San Jose Mercury News – Nayarit is nirvana for golfers, surfers
By Mark Conley
San Jose Mercury News
“If the tide pushes up, punch it,” said my seafaring golf guide, Arturo Castro, one early July day in Punta Mita, Mexico.
The statement could’ve just as easily been uttered a few miles down the coast at Castro’s favorite surf spot, La Lancha, while helping this visiting surfista negotiate the unfamiliar elements.
But at this moment the head pro was speaking of my golf cart, which was straddling an eight-foot wide cobblestone isthmus leading to the green of hole 3B at Punta Mita‘s Pacifico course — known as the world’s only island green carved from natural topography.
Like some of the surf spots I had already sampled on my first visit to Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, a 40-minute drive north of Puerto Vallarta, hole 3B was tantalizingly hazardous. A beauty that could quickly turn beastly.
And for me, now sitting in my nonamphibious Club Car, midisthmus, ocean creeping, it already had. My Titleist ball had been meekly donated to Poseidon and his warm, crystalline Pacific off the tee box. I had resigned myself to enjoying the spectacular scenery and just hitting another from the drop zone when we got to the green.
Sure enough, there came the tide. It was time to punch it.
There are myriad Southern Hemisphere destinations to indulge in surf-and-turf nirvana (Hawaii, for starters). But there may not be a more enjoyable combo locale than the largely untapped 190-mile stretch of coast that lines the Mexican state of Nayarit.
It is a comfortable, mellow-vibed land of uncluttered surf lineups and wide-open fairways, with amenities ranging from posh to funky and everything in between.
It begins with Punta Mita, a 10-year-old, 1,500-acre private community at the north end of Banderas Bay. Its gorgeous peninsula is surrounded by ocean on three sides, which made it a desirable home to the luxurious Four Seasons and recently opened St. Regis — and their accompanying Jack Nicklaus designed golf courses.
And while you’ve got to be a guest of one of the resorts (let’s say, um, not exactly recessionary challenged) to play the otherwise private courses, a good public option sits right up the road at Litibu Campo de Golf, a new Greg Norman course set to host a Canadian Tour tournament in October.
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