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  • Steve Habel

Central Mexico Golf Destination

The Oasis San Miguel Guesthouse

You have likely heard about the lovely central Mexico town of San Miguel de Allende, which is renowned as a haven for foreign retirees,American expats, artists, writers and tourists. If Susan ONeal has anything to say about it, the area will also grab attention as a really-out-of-the-way place to visit, relax, and play golf. O'Neal is the owner and operator of The Oasis San Miguel Guesthouse, a lovely and intimate bed and breakfast on the southwest edge of town that’s a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city’s interior. At The Oasis, which features five ensuite rooms, a gleaming, blue-tiled pool in the shadow of swaying palms, and lush landscaping, ONeal has created a guesthouse of understated elegance in the Moroccan style that is perfect for a just about everything. Sounds like just the place to unwind after a round of golf – or after any of the other great activities in the region. “People feel very much at home in San Miguel and especially at The Oasis,” ONeal

said. “Visitors fall in love with the setting – our city is very safe and welcoming. Once you come here, you just don’t want to leave. I know I didn’t.” The Oasis is blocks away from Ma- lanquin Golf Club and a 15-minute drive across town from LasVentanas Golf Club. It’s been said that a destination needs at least two 18-hole courses to be con- sidered for a golf trip, so San Miguel de Allende more than fits the bill.

Two courses, two great choices Malanquin GC was designed by Steven Newgent, who routed his course between

valleys and across and over heavily wooded natural hills, with narrow fairways and sev- eral artificial lakes. The round at Malanquin GC is high- lighted by spectacular views of the Allende Dam and the mountains of the Sierra de Guanajuato. The 18-hole course plays at 7,289 yards fromitsbacksetofteesandtoaparof72 and has Bent

grass putting surfaces. The front nine starts the round in a relatively benign fashion via wide fair- ways divided

by trees and some gentle hills. Things get a lot tougher on the back, as the fairways narrow

and there’s more water and sand to avoid. O’Neal has set up a stay-and-play pack- age for her guests at The Oasis. Golfers get 20 percent off of the cost of their rounds at Malanquin GC and groups that book all five of her suites at the same time get a “pay-for-four, get-the-fifth-free” discount. The newer LasVentanas Golf Club is a Nick Faldo/Schmidt-Curley-designed course and is considered the best track in the area. It was Faldo’s first design in Latin America and is challenging from tee to green thanks to its many elevation changes. The course plays to a par of 70 and has tee boxes and fairways turfed with Ken- tucky Bluegrass and Bent grass greens.The fairways are generous and fairly easy to hit but its putting surfaces are the real test.

You might want to stay Set in a verdant valley at the nexus of four arroyo and at an elevation of 6,500 feet that produces a near-year-round temperate climate, San Miguel de Allende has a metro population of about 150,000 people and offers a low cost of living in the central Mexico state of Guanajuato about 180 miles north of Mexico City. Known as “the Best Small City in the World” and the “City of FallenWomen” because of its hilly, cobblestone streets in the central district, San Miquel de Al- lende is still charming enough that many Mexicans visit for special holidays.There are more than a few visitors who buy a house within a few days of their first arrival, with its remoteness definitely part of its lasting charm. Flights from Houston and Dallas to San Miquel de Allende land in airports in Queretaro (about 50 miles to the south) or Leon, which is just a half hour away and offers shuttles to the city.

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