This is an amazing course. We held an international tournament here for golfers of handicap 8-36 over 36 holes, with most of the participants playing a practice round the previous day too. The players were full or praise for the course. It was in magnificent condition and absolutely beautiful.
It was interesting to notice the change in attitudes of the players over the three days. On the practice day people came back talking of good scoring and commenting that the course was neither as long, nor as hard as they had expected. By the third day even players used to playing several days each week were complaining that they were exhausted. With very few exceptions, players had much poorer scores on the final day, despite perfect conditions. People were finding that the course was actually a lot harder and tougher than it had appeared to be initially and was taking a lot more out of players than they were expecting.
We found various things that other players may be interested in. On some holes the fairway starts nearly 150m from the yellow tees. Away from the fairway the first cut was tough, wiry grass: if the ball pitched in it, it just stopped dead. It was fine if you could drive 200 metres off the tee, but a lot of people could not and even good tee shots were ending up stuck short of the fairway! If you were in this grass lifting the ball out of it was hard and meant taking a shorter club: the less experienced players were sometimes struggling with this. Another thing that we found was that the ladies (red) tees were an incredible distance away on some holes: higher handicap golfers were barely passing them, even with their best tee shots.
There are drinks machines at various places around the course. However, at least one of them was empty for both days that I tried to use it and another had only certain drinks options available. When you did find a machine that was stocked, a 1.5 litre bottle of cold mineral water was only 1 Euro. You cannot do a round, even in relatively cool spring conditions (low 20s Centigrade), without drinking.
Although the rough was not as bad as we expected, we found that there was a huge penalisation for missing the fairway. Sometimes it was actually better to be in the rough itself than in the first cut.
Most of the bunkers are of the shallow, fairway bunker type. After the wet winter they were very hard and some posed quite significant challenges, for example, with the decorative patch of cacti in the bunker on the 18th: fall too close to it and you had a real problem. There is a lot of water around the course (if you had the time to look, it was full of wildlife); sometimes, if you were not familiar with it, there were tongues of water in unsuspected places that would catch out the unwary. The most emblematic hole is, or course, the 15th, with the green on an island in the middle of a lake. The level of water in this lake was much lower than we were expecting, but took its full toll of balls.
One final point: the green fee is steep on weekends and public holidays at 63 Euros, but worth it.
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