The Bahia Course at Punta Mita is the younger of the two layouts and Nicklaus was challenged to fit a different looking and playing layout onto the property working this time in the constraints of housing and the existing Pacifico Course. Here he built a more more demanding layout, with green belt areas lining the coast line, deeper more penal bunkers, and decidedly more undulating treacherous greens.
While the wide fairways of the Bahia Course fit the resort play model, they are rumpled in style spilling in every direction and thus require any number of uneven stances. The same applies to the green areas that are quick, firm, and treacherous. This layout is far too much for the casual or novice player as the openings for approach shots are quite restricted and the putting surfaces with false fronts and collection areas are apt to repel balls more than anything else – reflecting a championship test as opposed to the resort style that most of its clientele would expect. Nonetheless, the Bahia Course features many gorgeous views and ample room to hit your tee ball.
Nowhere will you find these “busy” greens more challenging than on the par-five holes. For example, I hit a rare second shot right at the flag on one, and we all expected that I would be within ten feet for an eagle opportunity. My direction was off by literally inches and I had to struggle just to make a bogey as the shot was caught a sharp slope and fed into a deep collection area. The slopes were so severe that fellow golfers would hit shot after shot short only to have the ball return to their feet. This is too severe for the clientele who typically who do not possess any local knowledge.
Actually the course does have character, and if you are to play it many times, it may actually become your preferred of the two because it is so mentally engaging and exacting. Both Punta Mita courses can play over 7,000 yards, but trust me, the Bahia Course is several shots harder! Most of all, the Bahia Course requires a strategic approach learning how to use the slopes to your advantage.
The Bahia layout gives everyone a break off the tee, which presents a nice pause to enjoy the ocean views that populate the course. For me, the pictured 387-yard 17th that plays with the ocean to its entire left side is my favorite of many entertaining holes.
Fagan Course Rating – B. This is an excellent golf course that will endear itself more as one plays it often and learns its nuances. The problem is that the layout will not meet the playability of many customers will not enjoy that many opportunities to play it often, and will leave it tired and frustrated beyond making for a slower day of golf. If you want to be tested and love a challenge particularly on your approaches and putts, the Bahia Course is the one to play at Punta Mita.
Below is the par-3 third at Bahia.