Nicklaus Returns to Riviera Maya – to Teach You!

The Golden Bear and yours truly at the grand opening of Nicklaus' Moon Palace Signature course several years ago.

I’ve written a lot over the past two years about why I think Mexico’s Mayan Riviera is such a great golf and tourism destination (click here, here, here, or here), and one of the top resorts there is the upscale all-inclusive Moon Palace (read more here), compete with a 27-hole Nicklaus Signature design that is one of the region’s best.

Ever since I first visited the Moon Palace for the course opening, they have unveiled one improvement after another, adding a third nine, deluxe golf course villas, and now, a Jack Nicklaus Academy of Golf, the first in the entire Caribbean basin. This is especially notable because while Mexico has lots of great golf resorts, it has very few destination academies for instruction, and what could be a better setting for mastering this crazy and infuriating game than in a place that dispenses free margaritas from sunrise until well after sunset?

The academy opens in two weeks, on August 15, 2011 and will be joined by a sibling academy at Palace Resort’s Playacar golf property, down the road in Playa del Carmen, the biggest city and beating heart of the Riviera Maya, in September. Both locations will offer state of the art facilities with Nicklaus Academies Analysis Software and high-speed video for capturing the swing, ball flight monitors, simulated indoor driving ranges, computerized putting lab, custom club and golf ball fitting protocols, plus of course, actual instruction.

There will be 13 different teaching programs tailored to single digit players and, hackers and newbies alike, including Welcome to Golf, Equipment Fitting Sessions, Couples Only Schools and Corporate Programs.

It gets better: until Christmas, all Palace Resorts properties are running a very aggressive special that adds a $1500 resort credit to vacation packages, and this credit can be applied towards the golf academy programs, lessons, and greens fees, and since all the food and booze is already included, there is not much else to spend it on besides the spa. Optionally, guests can forego the credit and instead choose to add unlimited golf to their stays. The travel business is hurting and this is a great incentive to head South of the border before December 23.

To book lessons or get more info, email the Golf Academy directly ( Otherwise visit the Moon Palace site or for general reservations or info on other Palace Resorts, visit the main website.

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