El Tigre Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.1

Golf - Resort Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico
· Stay & Play

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El Tigre Review

El Tigre Golf Club Review & Rating in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

Your El Tigre golfing experience begins as you pass through a stone archway resembling a Mayan temple and enter the gated Paradise Village residential community. The El Tigre design team of Robert Von Hagge, Rick Baril, and Michael Smelek were given a challenge to create the most exciting championship golf course in Mexico. And they created a masterpiece by taking a flat piece of land and turning it into a lush, tropical paradise with nine water features, lush and colorful landscaping, mounding, and contour which creates some interesting elevation changes.

Six years after it opened in 2002, El Tigre was listed as one of the Top 10 Best Golf Courses in Mexico by Golf Guide Magazine and Golf in Mexico Magazine. Golfweek rated El Tigre #49 in its Top 50 Golf Courses in Mexico and the Caribbean in 2014

El Tigre Golf Club is challenging (a slope of 69.2 to 74.5 and rating of 120 to 133) but there are five sets of tee boxes with yardages ranging from 5159 to 7239 yards which means you can find a yardage that fits your skill level.  Don't bit off more than you can chew because during your round you'll need to avoid 156 bunkers, mounds, and water on 15 holes plus position your ball for the dog legs and an easier approach shot to the green.

Here are some of the holes that we really liked:

  • #5 is the #1 handicap hole and it's a fun 474-yard par 4 with a risk-reward shot from the back tees to carry the pond that runs tee to green and hit the fairway that takes a sharp dog leg left around a big bunker
  • #6 is a beautiful 171-yard par three with an island green with little room for error
  • #8 is a dog leg left with a minefield of 8 bunkers at the dog leg, 4 more on the right side of the elevated green plus one more bunker on the right and the back - plus a sharp drop off on the right side of the green
  • #18 is a fun 621-yard par 5 with water tee to green, a string of 4 bunkers on the right side where the fairway takes a left turn, and a green with a huge bunker that goes from the left side of the green to the back and then back up the right side of the green

The El Tigre Fairways were in great shape when we played and they have some contour, mounding, and minor elevation changes.  Water, bunkers, and dog legs present some challenges you need to manage.  The fairways are wide enough to ensure that some beautiful residences won't seem intrusive and that you'll have a hard time breaking a window or hearing a dog bark in the middle of your backswing.  However, between #16 and #17, you might hear a Bengal tiger growl.  El Tigre is part of a wildlife preservation and breeding program and when we played had one beautiful Bengal Tiger on the property. 

The greens at El Tigre were also in very good condition but a little slow because of heavy rain from a recent hurricane prevented them from being cut and rolled.  They ran true and held the ball well.

Bring your sand game when you play El Tigre - there are over 150 bunkers that range in size from small pot type bunkers to some huge monsters.  Plus there are several sand waste bunkers which the staff labels beach bunkers.  

We played El Tigre as part of a fun vacation to Mexico - read our Mexico Vacation Article to learn more about this fun vacation.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,239 133.0 74
Blue 6,236 121.0 69
White 5,727 116.0 67
Gold 6,607 128.0 71
Red 5,159 120.0 69

Course Information

Course Architect:
Robert Von Hagge & Rick Baril
Greens Type:
Champion Bermuda
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Beware of water on 15 holes and the 154 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.1 out of 10
Fun to Play:
Front Nine Rating:
Back Nine Rating:


Approximate Weekend
$120.00 to $205.00

The 45,000 square foot El Tigre clubhouse has been labeled one of the most beautiful and best designed in Mexico. The practice facilities are good, the service is excellent, and the pro shop is well stocked. The golf carts have a great GPS system - very helpful!!



Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating

The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this:  links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course.  In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40.  We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking.