Works Starts on Nicklaus Design at San Felipe Marina Resort & Golf

The San Felipe Marina Resort & Golf Spa celebrated its ground-breaking for the Nicklaus Design golf course on March 16th. The bulldozers roared with the crowd at 1:00 p.m., as they pushed the first mound of dirt, for what is soon to be an 18-hole golf course.

The course is being built by Diamond Golf International, which is based in Puerto Vallarta. They are projecting a completion date of May 2007. The goal is to have one of the top-100 golf courses in the world and certainly one of the best courses in Mexico. The hopes for it to be equal to other Nicklaus courses, such as El Dorado, Palmilla, Cabo del Sol and Punta Mita (near Puerto Vallarta).

Ideal weather is one of the many reasons that attracted Jack Nicklaus, founder of Nicklaus Design, to Mexico a decade ago, and why Mexico is becoming one of the world's most sought-after golf destinations.

San Felipe overlooks the Sea of Cortez and the weather is enjoyable nearly year-round. The sleepy fishing village is nestled along the east coast of the Baja Peninsula, only two hours south of the U.S. border. Already, 7,000 Americans are living there on a part- or full-time basis.

Recently, the Concord Group completed its market study of San Felipe in January 2006. They reported that buyers are attracted to San Felipe for the following reasons: 1) value-driven vacationers and second-home buyers are looking for a home to rent out in the short term, with the plan to retire there later; 2) retirees are attracted by the warm climate and relative affordability of San Felipe; 3) investors are looking to "flip" their properties to make a quick profit.

In fact, the American Recreational Property Survey by the American Resort Developers Association estimates that approximately 17 percent of all households in the tri-state area of California, Nevada and Arizona will purchase a second home in the next 10 years. And the Mexican Government estimates that approximately 2,500 U.S. residents purchase a home on the Baja Peninsula each month. Thus, there is a potential annual demand for over 25,000 second and retirement homes on the Baja Peninsula over the next 10 years. As a result, the Concord Group is projecting that San Felipe will capture 6 percent of that demand, equivalent to a demand of approximately 1,500 new second homes per year through 2015.

Nicklaus Design currently has 13 courses open for play throughout Mexico, another 15 under construction or under design, and has at least six more prospects. BEST's Golf Guides to Mexico recently positioned Nicklaus Design as the dominant design firm in Mexico. The recognition came in conjunction with the magazine's 2006 list of the "Top 30 Courses in Mexico," where Nicklaus Design led the pace for the second year in a row by taking nine spots, four of which were in the top 10.

According to Tim Kenny, executive vice president for Nicklaus Design, at least half of those prospects and projects under development have a residential tie-in. "For us, this represents confirmation of our analysis of the Mexican market," Kenny added. "The movement now in Mexico is toward residential rather than resort. Typically, in an emerging market, golf begins with resort play. But the bulk of our new signings in Mexico begin with residential. It's interesting that this is the only country in the world, at least from what I see, that is similar to what has happened in the United States with residential and high-end golf communities."

In addition to the golf course, the San Felipe Marina Resort & Golf Spa will feature single-family homes and condominiums with views of the Sea of Cortez. Amenities include an existing hotel on the Sea of Cortez, with a restaurant, pool and tennis court plus a proposed luxury yacht marina with 350 slips. The golf course will be challenging, but accessible and playable for amateur golfers. Practice facilities will be set up to resemble an actual golf hole, so players can better visualize the golf experience awaiting them.

For more information about the San Felipe Marina Resort & Golf Spa, visit or call 866/341-0167.