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"...a shot I blame on the "sandtrap" because, like every golfer believes, my swing is perfect!"
--John M. Powell--
Palma Real Golf Course, Ixtapa.
The golf course was, much to my surprise, in very good shape. And, considering the prime real estate dedicated to the golf course, the cost of my round was, if not a good deal, an equitable one. Although Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo may not be a world famous golfing vacation destination, I will certainly bring my clubs the next time I visit.
I played Palma Real in late October (the end of the area's tourist off-season) and my group was essentially the only one on the course. The layout consists of ten par-4s, four par-3s, and four par-5s totaling 6408 yards from the white tees.
Although probably due in part to the lack of recent play, the course was in immaculate condition. I don't recall seeing one divot or ballmark during my round. The greens especially were soft and our putts were consistent throughout the day. The sandtraps, though, were foreign to me as they are not filled with sand but something best described as tiny gravel. I put my teeshot into one on the sixth hole and chipped across the green into the water -- a shot I blame on the "sandtrap" because, like every golfer believes, my swing is perfect!
And as all who play Palma Real will understand, I wasn't about to try to get that ball back from the water because of all the crocodiles cruising the waters for golfers. Water comes into play on seven or eight holes depending upon your game (length and degree of accuracy), the two most intimidating waterholes in this golfer's opinion being the fifth and the fifteenth. The trees at Palma Real are another story. This course is covered with trees, mostly palm, and a wayward tee shot often means a tough second shot. For those of us golfers who on occasion find ourselves not in the fairway, a couple valuable shots to practice before playing this course might be the 'three-iron-back-in-the-stance-shot-punch-out' shot and the 'I'm-going-to-thread-this-ball-just-left-of-this-tree-without-hitting-that-other-tree-to-the-right' shot.
Setting the obstacles aside, the views, vistas, and panoramas seen during a round at Palma Real are spectacular, especially at the fifteenth, which is practically on the beach -- with the waves crashing, the aforementioned crocodile-ridden water to play over, the sun, the trees, etc., be happy to make contact with your ball on fifteen!
The scenery as well as the golf at Palma Real definitely justify the green fees.
When I played there, I was playing with a set of clubs rented from the clubhouse. They, plus balls, tees, green fees, lunch, and a cart totaled somewhere around $100 US. My only regret (and salvation) for the day was knowing that I would have played a thousand times better with my own clubs. We (my clubs and I) plan to return someday to Ixtapa and show Palma Real who's really boss!
I recommend you do, too.