An interview with Los Cabos golf pro Eric Grindereng
by Chris Sands
Los Cabos is justifiably proud of its golf courses. Not only does the area boast three courses that have been ranked among the world’s 100 best – Palmilla, Diamante Dunes, and Cabo del Sol Ocean – there are more high-profile links slated for the coming years. Tiger Woods has recently signed on to design the second course at Diamante, and will join Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Greg Norman, Tom Weiskopf, and Davis Love III as major champions who have crafted first-class layouts in Baja California Sur.
But despite all the big name designers and splashy seaside courses, one of Los Cabos most enjoyable loops is one of its oldest and least appreciated. Often attributed to Pete Dye, the Cabo San Lucas Country Club was actually designed by his brother Roy, and features a beautiful background of palo blanco trees, bougainvillea, and Land’s End views. For some inside knowledge on the underrated course, Baja. com talked to Eric Grindereng, Director of Golf at Cabo San Lucas Country Club.
Q: What are the strengths of the course, both for the low as well as high handicappers?
With five sets of tees to choose from, Cabo San Lucas Country Club can test the mettle of golfers of all abilities. From the back tees, 7220 yards, low handicappers will be forced to hit many middle and long irons into some very small, undulated and well guarded greens. Those choosing to play from the middle or forward tees will also be challenged with more than 80 bunkers sprinkled throughout the course and water coming into play on 10 holes.
Q: If you were to make an argument that your course is the best in Los Cabos, what would be your reasons?
I would not say Cabo San Lucas Country Club is the best golf course in Los Cabos. We have ten highly rated championship golf courses in the area. However, I would argue that CSLCC is the best value and the most accessible to those staying in Cabo San Lucas or passing through on a cruise liner.
Q: In what ways is the natural setting integrated into the course?
Framed by a desert landscape, mountains and crystal blue sky, Cabo San Lucas Country Club is literally carved from its surrounding terrain. The Bermuda grass fairways and greens are beautifully juxtaposed against the rugged collections of Palo Blanco trees and colorful Bougainvilleas, all framed by breathtaking vistas of the Sea of Cortez and Land’s End. Very little dirt was needed to be moved to contour the course as it naturally slopes from the mountains towards the sea.
Q: What is the signature hole on the course and why?
Though there are many to choose from, hole thirteen in my mind is the signature hole. A par 5 measuring only 539 yards from the back tee, it plays downhill with a dog-leg to the right and has a beautiful vista of the Sea of Cortez as its backdrop. Furthermore, there is a three tiered lake with two gently cascading waterfalls that comes into play all down the right side of the hole up past the green. For the discerning player, this is a very risk – reward hole. For the rest of us it’s a perfect Kodak moment.
Q: What do you consider the most challenging hole on the course?
Again, there are several I could consider. From the back tees I would have to say hole eleven is one of the most difficult. It is a par 3 measuring 205 yards and plays into a prevailing head wind with all carry over a lake into a very shallow green that drops off considerably at the back. For the resort player, hole seven is very challenging. It’s a very long par 5 with water that comes into play from 200 yards in all the way to the green which is well guarded with a bunker in front and water on the right.
Q: If you were to compare your course to a famous layout elsewhere in the world, what would it be? Or, if you believe your course to be incomparable, why?
I think just in general the courses in Los Cabos are unique because of the region. I can’t think of another place in the world where the desert literally descends down into the ocean.
Q: Why is Los Cabos such a great golfing destination?
Los Cabos is a great golfing destination for many reasons. First and foremost is because of the quality and beauty of the golf courses paired with the fact you could play a different course every day of the week. Secondly, Los Cabos has so much to offer as a destination. There are activities for everybody, golfers and non golfers alike.
Q: What is the best amenity your course offers, either before, during, or after rounds?
We are known for having the “Best Burger in Town” according to the locals. And you can get this burger when you purchase our very popular “lunch card” which includes any three beverages of your choice (alcoholic beverages included) and any one menu item from our grille. The lunch card can be used before, during or after your round.
Q: What is the course record?
From the back tees, it’s said the course record is a stubborn one under par 71. I have been the pro for ten years and no one has ever disputed that number.
Q: Please tell our Baja.com readers a bit about yourself, your experience, and why being the pro at the Cabo San Lucas Country Club is such a great job.
I moved to Cabo with my two children back in 2002. I was working for Intrawest Golf Management at a club in Phoenix when I transferred with the company after they were contracted to manage Cabo San Lucas Country Club. I stayed on with the club ownership after Intrawest Golf’s contract ended in 2005. Having grown up in Venezuela myself, I thought it would be a great opportunity for my children to experience a different culture and language as I had. We all have gained a great deal from the experiences we have been able to enjoy while being here.
I have enjoyed my time at Cabo San Lucas Country Club and have met as well as worked with some wonderful people. The challenges I have faced over the years has allowed me to grow professionally and I am thankful for the opportunities I have been given.
Photos courtesy of Cabo San Lucas Country Club. For more information about the club, call (624) 143-4654.
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