Review & Rating of Moon Palace Spa & Golf Club's Jungle Course in Cancun, Mexico
Located just 10 minutes from Cancun International Airport, Moon Palace Cancun (a huge all-inclusive resort loaded with restaurants and amenities) is home to the first Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course in the Mexican Caribbean. Jack designed three very different nine-hole layouts that provide a unique golf experience that is both challenging and enjoyable for all levels of play and as Jack states “most of all, it’s memorable.”
Jack created the Dunes, Lakes, and Jungle nine hole courses comprising 10,798 yards that harmonize with the tropical lushness of native jungle vegetation, mangroves, and natural wetlands. You’re likely to encounter lots of wildlife including tucan, grey fox, iguanas, anteaters, marsh crocodiles, margay (small wild cat), and the infamous coati, a cute mammal that looks like a cross between a raccoon, a lemur, and an anteater. Make sure you hide any food or valuables you take on the course because these cute little mammals will clean you out before you get to the green. They like beer, too!
Part of what makes playing golf at Moon Palace Cancun fun is that each of the three nines is different, unique, and has a personality of its own. For example:
- The Dunes nine is shorter from the tips but longer from the other 4 tee boxes and it’s considered to be the hardest of the nines thanks to water on 8 holes (either off the tee or in play near the greens), strategically placed bunkers that pinch the landing areas and put a premium on approach shots, and of course the jungle that will devour your stray golf shots. Read our review of the Dunes Course which we rated 9.8 out of 10!
- The Jungle as the name implies is 3603 yards long from the tips and it plays through dense jungle that lines both sides of the fairway (typically creating fairly narrow corridors) plus water on 7 holes and 38 bunkers – all of which makes this nine very interesting and fun to play.
- The least difficult and probably the most enjoyable for the higher handicappers is the Lakes nine. The jungle and not much rough make this nine a little tight and the water on 4 holes and 33 bunkers force you to focus.
Moon Palace Resorts is a pioneer of the all-inclusive concept and their all-inclusive golf package includes: green fees, food and beverage in the grill as well as from the beverage cart, practice golf balls, and more. Stay 3 nights or longer and play unlimited golf at Moon Palace Spa & Golf Course and Riviera Cancun!
Jack did an excellent job of leveraging the native wetlands and lush Mayan jungle when he created the Jungle course's nine holes. This nine, as the name implies, bears the brunt of the treacherous and very dense jungle growth that lines both sides of the fairways and is ready to swallow up even slightly errant shots. In addition to the jungle, you'll have to contend with wetlands, 34 strategically placed bunkers, water on 7 holes, 3 huge natural waste/sand bunkers, well-guarded greens, But don't let that stop you from playing Moon Place's Jungle Course – there are 5 sets of tee boxes to choose from (on your first round move up a tee box), the fairways are ample, and there are no hidden gotchas!
All of the Jungle's golf holes are great but the ones we really loved included:
- #4 is fun – a 521-yard par 5 (#2 handicap) with a risk risk-reward off the back tees to try and carry more of the lake and natural waste area fronting the fairway followed by a another large waste bunker starting at 110 yards out from the green on the left and one more bunker on the right pinching the fairway leading to the green which is set off to the left side
- both of the par 3s (194 yards and 226 yards) are challenging thanks to a lake that comes into play and greens guarded by 2 bunkers on one and 3 bunkers surrounding the other green
- #9 is an excellent finishing hole and if you birdie this one you should have everyone buy you a beer – 565 yards with water off the tee on the right, 5 nasty bunkers, a lake covering the left side from 175 yards out, and a fairway that goes left, then right, and left again
The greens on the Jungle course were excellent – in very good condition, soft and held the ball well, ran true and at a great speed of 9.5 or so. They seemed to be a little larger and have much more contour than the Dunes' greens. All are well guarded by jungle, water, and/or two to three bunkers – putting a premium on your approach shots.
The Moon Palace Spa & Golf Club Jungle fairways were also in excellent condition and ranged from ample to a little tight. You need some precise shots to avoid the jungle lining both sides, the 7 lakes, 38 strategically placed bunkers, and 3 large natural waste/sand bunkers. Miss the playable rough and you can kiss your golf ball goodbye.
The bunkers were in pretty good shape but some were a little wet. The sand was soft and thick and the lips were steep but manageable. They ranged in size from small ovals to some long multi-fingered monsters!
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The facilities are superb and include: a luxury spa, a good restaurant, a well-stocked pro shop, and excellent practice facilities. Service is outstanding.