The first time I played El Tigre in Nuevo Vallarta there was a tiger cub tethered to the bougainvillea bush near the driving range.
She’s not there anymore but a couple of fully grown Bengal tigers snooze in a cage just before the 17th. Today, I got to feed a baby jaguar his afternoon bottle. The kitten was roaming around the pro shop and trying to chew a pair of golf shoes on a mannequin. There’s never a full moment here at El Tigre. And apart from all the feline entertainment, there’s also a terrific golf course. Between Robert von Hagge’s brutal bunkering, an island green and wild cats, El Tigre is tough to tame but the kind of course you’d want to play again and again.
The tiger theme is thanks to Jesus Carmona, the dynamic director of golf here. Years ago he rescued an abandoned cub and nursed it back to health. Now he’s become the top “cat” man of the Riviera Nayarit. In his office there’s a photo of Jesus riding around in a golf cart with an adolescent cat sitting beside him, its front left leg draped casually over his shoulder. El Tigre is not the sort of golf experience you’ll likely forget.