Ken Gowdy contracts with Tiger Woods to design Diamante courses, build Cabo Shadow Creek and play thousands of rounds with Roger Clemens

Ken Gowdy contracts with Tiger Woods to design Diamante courses, build Cabo Shadow Creek and play thousands of rounds with Roger Clemens

LOS CABOS, Mexico – In 2003, Ken Gowdy was driving to the airport on a Thursday afternoon when his broker called and said there was a piece of property he should see. The owner was 89 years old and had turned down every offer anyone had ever made.

Jodi’s broker was his first call and he said, ‘You’re my first call.’ And I said, ‘Okay, I’ll be back on Tuesday.’ And he said, ‘You don’t understand.’ ‘If you don’t come now, this property won’t be here on Tuesday,'” Jodi recounted on Saturday while the third tour was underway. The World Technology Championship starts at El Cardonale in Diamante, one of two current courses built on land and a third under construction.

“I turned my car around and met him at a ranch that was basically. I jumped in his Jeep Liberty and we went flying and within 30 minutes we had an agreement.”

Now golf members and homeowners include the likes of former baseball stars Roger Clemens and Larry Walker. “Isn’t this place wonderful?” Jodi said to Walker as he tried to lead the witness on. But that wasn’t necessary because Walker’s affection for Diamanti was clear.

“I’ve been to Bor once“I chased a house and I’m here half the year,” Walker said. “I’m not here because it’s a (bad) place. The food, the weather, the people. It can be in a different order every day.

Q: How did Diamanti become the host of the World Tech Championships?

Technology World Championship

Kramer Hickok and Chesson Hadley tee up the 14th hole during the third round of the Tech World Championship at El Cardonal at Diamante on November 04, 2023 in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Mexico. (Photo by Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images)

kilojoules: When it was decided that the tournament wouldn’t be in Mayakoba around this time of year, they were going to the RSM Classic in November and had a chat with Mark Love (Davis’ brother), telling him they were looking for another venue. In Mexico. Mark and Davis built Dunes and contacted me to see if I would be interested.

About 10 days later, the tour came here. It happened during our guest member period and (Tiger Woods) was here – he’s probably been at four of the last six meetings, I think – so I was busy and I didn’t even get to see them during that trip. But it sparked the interest of the tour and when they came back I walked with them all 36 holes. There were a lot of changes to be made to the dunes. When they arrived at El Cardonal, it was the obvious choice. All we did was add the tee box to No. 1, but they didn’t ask for that. I just thought it made sense. Credit goes to Mark Love.

Q: How were the Diamanti course designers selected?

Cardinal in Diamante

El Cardonal at Diamante in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. (Photo: Todd Kelly/Gulfweek)

kilojoules: I had an existing relationship with Davis, so he was a natural choice for me to do the first round. Three years later, someone asked me if I would be interested in speaking with TGR Design and here we are.

Q: Why did you want Tiger in his first round?

Tiger Woods at Diamante

Tiger Woods on the land where he built the first golf course. (Photo: Diamanti)

kilojoules: It didn’t have to be the first course. And it simply ended like that. In any walk of life, if you have the opportunity to work with someone who is the best in the field, I say always take the opportunity. People can’t be in the conversation all the time if they don’t bring a lot of talent to the table. A lot of people have talent. You can’t be a tiger by talent alone. You need all the other things that go into it.

Everyone asks what it is. He’s in it. He knows exactly where he is going and exactly what he wants to do. Even with this tournament, he was very conscious of the fact that this was the first PGA Tour event played on one of his courses and he wanted to make sure we did everything we were supposed to do. There were messages back and forth. I told him I had toured the course with the supervisor and everything seemed fine. He said: Send me pictures. I want to see her.” I would love to.

Q: Why did you choose Tiger for the third round?

Cardinal in Diamante

The pro shop at El Cardonal on Diamante in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico is filled with Tiger Woods Nike merchandise. (Photo: Todd Kelly/Gulfweek)

kilojoules: When we signed Tiger in 2012, we made him a long-term deal. We knew he would take another turn and the deal linked him to long-term development.

We’re building him a house now. He’s got Wood’s Cabo now, so there’s a lot of reasons for him to come here. We opened it for the tournament this week and then Roger Clemens’ son is getting married here next weekend and then the restaurant will be officially opened. It will be open to the public. We have a separate gate where people can drive in and eat there.

We are in full construction now on the third cycle. We probably moved 200,000 cubic meters of dirt for the first session. We probably transferred 350,000 to the Cardinal and probably 3 million to the club. The timeline depends on how quickly we can move the dirt. We have six holes about to take shape and we hope to have them nurtured in the next six months. Next year we won’t be playing on the golf course, but in my ideal world we’ll be there in 2025, but it’s not my decision which courses they play on. It will be a course for homeowners and we will probably close the course in August and September anyway because most of the homeowners are not here in those months. So closing it for another month shouldn’t be that big of a deal. Then again, that’s not my decision.

Q: Why does Cabo need another high-end course?

Diamond Cabo San Lucas

The Davis Love III-designed Dunes Golf Course at Diamante Cabo San Lucas (Photo: Diamante)

kilojoules: If you were to join Dunes Stadium now, there would probably be 230 players today. It’s supposed to have 120. It’s just a matter of demand. I’m just trying to meet their needs.

Q: Golfweek’s Dunes Course ranked second on our list for the Caribbean and Mexico, far ahead of El Cardonal. Is it true that he got better land than Tiger?

Diamond Cabo San Lucas

The Davis Love III-designed Dunes Golf Course at Diamante Cabo San Lucas (Photo: Diamante)

kilojoules: Davis was the first. It was his choice. The sand dunes there are very eye-catching.

In the third cycle, we are moving a lot of dirt. We are building lakes and streams and bringing in 5,000 trees. A lot of people say it will be another Shadow Creek but there is only one Shadow Creek.

The dunes get a lot of attention because they are eye-catching. El Cardonal is a bit more nuanced, but it’s a 50-50 split on which one they prefer to play. The Legacy Club will be manufactured but it will be a very nice playground with water features – waterfalls and streams. You will not feel like you are in this area. You will not see the desert. You’ve been in this business for a long time, and you can have three paintings and everyone will have a different opinion.

Q: How will Legacy Club be different?

Diamond Cabo San Lucas

The Tiger Woods-designed El Cardonal Golf Course in Diamante Cabo San Lucas (Photo: Diamante)

kilojoules: We will limit membership to 250 members. It’s a vertical family membership, so your kids, grandparents, parents and grandchildren will be members too. In this business, especially with what we are trying to achieve, exclusivity, access and service have to be set at a high level so that we can sell properties for the price we want.

The people who are here have worked their whole lives to be able to enjoy this period of their lives and they want to stay active and golf is one of the things they want to do.

Question: Larry Walker isn’t the only baseball star walking the hallways here. She will host the wedding of Roger Clemens’ son this month.

Roger Clemens

Former MLB player Roger Clemens hits a tee shot on the seventh hole during the first round of the Invited Celebrity Classic at Las Colinas Country Club on April 21, 2023 in Irving, Texas. (Photo by Tim Hittman/Getty Images)

kilojoules: I’m more nervous about the wedding going as planned than I am about this golf tournament. I met Roger in 1987. I went to Wake Forest and became friends with Billy Andrade and Roger and Billy met at a pro event and that’s how I met Roger.

I have played all over the world with Roger Clemens. We probably played a thousand rounds together. When he was playing, he would send me his team’s schedule and he would have his fifth day when he was pitching. He would not play that day but the other four days were open. The only problem was that when he played for the Yankees, George Steinbrenner wouldn’t let the clubs go on the team plane, so I had to fly with his clubs as well. I hate traveling with clubs.

It’s about a 5 or 6 handicap and gives me three sides. Been here 20 years and we’ve driven 4x4s everywhere and I would point and say this would be the 5th hole and now it is.

The story originally appeared on GolfWeek

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