Tiger Woods To Design Northern Baja Golf Course

David Simmonds

Tiger Woods, the best golfer ever, is getting into the golf course design business. Maybe this bad knee of his is worse than reported and he sees his playing days coming to a close. Many of golf’s greats have become designers, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Greg Norman being three of the biggest that come to mind. I remember about 15 years ago when Nicklaus had plans to build a new course just outside the small town of Tepoztlan, south of Mexico City. Tepoztlan is a very spiritual place with a long pre-Hispanic history and the birthplace of revoltionary hero Emiliano Zapata. Many local people still speak Nuhuatl and they didn’t like the idea of old Jack coming in and messing with their sacred land, even though the earth moving equipment was in place and ready to roll. Wisely, Jack pulled out and the course was never built, and had it been I doubt that it would still be there today. You don’t mess with the ancestors of Zapata.

So now Tiger wants to build a course and a multi-million dollar home development in Punta Banda, down on the peninsula south of Ensenada where the famous blow-hole is. I damn near drowned there one time during a winter storm when a rogue wave swept me off the rocks and sucked me out to see in dead winter when the water temp was about 58 degrees. It took me 1 1/2 hours of swimming against the current before a guy in a Zodiac miraculously came and pulled me out, surely saving my life. I couldn’t swim straight in because the huge waves and the rocks would have killed me for sure. So I know something about the area. And I tell you it is stunning just the way it is. A big green golf course is not what it needs and these plans need to be reconsidered.

I have adapted to the idea that from the border to Ensenada will all be built on one day, but south of there needs to be preserved. And now with the world economic crisis in the mix I’m not sure the timing is right anyway. This could easily be one the those relics that get half built when the money disappears for one reason or another, but the environmental damage would be done. I don’t imagine that Tiger’s own money is financing the project, but whoever it is must be savvy enough to know that Northern Baja has some security problems these days and with a few trillion dollars lost in the stock market crash, the demand may no longer be there for this millionaire’s-club retreat.

My advice to Tiger: go buy a Caribbean island closer to your Florida home and build whatever you want there. Leave Punta Banda as it is. Please.