Golden Bear’s twenty-seven-hole layout encompasses the 18-hole Nicklaus Signature El Reto course (meaning “challenge” in Spanish), plus the tamer nine-hole El Desafio course. The development got its name from a rock formation called Tres Marias that looms over the course. The rock is a spiritual symbol for the native Purepechan Indians dating back to pre-Hispanic times. Both courses are situated more than 6,000 feet above sea level, so your Titleist should fly further.

Lorena Ochoa, who was the top-ranked female golfer in the world, was born in Guadalajara. She is the first Mexican-born golfer to be honored in the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Après Golf Activities

EPICUREAN ADVENTURES. Taste & Travel offers tours to various regions in Mexico to learn about the gastronomic and cultural diversity of the country. The highlight of their tour of Guadalajara and Morelia includes boarding the Tequila Express train from Guadalajara to the Magic Town of Tequila to learn all about Mexico‘s national drink. In Morelia, Taste & Travel offers a cooking class with a local chef to discover and sample the unique flavors of Michoacán.

SHOPPING. Back in the 16th century, a bishop named Vasco de Quiroga, who was sent to the region from Spain, encouraged the native Tarascan Indians to develop specific handicrafts with the goal that each village would become self-sufficient and that the neighbouring Tarascan tribes would cooperate and trade with one another. The plan worked. Today in the towns surrounding Morelia, this artistic tradition thrives making the region a shopper’s bazaar. In Santa Clara del Cobre you can watch copper pots and pans being hammered into shape under intense heat. Uruapan specializes in lacquerware, Patzcuaro is known for its straw and pottery creations and guitars are still handcrafted in Paracho.

GO ARTSY. Colorful and powerful murals grace the walls of many of Guadalajara‘s public buildings. Beyond functioning as decoration, these murals depict the founding of modern Mexican identity. An artistic stroll through central Guadalajara will explain why some call it the “Florence of Mexico.”

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