World Amateur Team Championships (WATC) – Eisenhower Trophy – Mexico

Our main reason for going to Mexico was to watch the New Zealand Men’s Amateur Golf Team compete in the World Amateur Golf Championships or Eisenhower Trophy as we know it in New Zealand.  Our friend Nick Voke was playing in the team alongside Luke Toomey and Ryan Chisnall.  They are great young lads and it is always a pleasure to watch them play and share a bit of banter along the way.

This tournament is a biennial event which was first played in 1958.  The trophy is named for Dwight D. Eisenhower, the President of the United States when the tournament was first played, who was a keen amateur golfer.

The tournament was held from the 21st to the 24th September and played on two different courses along the Riveria Maya coastline on the Carribean.

Mayakoba El Camaleón Golf Club

The Mayakoba course was designed by Greg Norman’s design company and opened in 2006. The only PGA sanctioned event is held here in November each year. Just like the chameleon from which the course takes its name, this Riveria Maya layout winds its way in two large 9 hole loops through an ever changing landscape of thick tropical jungle and mangrove forest, with a number of man made lagoons and canals coming into play on all but three of the holes. There are also a number of subterranean caves (called denotes) incorporated into the course design.

The OHL Classic at Mayakoba is a PGA Tour golf tournament which was played for the first time in the week of February 19–25, 2007. It is the first PGA Tour event to be played in Mexico this century.

From 2007–2012, it was an alternate event played the same week as the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, and a counting event for the FedEx Cup, but like other alternate events it only counted for half points. In 2008, the prize fund was US$3.5 million (with a first prize of $630,000), making it the richest golf tournament in Mexico. Fred Funk won the inaugural 2007 event at the age of 50 years, 257 days, making him the oldest player to win a PGA Tour event in 32 years. Graeme McDowall of Northern Ireland won the event in November 2015.

Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf Club

Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf Club is a gorgeous course designed by P.B. Dye and was ranked by Golfweek Magazine as top 16 Caribbean & Mexico Courses in 2012. Home of the Canadian Tour and host site of the PGA Tour Monday Qualifier. It was opened in 2005
Playa Paraiso Golf Course characterised by its vertical movement and distinctive natural rockwork making this course a true and one of a kind in the Mexican Riviera Maya.

The Iberostar Paraiso Course was attached to the resort where we stayed which was handy.  The Mayakoba course was about twenty minutes down the coast and the tournament organisers provided free buses to get there and back.

The day I went to Chichen Itza, Steve went and watched the boys play a practice round at Mayakoba.  The daily temperatures were about 30 degrees but the humidity was very high so it didn’t take long before you were dripping with sweat.  Thank goodness for the sea breeze.

The team’s schedule was a late round at Mayakoba on day one, an early round at Iberostar on day two followed by two late rounds at Iberostar and Mayakoba respectively.  The team did really well and finished in a tie for 6th with the USA at 15 under par.  For a more detailed blog about the tournament check out

Like most resorts on the Riveria Maya the Iberostar was all inclusive of food, drink and various activities.  It was great not having to deal with money for ten days.  There was even a coffee shop, a taco bar and a burger bar which were all included.  There were also 6 speciality restaurants which you had to book for.  We managed to get to the Mexican, Brazilian and Mediterranean ones which were all very nice.  They even had an American diner style restaurant which was fun.

The gym was amazing – it would stand up against a big city gym no problem.  It was incredibly hot though – it was air conditioned and felt cool when you walked in but there were no fans circulating the cool air so you were dripping within minutes.  They say it’s good to sweat but holy moly!

The pools were huge and we were occasionally joined by some creatures of the reptile nature – they were quite at home sunning themselves by the pool as was I but I’m not sure how comfortable I was with them being so close!

There were many Coati roaming around the resort.  They are part of the raccoon family and can grow to the size of a large house cat.  There tails can be just as long as their bodies and they hold them erect with a little curve at the end.  In long vegetation the erect tails are used to keep the troops together. I thought the erect tails looked like a long necked bird so it took me quite a few double takes to get used to them.

Coatis are omnivores; their diet consists mainly of ground litter invertebrates, such as tarantula, and fruit.  They also eat small vertebrate prey, such as lizards, rodents, small birds,, birds’ eggs and crocodile eggs.  The snout, with a formidable sense of smell, assist the skilled paws in a hog-like manner to unearth invertebrates.

The peacocks also strutted around like they owned the resort even taking themselves into the bar on a whim.

We played the Iberostar golf course on the Monday after the tournament.  Unfortunately they cored the back nine greens that day so we could only play the front nine twice.  We have played here before a few years ago.  It was great being able to play the holes that we had just watched the boys play – of course we played off tee boxes much more suited to our abilities!


This blog was originally set up to share our 9 month adventure around Europe and the USA with friends and family in 2014. On returning to NZ in January 2015 I decided to carry it on so I could continue to share any future travel adventures - it has become my electronic travel diary. I hope you enjoy and get inspired to visit some of the wonderful places we have visited.
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