‘At Querencia I feel we never compromised on creating the best possible course on a very unique and special piece of land.’ Tom Fazio
Querencia is a private golf and housing estate built in hills that overlook the coastline on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. Full of rocky canyons and distant views of the Cortez Sea, the Tom Fazio designed golf course is different to the others along the coast as its dramatic topography and native desert vegetation of flowering bushes, tropical plants and cacti, rather than scenic beach views, provide most of the aesthetic attraction.
Limited play and a mandatory cart policy meant that getting between holes at Querencia would not be an issue and allowed Fazio to concentrate on producing as many thrills as possible irrespective of any routing problems they caused. Searching the enormous property for the best pieces of land, he routed most holes atop or through a series of impressive valleys and deep rocky ravines, the outrageously dramatic landscape proving the perfect foil for Fazio’s natural artistic flair.
There are a number of quality moments throughout the round including the half horseshoe 4th hole that plays along a ridge above a massive valley and follows the landform all the way to a green perched atop a perilous ledge. The plunging and rising 5th hole and narrow short 7th, its target located on the brink of a deep craggy arroyo, are both good holes as is the short 8th which heads across the same arroyo to a slightly over-shaped but attractive green site. Although the front nine shades the back, the standout hole is probably the 200-yard 11th which drops into a canyon and comes complete with stunning outlooks over the hills in all directions.
Despite Fazio’s design philosophy and hazard placement being more artistic than strategic, the course is tougher than one may expect, especially on wayward drivers as the vegetation off the cut grass is very thick. Many of the tees are steeply elevated and look down upon the boldly contoured fairways adding both a visual excitement and intimidation factor to the tee shots. Some of the greens are a touch overdone and the odd extreme moment, like the last third of the 9th and the anti-strategic short par four 17th, keep the course off the top rung but this is an enjoyable desert experience nonetheless.
While the heavily developed Los Cabos area has become a golfing hotspot in recent years, most of the golf along the coast is compromised because holes and homes invariably end up fighting for prime seaside land. Although Querencia does have nice views of the distant sea, its setting is not a distraction nor are the holes compromised by beach proximity or housing plots. Whether you like Fazio and his cookie-cutter approach to golf course design or not he deserves credit for extracting dramatic golf holes out of a pretty harsh environment. His fans will no doubt love Querencia but the true mark of its quality is that even his harshest critics are bound to find enough here to admire.
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