The Yucatan Country Club

Beryl Gorbman
Merida Yucatan

Generally, when people from North America consider moving to Yucatan, it is because they are attracted to the beaches, the historic center of Merida, the cultural events, the social scene and the prospect of owning and restoring a large colonial home.

Now there is another reason. The Yucatan Country Club. This is luxury living at its best, especially if you are a golfer. Although the pricing is on the high end of what we might generally consider, the value is exceptional. And in fact, many of us spend just as much money on a house downtown by the time all the restoration is done.

Recently, Louis Navaer and I had a full tour of the Yucatan Country Club. It’s a five-star residential settlement with endless amenities, located just north of Merida. It is a beautifully executed, well planned development, full of lush plantings, hills, several large lakes and an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus signature golf course.

As we drove in, we were directed to the clubhouse, a large, tasteful modern building which houses five restaurants, shops, a wellness center, a luxurious spa, childrens’ play areas including an outdoor aqua park, a clubhouse-style sitting room and administrative offices. From the clubhouse, you can see the golf course and one of the lakes. A tranquil, peaceful scene.

The Clubhouse complex

David Boyle, sales consultant executive, took us for a great tour of the place in a golf cart. We explored every corner of the development looking at construction and terrain.

As most of us know, lakes don’t occur naturally in Yucatan. As the Club was being built, planners had huge areas blasted out down to below the water table, creating spectacularly lovely bodies of water. Thy are actually cenotes, entrances to underground rivers, so the water circulates and stays fresh. The sides of the lakes are natural limestone and in some places there are small waterfalls.

Limestone-walled lake

The green itself seems to stretch for miles and is magnificently maintained. Between the perfect grounds maintenance, the man-made hills, and the lakes, you do not feel you are in the Yucatan, which, especially in the summer, is a great proposition. The land outside the Country Club has foliage brown from draught, earth that is flat as a pancake because the Peninsula sits on a limestone shelf, with tinder-dry surface everywhere. The minute you pass the security gate, however, everything changes.

The impressive hilly Signature golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus himself is lovely. There are also two semi-Olympic swimming pools located in The Mark Spitz Center which has expert instructors.

David told us about the Jack Nicklaus Golf Academy within the Club that employs golf pros from all over the world to help you perfect your technique and advise you on nutritional plans and fitness routines that will keep you in top form.

View from clubhouse deck

If you are interested in golf (or even if you aren’t), and want to live in a tranquil, safe community minutes from historic Merida, you can spend that same amount of money and have a brand new mansion built to your specs and also enjoy access to all the Club facilities.

Let’s look at the economics. If you want to move to this area and live nicely, you can spend $500,00 to one $million on a Merida house and another $300,000 to $1,000,000 to fix it up the way you want it. You may live in splendor in charming, colonial downtown Merida, which is lovely in many ways but also extremely hot, noisy, and air polluted. The historic homes are difficult to maintain.

The Club offers finished apartments, town houses and luxury villas ranging in price from $350,000 to $7,000,000 usd depending on which of the private communities you choose within the 700-acre development. The air is fresh and scented with flowers, not hot, stagnant and polluted.

For top quality building with luxurious finishes (i.e. flooring, closets, kitchens etc.) expect to pay around $85 a square foot.

There are home sites available with a wide range of different feels, including golf course and lake lots. For a premium lot expect to pay between $325,000 up to $700,000. A mansion and a lot sells for between $650,00 and one $million. This includes your membership.

Custom home at Yucatan Country Club

Here are the condos as they are now. They are due to be finished in the next few months. I had a good feeling about the construction deadlines being met because during the work week there are up to 400 workers on site. According to David, the condos will be ready in February 2012, but construction is ahead of schedule and they may be done by December 2011.

Condos under construction

The Club is within ten minutes of several of Merida’s luxury malls which include multiplex theaters, high-end stores, salons and restaurants. It’s 30 minutes from the Merida airport and 15 minutes from the Progreso Board Walk and Gulf of Mexico.

Obviously, it is better to get in on this opportunity sooner rather than later. The Country Club has sold 300 memberships and sites so far, 40 of which have gone to Americans. There are still plenty of prime lots left.

The immediate future includes ten-acre Town Center, or commercial area. It is the only part of the 700 acres that will not be inside of the gated community to allow access to the nearby University students and local residents. It too is masterfully planned and includes a quality grocery, pharmacy, dry cleaner, doctors’ offices, a bakery, cafes and more. The idea is that you will have all of the basics within walking distance of your home.

This location is luxurious, worry-free living. The meticulous maintenance, the fresh air, and the excellent security, all are unbeatable. And you never have to go hunting for entertainment for you or your children – it’s all there. There is no flooding, no unsightly electrical wires, and no problems with internet connections. Every time you drive into the property or look out a window of your own home, you see beauty.

If you want to live in the tropics, enjoy lifelong membership to a Jack Nicklaus championship course, and own a gracious home or apartment, The Country Club may be the place for you.

A Yucatecan clock bird (mot-mot in Maya) oversees a construction project.

For more information on the Yucatan Country Club, please contact David Boyle at dboyle@yucatangolf.com or call his cell at (011) (52) 999-738-7875. David is originally from New York and has been living in Merida for 15 years.

Check out the Country Club website for more details and photos.

This article was not solicited and we were not paid for publishing it.

About BG

Beryl Gorbman is a writer and private investigator who divides her time between Seattle WA and Merida Yucatan Mexico. She has published two works of fiction, 2012: Deadly Awakening, and Madrugada. They are both available on Amazon and other outlets. Also at Amate Books, and Casa Catherwood in Merida. You can read about them in various articles on this site.
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12 Responses to The Yucatan Country Club

  1. Martha says:

    This is a kind of living for some people but most of the expats who are currently here seem to prefer a less “exclusive” kind of living. There is absolutely no need to spend $700,000 or more on housing including renovation. This article presents a distorted view of housing costs in Merida, in my opinion.

    • BG says:

      This article is not really targeted toward expats who are already in Yucatan. But you are right. Of course, it is possible to move to Merida and spend a lot less than that. However, as you know, there are a lot of current residents who have spent that kind of money.

  2. John McQuade says:

    As an expat living in Merida, el centro, I feel that your article was written to sell the club, not one that was written to report on an option. If it had another purpose it was not obvious from reading the article.

    • BG says:

      I was waiting for someone to say this and I agree, it looks like a sales article. What can I say? I really liked the place. Not for me, though. I don’t like golf or gated communities.

      • Oh my God, I think he’s right! Especially when one considers the damning article about competing development Flamingo Lakes that Beryl published not too long ago. Just what game are you running here, Yenta?

  3. Rob says:

    Are you nuts? Why would any American want to live in a development where 80% of the residents are non-English speakers?

    Better yet, answer me this, old Yenta:

    1) Does the Yucatan Country Club have a pharmacy where they dispense controlled medicines without a prescription?

    2) Does the Yucatan Country Club have a library with a cash bar?

    Case closed!

    Besides, what’s wrong with you riding in a golf cart with that cannibal mad man!

  4. Chris says:

    The Yucatan Country Club does not exist. The entire post was a put-on written by the author of “The Gangs of San Miguel”.

  5. Babs says:

    I was referred to your blog by a couple of people who read it. This was the first article for me to read. It appalled me. I’ve lived or worked in Mexico for forty years.
    I can’t imagine the prices you are quoting – I can’t imagine that Merida is polluted and unsafe – I can’t imagine that anyone would promote a development that looks like the USA! What a shame. I’m truly shocked.
    And, that beautiful green grass on that course, hopefully, is recycled water. In the midst of a drought to have green grass, in my opinion, is horrible. Nicklaus tried to do a course here in San Miguel but they wouldn’t agree to recycled water and it never happened. They tried for over 5 years to finagle their way in – no dice said the city government, thankfully.
    We have a new Nick Faldo designed course that just opened which is maintained ONLY with recycled water. No fancy clubhouse or all that other stuff. And, in the architecture of Mexico – not something that looks like the USA!

    • BG says:

      The Country Club clients are mostly wealthy Mexicans, not Americans. And yes, Merida prices are in that range. Of course you can get a house for $200,000, but this is a different class of houses. Plenty of Americans spend in the neighborhood of a million dollars on their homes and restorations.
      I imagine the lawn uses water from the underground rivers, the water that fills the lakes. The real problem might be the chemicals used on the grass. Golf club grass is highly toxic, in general.

    • Kinbote says:

      “I can’t imagine that anyone would promote a development that looks like the USA!”

      Obviously it really grinds your gears when Mexicans are allowed to do as they please. I’m sorry. There are a number of anti-anxiety drugs on the market that could help that.

  6. Rob says:

    All the water used throughout Yucatan comes from the underwater aquifers, which are believed to be the largest system of underground rivers in the world. That’s what the National Geographic Society reported back in 2007 (if you believe the National Geographic Society exists: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/03/070305-cave-river.html). In any case, it’s all recycled, since all the water that falls on the Yucatan is quickly recycled by nature — that’s why porous limestone is porous: water goes through it like a sponge, and it’s recycled back into the underground river.

    As for Mexicans wanting American style gated communities, well, why is that any more appalling than Americans who want to go to Mexico and pretend they’re Frida Kahlo living in old colonials?

    It’s great that folks have choices, and given the spectacular sprawl of Merida — it is beginning to resemble L.A. in its sprawl — it’s not surprising many Mexicans want a Hamptons-style community where their neighbors are in the same socioeconomic class as they themselves are. That’s why Palm Beach is Palm Beach, and Beverly Hills is Beverly Hills: it takes a certain income to walk in the door.

    And Babs, actually, most of the architecture in the Yucatan Country Club resembles Spanish contemporary architecture or the Luis Barragan-inspired mid-century Mexican minimalism. Even the highrise towers reflect Mexican minimalism and aesthetics, which is a signature look, much the same way that a good number of the modern buildings in Miami Beach reflect the Art Deco sensibilities of that place and time.

    Don’t give yourself a heart attack!

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