jueves, abril 25, 2024

About Dunes and Courses: The Story of Ken Jowdy and Diamante


Dunes and dreams are shaped by wind and tides. When wind or water carrying sand slows down or encounters an obstacle, it drops the sand particles it was transporting, forming a dune. Amid the shifting sands of Baja’s stunning dunes, we delve into the extraordinary journey of Ken Jowdy and Diamante.

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Dunes serve many purposes, from erosion control to providing habitat for wildlife. They can filter and purify water and offer protection from storms. However, perhaps the most captivating trait of Baja’s dunes is their striking resemblance to the linksland in Scotland, where golf was born.

In 2003, Ken Jowdy arrived in Los Cabos in search of property that aligned perfectly with his vision.  His venture into the world of real estate began at an early age, thanks to his father’s involvement in commercial real estate in Connecticut. As Ken grew, so did his passion for the real estate industry. He had been exploring the possibilities of creating a golf resort and destination in the region and had scouted Baja for the ideal spot for a while before he received a call. 

He was on his way to the airport when his broker called to say that a piece of property that hadn’t seen the market in 40 years was ready to sell. Ken contemplated his departure for the airport, planning to return on the following Tuesday if an appointment could be scheduled upon his return. “If you get on that airplane, this property will be sold by Tuesday,” his broker explained. The sands of opportunity were shifting rapidly, and he could not afford to let the chance slip away.

He turned his car around and within 30 minutes, struck a handshake deal with the landowner – a transaction that would mark the beginning of a remarkable journey. How Diamante came to be is a remarkable story but perhaps one of the most special chapters is the one that encompasses those first six months after the purchase. 

The previous owner was an elderly man who had been getting his affairs in order for his family. He knew and loved Baja and showed Ken the lay of the land. Day after day, they’d explore the dunes and desert landscapes. “I started coming to spend time with him. He put me in his Jeep Liberty and drove me all around this property because he knew every inch of it. He had it for 40 years, and he loved it. It was so special to him that I wanted to spend as much time with him getting to know it,” Ken shared. “Those six months were invaluable to me,” he added. That was his introduction to Baja California Sur, where he learned about the dunes and the way they move. It was when his deep respect for this land was born. 

One of the most remarkable aspects of Ken’s journey is his collaboration with renowned golf course designers like Davis Love and Tiger Woods. Together with Love, Ken designed a golf course that seamlessly integrated the property’s natural dunes, creating a golfing experience reminiscent of the game’s origins in Scotland and Ireland, but with 360 sunny days a year. The Dunes Course has been ranked as high as number 36 in the world by Golf Magazine.

Ken chose to work with designers who are not just great in their craft but also embrace the challenge of creating golf courses accessible to players of all levels. They aim to craft courses that cater to both the weekend golfers and the Wednesday regulars, who may face more challenges on the fairways. 

Their collaborative spirit and shared commitment to excellence have made their partnership successful, as they meticulously craft each mound, turn, bunker, and green, always striving to create a golf experience for players at every level. This course gained recognition from Golf Magazine, ranking as high as 36th in the world.

In 2011, a friend asked Ken Jowdy if he was interested in talking to Tiger Woods Design because they were interested in doing a golf course. “If you’re in the golf business and someone asks you if you want to talk to Tiger Woods about anything, I think the answer would be ‘yes!’” he shared. Driven by the opportunity to work with one of the greatest figures in the sport, this led to the creation of the El Cardonal Course and The Oasis Short Course.

“Being the best isn’t just about talent; it’s about drive, persistence, commitment, work ethic, and pride. When you have the opportunity to work with someone who has these qualities, they won’t limit excellence to just one aspect of their life, be it playing golf or anything else. The greatest become the greatest because they strive for excellence in everything they do. And I’ve been fortunate enough to be around people like that. If you have the opportunity to be around people like that, you always take it” Ken Jowdy shared about working with Tiger Woods and his team.

As Diamante has evolved, it has transformed into what resembles a small city in its distinct corner of the world, featuring diverse neighborhoods to suit various lifestyles. The crowning achievement in this development was the establishment of the Legacy Residences, proudly offering the coveted country club experience and meeting the high expectations of their homeowners. Nevertheless, their unwavering commitment has remained centered on providing exceptional service, regardless of their clients’ varying preferences and budgets. 

Ken has transformed the challenges of embarking on a project like Diamante in a foreign country into valuable lessons. He recognizes the importance of showing respect for both the land and the local community. Acknowledging that things operate with a unique flavor in Los Cabos compared to the United States can be challenging. However, Ken’s decision to bring local experts into his business has been a game-changer. It’s all about building a reliable team, and their contribution has been crucial to Diamante’s success. How a leader talks about their team speaks volumes about their leadership style, often more than any awards they’ve earned.

Reflecting on his journey, Ken Jowdy shared a heartfelt story. He recalled a moment when his responsibilities expanded beyond himself. It was when they decided to celebrate Children’s Day for their growing team in Diamante. As the buses rolled in, the line of excited children seemed never-ending, and it suddenly dawned on him – the immense responsibility he now carried. Ken shared his profound realization, saying, ‘That was the first time I felt there was a little bit more I gotta do here.’ This experience ignited a new sense of purpose, a dedication not only to succeed but also to ensure the well-being of his team and their families. 

Hosting the PGA Tour event, the World Wide Technology Championship, at his resort is further proof of Ken’s dedication to showcasing Cabo and its culture to the world. This prestigious event not only highlights the beauty of the region but also has a positive impact on the local community by drawing attention to Cabo and elevating its recognition in the golf world. Collaborating with golf course designers and architects to create a golf course that appeals to both players and critics has been a delicate process. Working with the best is a learning experience.

In the story of Ken Jowdy and Diamante, we find an inspiring reminder that life’s most remarkable achievements often stem from seizing opportunities, nurturing respect for the land, and fostering unwavering dedication to excellence. It’s hard to tell if Ken Jowdy shaped the dunes into a golf course or if the dunes shaped him. Who knows what would have happened if the wind had taken him elsewhere? But as the sands of time continue to shape Diamante’s legacy, one thing remains certain: the future shines bright.

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