Costa Baja Golf Course Comes Back To Life

I like my golf courses green
BY: HANNAH GORSKI

Costa Baja Resort and Spa is a large development just north of La Paz. Owned by a rich guy in Mexico City, they mostly market to folks from Mexico City. It’s a combination of hotel, marina, restaurants, and full ownership residences. But it’s suffered over the years, struggling to keep it lively with people.

Troon Golf Company was running the golf course for $250,000 a year, sucking it dry of any money coming in. So, at the end of that contract, Troon was sent packing and the water was shut off.

But  now the water is back!

A group led by Ascendancy Management, a wealth management group focusing on real estate, picked up the resort and set about recovering and updating the golf course.

The course, built in 2009, is a Gary Player Design. The South African was big on the tour in the 1960s and 1970s, even winning the PGA Championship and the Masters Tournament. Since the 1980s, Gary Player brands have engineered over 400 projects, including marketing and real estate designs, in 38 countries. Costa Baja has the only Gary Player Design in Baja.

Restoration on the golf course began in July. The plan was to have the course reopen under recovering conditions in time for high season. The greens were in good shape, but the rest of the course had issues. Thatch! An organic material that builds up under the grass, posed the biggest challenge. A half-inch of thatch is normal. Costa Baja had four inches. The greens keepers began the tedious task of aeration, which is poking holes in the grass to let air in. Bits of plugs that came out of the ground during the aeration process covered the course for a few months as workers aerated the course again and again.

After months of hard work, play reopened in November, even though there were still some ugly patches. Hole 13 was so bad that it closed for a week so workers could restructure the hole into a shorter distance, a par 3, putting the 100 yards closest to the green off limits so it could rest and recuperate. Although the course is still recovering, there is plenty of interest from players and tournament organizers.

Costa Baja believes 25 rounds of golf a day is the perfect number that allows the grass to recover but still allow players to use it.  Costa Baja expects the recuperation process to be 90 percent complete as you read this. On June 15, The Amateur Tournament, sponsored by Sura Investments and organized by Golfing Mexico, will be held. The event at Costa Baja is just one of the 15 stages of competition, and play will occur on both Saturday and Sunday.

The grass is expected to recover from the trample of the tournament and be 100 percent by August.

Plans are in the works for Gary Player to revisit us to recreate one of the holes in a location not considered in the original design, so keep an eye out for the new fairway.

And for those who need some inspiration or rest during their round, a panoramic halfway house will be constructed at the intersection of hole seven and hole 14. Golfers will be able to take a break from play to refresh and enjoy the incredible views of the hills and the Sea of Cortez.

After a year of challenges, the updated golf course will enter its 10th year looking better than ever. The unique geography of the area with the stunning views of the gulf, along with a marina that hosts large yachts, makes for a great game of golf.