When Jack Nicklaus first started coming to Cancun and the Riviera Maya, he recognized two characteristics that would make that part of Mexico’s Yucatan ideal for golf. “It has great weather and miles and miles of sandy beaches,” said the world-famous golfer and golf-course architect.

So Nicklaus started doing his part to turn the Mexican Caribbean into a premier golf destination, first by designing the 27-hole golf course at the Moon Spa & Golf Club. Now, he’s followed that up with another Palace Resorts course: the 18-hole Riviera Cancun Golf Course.

In November, the new course was christened with a tee-shot by the great man himself—a 220-yard drive straight down the first fairway, which was remarkable considering he was swinging with just one good arm, after damaging a shoulder while fishing!

Carved out of mangrove swamp and jungle, the course uses the natural contours of the terrain to create a great golf experience for any golfer, from the professional to the novice. The signature holes include the 14th and 15th, both of which skirt the Caribbean Sea.

After a hot trek around the course, this duffer was particularly grateful for the sight of the cool blue, calming waters of the Caribbean at the 14th green. And making my way to the 15th hole, I was delighted to see that Nicklaus had raised the tee, creating a beautiful panoramic view of the water for the tee shot, which I proceeded to slice into the mangrove swamp. The view was lovely, even if the swing was not.

In addition to adding a second Nicklaus-designed golf course, Palace Resorts has been busy renovating and updating its all-inclusive resorts, including its five Cancun properties: Le Blanc Spa Resort, Beach Palace, Sun Palace, Moon Palace, and Cancun Palace.

While each of the Palace resorts is unique, they share some signature elements. The one bound to grab any guest’s attention is the double Jacuzzi found in every guest room. At the Le Blanc Spa Resort, a Palace Resort deluxe brand, the guest rooms are tiered, with the Jacuzzi sitting on a lower tier next to the balcony, overlooking the sea. The adults-only resort has 260 rooms, and the resort’s third floor contains 8,000 square feet of meeting space, consisting of two ballrooms—which can be divided into nine breakouts—and a large, sun-lit foyer. This meeting space adjoins a patio overlooking Nichupte Lagoon, with a capacity of up to 200 people for a banquet.

The largest Palace Resort property in Cancun is the recently renovated Cancun Palace. The property has more than 600 guest rooms, a 12,650-square-foot convention center, and 4,140 square feet of additional meeting space. For planners looking for a venue with even more space, Moon Palace is the premier Palace Resort property. It has over 2,100 rooms and abuts the Moon Spa & Golf Club. Its ballroom, with 55,850 square feet of flexible meeting space, can host up to 5,000 attendees, with the option of 40 breakouts. On the second floor, another ballroom offers 36,000 square feet of conference space, accommodating up to 3,600 people.

More news from Palace Resorts’ inclusive properties: Guests can make long-distance calls, including international calls to the United States and Canada, at no additional charge.

—Michael Bassett