El Tigre Golf Club Review & Rating in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico
Your El Tigre golfing experience begins as you pass through a stone archway resembling a Mayan temple and enter the gated Paradise Village residential community. The El Tigre design team of Robert Von Hagge, Rick Baril, and Michael Smelek were given a challenge to create the most exciting championship golf course in Mexico. And they created a masterpiece by taking a flat piece of land and turning it into a lush, tropical paradise with nine water features, lush and colorful landscaping, mounding, and contour which creates some interesting elevation changes.
Six years after it opened in 2002, El Tigre was listed as one of the Top 10 Best Golf Courses in Mexico by Golf Guide Magazine and Golf in Mexico Magazine. Golfweek rated El Tigre #49 in its Top 50 Golf Courses in Mexico and the Caribbean in 2014
El Tigre Golf Club is challenging (a slope of 69.2 to 74.5 and rating of 120 to 133) but there are five sets of tee boxes with yardages ranging from 5159 to 7239 yards which means you can find a yardage that fits your skill level. Don't bit off more than you can chew because during your round you'll need to avoid 156 bunkers, mounds, and water on 15 holes plus position your ball for the dog legs and an easier approach shot to the green.
Here are some of the holes that we really liked:
#5 is the #1 handicap hole and it's a fun 474-yard par 4 with a risk-reward shot from the back tees to carry the pond that runs tee to green and hit the fairway that takes a sharp dog leg left around a big bunker
#6 is a beautiful 171-yard par three with an island green with little room for error
#8 is a dog leg left with a minefield of 8 bunkers at the dog leg, 4 more on the right side of the elevated green plus one more bunker on the right and the back – plus a sharp drop off on the right side of the green
#18 is a fun 621-yard par 5 with water tee to green, a string of 4 bunkers on the right side where the fairway takes a left turn, and a green with a huge bunker that goes from the left side of the green to the back and then back up the right side of the green
The El Tigre Fairways were in great shape when we played and they have some contour, mounding, and minor elevation changes. Water, bunkers, and dog legs present some challenges you need to manage. The fairways are wide enough to ensure that some beautiful residences won't seem intrusive and that you'll have a hard time breaking a window or hearing a dog bark in the middle of your backswing. However, between #16 and #17, you might hear a Bengal tiger growl. El Tigre is part of a wildlife preservation and breeding program and when we played had one beautiful Bengal Tiger on the property.
The greens at El Tigre were also in very good condition but a little slow because of heavy rain from a recent hurricane prevented them from being cut and rolled. They ran true and held the ball well.
Bring your sand game when you play El Tigre – there are over 150 bunkers that range in size from small pot type bunkers to some huge monsters. Plus there are several sand waste bunkers which the staff labels beach bunkers.
We played El Tigre as part of a fun vacation to Mexico – read our Mexico Vacation Article to learn more about this fun vacation.
The 45,000 square foot El Tigre clubhouse has been labeled one of the most beautiful and best designed in Mexico. The practice facilities are good, the service is excellent, and the pro shop is well stocked. The golf carts have a great GPS system - very helpful!!
Weekend Cost Low: 120
Weekend Cost High: 205
Head Pro's Corner:
Yardage Black: 7239
Rating Black: 133
Slope Black: 74
Yardage Blue: 6236
Rating Blue: 121
Slope Blue: 69
Yardage White: 5727
Rating White: 116
Slope White: 67
Yardage Gold: 6607
Rating Gold: 128
Slope Gold: 71
Yardage Red: 5159
Rating Red: 120
Slope Red: 69
Course Designer / Architect: Robert Von Hagge & Rick Baril
Greens Type: Champion Bermuda
View the Scorecard: http://www.eltigregolf.com/scorecard.html