By Chuck Kinder, Golf In Mexico Magazine

The sea of Cortez is a vast water way separating the Baja peninsula from mainland Mexico containing plants and sea life unique in the world the closest we get to the life on display in the Galapagos Island without traveling to the equator. Along her coast line stretching over 2,000 miles are flawless sandy beaches, coves and bays. Near the apex of the Sea of Cortez is a fast growing resort destination called Puerto Peñasco just south of Arizona’s border with the state of Sonora, Mexico, a mere 3.5 hour drive from two major metropolises’ in Arizona, or as I call this weekend getaway, Phoenix Beach or Playa de Tucson.

During the past ten years’ real estate boom, this destination was on fire with a constant stream of SUVs and Suburban racing to escape the heated inland desert area for a cooling experience seaside and a getaway for moms and dads and family all intent on buying their dream home in Mexico

Middle market housing was turned into a bonanza for developer and investor alike, although there is a correction in the housing market, attractive high-rise and single-family housing has transformed barren desert scrub into paradise for water-starved Americans looking for affordable second and retirement homes.

The current economic climate has made a major dent in the growth of building and appreciation here, but there is still a slow mañana lifestyle to enjoy in Puerto Peñasco – not to mention great real estate deals unlike anything seen before.

Golf has played a key role in the development process along the way and plans for future projects, while some are on hold, others are investing today for the long term future.

Just a few years ago, the Links at Las Palomas golf course designed by Forrest Richardson opened to rave reviews and made the BEST’s Golf Guide to Mexico list of TOP new resort courses in Mexico. This 18 holes layout has the newest of the salt resistant highbred grass called Seaside Paspalum. Forrest reports that, “Besides having a turf variety that does not require overseeding, the Paspalum grass is the closest thing to links fescue I have ever seen.” Indeed, Adam Lawrence, esteemed editor of Golf Course Architecture Magazine from England reported the Links at Las Palomas to be “…in near exact condition to the finest links courses of the world … with a playing surface that is not unlike being in Scotland itself…”

Las Palomas has several holes meandering along a series of lagoons. The stretch of Nos. 9 through 13 will supply enough water to cool down the nerves of any overzealous player. These holes include two par-5s and a downhill par-3 from atop a 40-foot dune. The balance of the layout moves up and down the natural dunes, with No. 18 cascading down toward the ocean.

Ron Castillo, Director of Golf Course Operations for the Links of Las Palomas Golf course indicates, “The golf course is in fantastic condition and has received great comments on the condition and playability. We are also scheduling events every month and have a lot of tournaments and yes we are open to the public, we have been since we opened in May of 2006.” Ron also offers some tempting advice, “We have fantastic stay and play packages with food and beverage vouchers included.” Golf Professionals are encouraged send their members or bring them when there course closes for over seeding.

Las Palomas arose from a joint venture partnership between Abigail Properties and Phoenix-based developer Alan Mishkin that made up the American arm of the team which combined with a Mexican company, Worldwide Group, Hermosillo-based developers of the Las Palomas project to create a lifestyle that bridges the culture between the two states of Arizona and Sonora. 2004 started the huge success for sales of fast appreciating beach front condos.

The border situation from the U.S. is very secure although the press gives a bad rap because of what everyone hears elsewhere in Mexico. The roads to Peñasco through Lukeville, Arizona are very safe and easy to get here from Phoenix and Tucson. With the new coastal highway soon to be open, people from California can get here and save 2 hours driving. The new Peñasco International Airport should be open sometime in 2010. Puerto Peñasco has a lot going on even though the market is a little slow and people are watching their dollars. Rocky Point is still the best place to go and get away from it all with the family at a low cost.