Legendary names such as Jack Nicholas, Greg Norman, P.B. Dye, Robert Trent Jones Jr., and Tomas Lehman have designed golf courses in Cancun. The vibrant allure of tropical jungles paired with breathtaking views of the Mexican Caribbean here is welcoming for those who own a single-digit handicap or are in need some of fine-tuning at the local golf academy.
What to Expect
When taking a Riviera Maya golf trip, you need to learn how to dance with nature here, as persistent winds will actively influence your shots. The short tree lines in the Riviera Maya leave all high balls at the mercy of the elements. To play golf here, strategy, not just strength, is the key. Those envisioning aggressive, long shots might need a rethink. The fairways, though beckoning, are flanked by dense jungles ready to claim any stray ball. So, precision over power should be your mantra.
At many of the finer golf resorts, this lavish treatment has no hidden costs with course fees being all-inclusive. Expect a touch of luxury with English-speaking staff at your beck and call, ready to cater to your needs. Golf carts usually come as part of the package along with an array of snacks and sandwiches. Rental clubs include top-tier brands such as Taylor Made, Titleist, and Callaway.
Although a few last-minute slots might be available, it’s best to lock in your tee time well in advance. Ma golf course in the Riviera Maya has twilight rates that typically start after 2-3 p.m.
Dress smart. While they might be lenient about shoes, collared shirts are non-negotiable. While the pro shops are decently stocked, there’s a premium to be paid, so be sure to pack your trusty golf glove and your favorite golf balls.
PGA Riviera Maya
Attached to the Bahia Principe resort are sprawling 220 acres of dense jungle foliage that seamlessly provides top-tier golfing amidst natural splendor. An affiliate partner of the PGA of America, the Riviera Maya Golf Club is a testament to the genius of its designer, Robert Trent Jones Jr.
The shimmering Pastpalum Platinum green fairways, the tranquil lakes, and the mystique of the ancient cenotes, all intricately woven into the course layout, provide an unparalleled golf experience. The club extends two playing terrains that have earned accolades on a global scale. Proclaiming it as one of the finest, if not the absolute best course along the coast, would not be an exaggeration.
The club sits comfortably close to Akumal, Soliman Bay, and Tankah Bay. For the early birds, the gates open at 7:00 a.m., and twilight golf starts after 1:00 p.m.
This majestic 18-hole, par 72 is for those seeking a full-fledged golfing spree. The total yards from the tees range from 5259 (red) and 6006 (white) to 6691 (blue) and 7272 (black).
For the brave-hearted seeking a challenge, the second hole awaits. Brace yourself to tackle the winds as you navigate this uphill 210-yard par 3. The picturesque 15th, an extended par 3, stretching from 190 to 245 yards, is a sight to behold. Commencing from the tiered tees and culminating across a vast lake to an expansive green, it’s a test of precision and grit. Brace yourself for the subsequent challenge of conquering the water in a single stroke, and a potentially long putt.
The shorter 1,356-yard course is a 9-hole, par 27. All nine are par threes that are as short as 80 yards and as long as 196 yards. It makes a perfect round for high handicappers or anyone seeking a swift practice round.
Green fees envelope an expansive range of amenities beyond the greens at the Maya Riviera Golf Club that include the liberty to hone your skills at their practice range. As you traverse the course, drink carts laden with refreshments ensure you’re well-hydrated. Then there’s the grandeur of the Riviera Maya clubhouse, a sprawling 86,000 square feet of premium facilities. From rejuvenating at the spa, sweating it out at the gym, playing a set or two at the tennis courts, to lounging by the pool, it’s luxury redefined. There is also an exquisite restaurant and a well-equipped pro shop.
Iberostar Playa Paraiso
A P.B. Dye designed delight and one of his most illustrious creations that comes with all-encompassing amenities and an affordable price tag. The club has hosted esteemed events like the Canadian and is a qualifying round for the PGA TOUR event, and GolfWeek Magazine ranked it among the 20 Best Golf Courses in the Caribbean and Mexico.
Elegantly etched out of the Yucatan’s age-old jungle, the Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf Club is a mesmerizing blend of nature and challenge. It assimilates nature’s wonders like intricate rock structures and the enigmatic freshwater “cenotes”. These elements, paired with its distinct hazards, varied elevations, and myriad shot opportunities from tee to green.
Geographically, it’s nestled in Playa Paraíso, a tad north of Playa del Carmen and just a 20-minute ride away from Cancun International Airport. The course opens for early birds at 6:30 a.m. while twilight slots start at 2 p.m. during the high season and after 3 p.m. in the low season. Green fees include your golf cart, edibles and beverages (before, amid, or post-round), and a keepsake yardage book.
Stretching over an impressive 6,800 yards, this 18-hole, par 72 gem is adorned with Dye’s signature “DYEabolical” layout. Golfers get to navigate through slender fairways, profound bunkers, significant vertical shifts, and notably wavy greens. For a heartening play, the par-fives are your best bet. Meanwhile, the par-fours are your ally in honing those tee shots, be they short or medium.
Puerto Aventuras Golf Course
An underrated splendor and Tomas Lehman’s landscape tribute to the Riviera Maya where he attempted to encapsulate the unparalleled beauty of Riviera Maya. This captivating 9-hole, par 36 course incorporates the Yucatan jungle, elegantly placed palm trees, vibrant bougainvilleas, and enigmatic cenotes.
Given its slightly veiled existence, the Puerto Aventuras Golf and Racquet Club serves as an excellent ground for practice and leisurely shots. Greens and bunkers are paired with two unique two pins per hole, so you can get an 18-hole experience in a 9-hole course.
Its faster play makes it a go-to for many in the Riviera Maya, but the amenities here are not on par with its rivals, nor is there a practice range. It’s affordability a convenient location of being just 20 minutes south of Playa del Carmen are its main selling points. Gates open every day from 7:30 a.m. until sunset.
Pok Ta Pok
Crafted by the esteemed Robert Trent Jones, Jr., this 18-hole, par 72 championship golf course beautifully is set between the Nichupte Lagoon and the bustling heart of the Cancun Hotel Zone. It is a tribute to the Ancient Mayan ballgame, “Pok-Ta-Pok” which was employed as a peaceful means to resolve conflicts and even determined the fates of entire cities.
Despite being an older entrant amidst the newer golf landscapes in Riviera Maya, its layout caters to both novice and seasoned golfers. Lagoons and turquoise Caribbean Sea views can be be found on the greens of the Cancun Golf Club at Pok Ta Pok.
The course boasts a driving range, duo practice putting greens, a well-equipped pro shop, and a restaurant/bar with panoramic vierws of the Nichupte Lagoon.