BEST SEASIDE COURSE
The Pacifico Golf Course in Punta Mita is outstanding mainly because it has eight holes that are adjacent to or facing the ocean. But its inland holes, which feature views of the Sierra Madre Mountains, will resonate with fans of Jack Nicklaus’ challenging designs.
BEST JUNGLE COURSE
The Weiskopf Course at Vista Vallarta looks like it was hacked from the jungle by machete—a whole lot of them. It’s similar to the Nicklaus Course on the same property, but Weiskopf’s design gets the nod because its manageable green complexes make it more fun to play.
Litibu Golf Club, a Greg Norman creation that transitions from a links course to a jungle layout, can be played for a comparatively low green fee of $100.
A crocodile sanctuary is just upriver from the Marina Vallarta Golf Club, and no one told the crocs they couldn’t visit the golf course. How bad do you want that golf ball you just dunked?
The Tail of the Whale at Pacifico is one of the most memorable holes in the world, but if you like something a little more traditional, not to be overlooked is the 571-yard 18th at Punta Mita’s Bahia course. It plays down to a spot near the El Faro surf break. Take some guilty pleasure in watching surfers eat it.
The new Greg Norman course at Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta is accessed via a one-lane golf-cart suspension bridge high over the Ameca River. Note: Only nine holes are open because of damage from Hurricane Patricia in the fall.
The 621-yard 18th at El Tigre Golf & Country Club leaves almost no margin for error down the left side, thanks to a massive water hazard.
Flamingos Golf Club offers complimentary transportation back to main Puerto Vallarta hotels.