VIDANTA Take a Swing at the New Greg Norman Course

About Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

VIDANTA Take a Swing at the New Greg Norman Course

There's been a recent shark siting at Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta. The new Greg Norman Signature Golf Course meanders along the banks of the mighty Ameca River with vistas of the Sierra Madre Mountains from every fairway. 

I recently enjoyed a round on the front nine with Tom Stickney, Director of the Vidanta Golf Academies and Sales and Marketing. Stickney, named a “top 100 instructor by Golf Magazine,” proved to be a terrific role model as he parred or birdied almost every hole. 

But you don’t have to be a scratch swinger to have fun and score well on the new Norman Course. Chose from four different tee options. You will also have the advantage of a forecaddie (mandatory) who offers target advice, rakes bunkers, repairs divots and helps you line up your putts. 

Mr. Norman designed his tract as a resort-friendly course that achieves that fine balance between challenge and enjoyment. His generous fairways getter tighter and trickier nearer the greens, often protected, in typical Norman style, by cavernous bunkers. Along the way, you will spot lovely birds, iguanas and maybe a croc or two. 

Your round starts with a ride across the world’s largest golf cart suspension bridge spanning the Ameca River from Nayarit to Jalisco States. Hole number one is a relatively gentle handshake to your game. But avoid the huge Guanacastle tree on the right side of the fairway as it can block your second shot. Number three is a 180-yard par-three requiring a carry over a pond. If you suffer from hydrophobia (as I do), tuck an extra Titleist in your pocket. The par-four sixth epitomizes risk/reward strategy. You can hit straight towards two bunkers at the end of the fairway and then a short iron onto the green, or, let it rip toward the palm trees at the corner of the lake and pitch onto the green for a birdie opportunity. Don’t forget to factor in the wind. The ninth is a strong par-five.

Currently only nine holes are complete on the Norman Course; the back nine should be ready by summer 2016, extending the par-72 tract to 7,235 yards. At the turn, players will be greeted with chilled scented towels and icy coconut water with an optional splash of liquor. 

Stickney tells me that there are more grand plans for Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta. Currently the facility has the original Jack Nicklaus 18-hole course that Stickney says is for the “average” golfer. He recommends the Norman Course for the “avid” player and another new course (designer still to be determined) will be for the “alpha” swinger. A 12-hole, par-three executive course with night lighting is also in the works. As well, the Cirque du Soleil is contracted to create three “Disney-like theme parks.” 

Should you decide it’s time to hone your game, Stickney and his team offer several lesson packages at the Vidanta Jack Nicklaus Academy of Golf beside the driving range. They use state-of-the-art digital video analysis and training methods, plus a putter lab. 

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, grab a bite and beverage at the Gastro & Golf food truck next to the Academy.

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