Golfing in San Felipe

San Felipe, Baja, Mexico

San Felipe Golf

A lot of people just can't understand golf. What's the attraction, they ask? Grown men and women strolling about the countryside like alarm clocks sounding off against a small white ball with their aerospace clappers. Certainly doesn't look like much exercise in it. And then these same people will turn around and play 120 holes of cribbage.

Many people don't consider a large population or a community a certifiable town or city until it can show them a golf course. Never mind what the census report says, unless there are 18 flagged holes with appropriate par-structured fairways between them, the place is nothing more than a whistle-stop. Well, San Felipe is about to put itself on the map and announce its golfilic pedigree with an 18 hole course under construction now at the El Dorado development, eight miles north of town.

The golf course rumor has been like a San Felipe ground hog for decades. Every once in a while it would surface, catch a glimpse of its own shadow then burrow underground(sand) again for a year or two. During the eternal rumor stage, some golf fan(attics) banded together and planted a handful of flags in the ground at Pete's Camp. For years this has been their course, replete with a unique collection of mesquite and ocotillo hazards as well as a sand trap that knows no boundary. It's all about to change.

Projected El Dorado Gold Course
Click to Enlarge

El Dorado has begun work on the first nine holes of a course it intends to call Faces of Mexico. This first half of the course is to be opened May/June of 2004, with Phase 2 to follow with the remaining nine holes and the clubhouse. A great deal of planning has gone into the project. A salt-resistant grass has been chosen to toupé the fairways. A twenty acre sod-ranch is in progress to grow the sod on site. Five wells are being drilled to supply the course with water for small artificial lakes and to irrigate the landscaping. Until the Faces of Mexico is wholly completed, it will be open to the public. But eventually the course will become private, available only to residents of El Dorado and their hotels. This may take quite some time as it is an ambitious project and things generally move slowly in Mexico.

The busy ground hog of the Rumor Mill has surfaced recently with reports of two more golf courses to be constructed in the area. One, allegedly to be PGA Certified, will be developed at Playa Blanca. The other, somewhere in the vicinity of the airport, slightly south of Las Minitas. Nothing visually has appeared out of these rumors. But the echoes of their reports continue to be heard.

Watering the Golf Course near San Felipe
Coaxing a tonsure from the sand.

Back to the game of golf. Why do people play it? One possibility is that it is an allegory for a spiritual quest. There is a bit of Zen-like mystique about the sport, a meditative side to it. Probably who so many doctors, who are filled with distractions and mental motion by their jobs, take it up (and only incidentally because they are the only ones who can afford the green fees). In the allegory department, the ball would represent the purest center of attention. The cup, of course, is the goal of that attention, its focus. The wind, trees, sand and water traps, dogleg fairways, etc. are the peripheral distractions that try to waylay the attention from its journey to its goal. Each stroke is a meditative session, an attempt to drive one's attention in a single concerted effort to the enveloping protection of its quest, the cradle of the cup, over which hovers the angelic symbol of a wing, like a colored tongue of flame.

On the other hand, there is a lot of militaristic terminology in the game of golf, which makes it something considerably less than spiritual. This may be the reason why it has kept its popularity with the arcade and computer gaming crowd. With a lexicon that includes bogey, bunker, hazards, club, slice, stroke, etc., it references both modern and medieval war-making. Fun for the whole family.

So it would seem that on a subconscious level at least, golf invites members from either side of the human spectrum. Heaven and Hell. Can cribbage claim the same appeal?

For the latest golf course progress at El Dorado, check out their course updates.

Click Here for Robin Williams' hilarious take on golf.