Lo Romero may have taken a while to finally open it's doors but as Club Murcia discovered the day after the course opened, the Golf Course is already a favourite with the local players. Club Murcia took four players to the course, two local Spanish PGA Professionals and two amateurs.
Despite being less than 10 minutes from the Beaches of Torre de la Horadada, Lo Romero Golf is a remarkably lush Parkland style Golf Course which is in contrast to the other new courses in Murcia. Situated 5 minutes from the AP7 motorway and on the regional border, Lo Romero is very accessible to players staying in Alicante and Murcia.
The Jorge Gallén and Enric Soler designed course also has a large Driving range, a Putting Green, Chipping areas and practice Bunkers. There are also two Putting Greens located adjacent to the 1st and 10th Tee's.
Weather Conditions: Mild with little to no breeze. Course Conditions: Very Good, Greens: Very Good.
Hole 1: Par 4 - Plays 320m off the Yellow Tees from an elevated Tee position. The opening hole at Lo Romero is a straight Par 4 with the fairway narrowed by Out of Bounds down the left hand side and a water hazard running down the right. The fairway slopes slightly from left to right making this a tricky opening hole. Confident drivers will fancy taking a Driver off the Tee as the slope can carry the ball comfortably to within 50 m of the front of the Green. Other players may opt to find the Fairway with a mid iron or fairway wood. The Green is not very large but it is protected by water which runs around the back of the Green from the right hand side. There is also a Green side Bunker, front left. A well placed drive on this hole will give the player confidence to attack the Green. With the OB in play, a 3 off the Tee is a realistic possibility, so a few practice Drives on the Driving Range to loosen up may be a good idea. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!
Hole 2: Par 5- Plays 484m off the Yellow Tees from a slightly elevated Tee position. This Dog Leg right Par 5 has more than one playing option. Longer hitters finding a solid drive will have a option to attack the Green in two, typically using a Driver and 3 Wood. The conservative option is to find the corner of the Dog Leg in two. This will leave a relatively straight forward short Iron approach to a large Green. Again, the Drive off the Tee is narrowed by Out of Bounds down the left hand side a water hazard down the right. Players will again have to opt for the right club selection to find the Fairway. A drive safely down the fairway will leave a comfortable layup second. For anyone attacking the Green further back down the fairway, there is water in front and behind the Green. Players finding the Green in regulation should pick up a par but the pin position can be tricky as the Green is slightly tiered from front to the back. Players should pay close attention to the Pin position on approach. A challenging Par 5.
Hole 3: Par 4 - Plays 380m off the Yellow Tees. This is the second longest Par 4 on the golf course and requires a solid drive to secure a Par. The hole can play even longer in a prevailing wind. There are few hazards but once again Out of Bounds runs down the left hand side. However, on this occasion players have plenty of room to get a drive away safely. The Green is large and players selecting the right club should have few difficulties, even if they miss the Green. The only Bunkers are down the left hand side.
Hole 4: Par 4 - Plays 348m off the Yellow Tees. This hole appears to be a slight Dog Leg left but don't be fooled, players should clear the small trees set slightly left off the Tee. After three difficult opening holes, players should be rewarded with a fairly comfortably Par. A decent drive should have little difficulty finding the fairway, leaving a straight forward approach to the Green. The Green is un-protected so players can be aggressive and go for the Pin. The Green is slightly elevated so take this into consideration.
Hole 5: Par 3 - Plays 158m off the Yellow Tees. This is an inviting Par 3 with an open a wide approach. However, there are a series of bunkers to the front of the Green and small shrubs and Trees at the back. The Green is large but appears wide and not very deep, when viewed from the Tee. Players finding the Green should expect to make at least a two putt Par but anyone missing the Green will require a good stroke to secure an Up and Down.
Hole 6: Par 5 - Plays 494m off the Yellow Tees. The second of the Par 5's is second longest on the course and the easiest. The 6th is a slight Dog Leg left but the drive off the Tee is made more difficult with the fairway sloping left to right towards the water hazard. Players should opt for an aggressive line down the left hand side but there are two small fairway bunkers which are blind off the Tee. The longer hitters should pick up the slope which will gain a few extra yards. Players finding the fairway have a good chance of reaching the Green in two as a solid second can again benefit from the slope. The ideal line is again from the left hand side but players approaching the Green from the right, should be wary of the only Green side bunker, located front right. A nice Par 5 which many players will hope for a Birdie opportunity.
Hole 7: Par 3 - Plays 180m off the Yellow Tees. This is a straight but long "Short" hole, the longest of the Par 3's. The Green is very large and there is plenty of room in front and to the left of the Green, so players won't be punished for missing the Green. The main consideration for players is the Green side Bunker to the right. Club selection is the key, as is the Pin position. With the Pin at the front of the Green, players will be left with a down hill Putt if they find the centre of the Green.
Hole 8: Par 4 - Plays 361m off the Yellow Tees. Note: The fairway is to the right off the Tee! Players have been known to play down the 17th. The 8th is one of the most challenging Par 4's on the golf course and requires a very good drive. The fairway looks narrow off the Tee with large fairway bunkers near the ideal landing area and water hazards to the right. Players also need to carry roughly 150m off the Tee to reach the fairway over a small brook which runs left to right. A good drive is key to this hole but the approach is also difficult. The Green is slightly elevated and protected across the front by twin bunkers. Players will have to carry their approach onto the putting surface but yardage is key as anything long will find water at the rear of the Green. A tough hole but an excellent Par 4.
Hole 9: Par 4 - Plays 320m off the Yellow Tees. Note: Players walk around the back of the 17th Green to get to the 9th Tee. This short Par 4 should yield a Par for most players. A confident Drive will leave a comfortable pitch onto a large Green. There are fairway bunkers to the left and right, with a water hazard down the right hand side but there is still plenty of room to find the fairway. The water hazard continues and cuts across the front of the Green but only players short off the Tee should find trouble here. A nice way to finish the front nine.
Hole 10: Par 5 - Plays 506m off the Yellow Tees. Players taking the long walk to the 10th are greeted by a long Par 5 which plays slightly up hill. With a small Green protected by bunkers back left and front right, this is not a hole worth attempting in two. Players should avoid trouble off the Tee and drive down the left hand side of the fairway. With Out of Bounds down the entire right hand side and a series of bunkers also down the right hand side, a good position is key off the Tee. Players using the full width of the fairway will be left with a comfortable second, allowing themselves the ideal yardage to go for the Green. Take care with the approach as the hole plays uphill. Played well, this hole should yield a Par.
Hole 11: Par 4 - Plays 292m off the Yellow Tees. This is a fascinating and enjoyable Par 4 and worth a side bet on any match day. Depending on the Tee position on the day, a number of players will be tempted to take on the Green with a driver. (If scoring via Stapleford, stroke play could be a little different!) From the Tee, players get a view to the Green cut through Pine Trees. Trees line the whole fairway, they surround the Green and also cut into the fairway at various points in front of the Green. In summary, a lost ball looks likely. To make things even more interesting, the fairway can only be reached with a carry of about 150m. Anything short will find a deep hollow which will leave the player with a blind approach to the Green. There is room for a fairway wood off the Tee, so players have an option to avoid trouble but a straight drive has a realistic chance of finding the Green. On the day we tried more than option with players still managing to leave a putt for Par. (No balls lost and one drive 15m short of the Green) A unique hole on the course and one that is sure to have a few anecdotes after the round.
Hole 12: Par 3 - Plays 175m off the Yellow Tees. The scorecard suggests that this is the most difficult Par 3 but that is yet to come. On this hole players have plenty of room if they fail to find the Green. An Up and Down is still makeable as the Green is quite generous and relatively flat. There is however water which suggests the hole should be more difficult but the water hazard shouldn't really come into play as it doesn't run straight up to the front of Green. With so much room on the right and behind the Green, players have plenty of space to take the water out of play. Players should trust the yardage as the distance can look misleading off the Tee.
Hole 13: Par 4 - Plays 316m off the Yellow Tees. This is a very good hole. The drive is not long but players must find the top tier of an elevated fairway in order to play this Par 4 comfortably. Players could easily find two large fairway bunkers or indeed roll back down the slope on the fairway. The Green is surrounded by Pine Trees and players have to clear a large gully to land safely on the putting surface. To clear the trees, players will prefer a lofted club, so players who find the fairway bunkers or who are left short off the Tee will have to think about laying up. Players who find themselves out of position can easily get into a lot of trouble if they take on the Green. An excellent par 4 and one that tests players shot making and course management.
Hole 14: Par 3 - Plays 319m off the Yellow Tees. After the nerves have been shredded on the previous hole, this should restore some confidence. This slight Dog Leg right is best played from the left hand side of the fairway so Tee up on the right of the Tee Box and play for position. There is a fairway bunker to contend with down the left but there is plenty of room to get a decent Drive away. Players pushing anything right could find trouble in the shape of a single bunker or the trees if trying to take off the corner. The approach is up hill but players should have little difficulty finding the Green in two. The Green has a Bunker front left but the Green is generous and has few borrows.
Hole 15: Par 3 - Plays 170m off the Yellow Tees. In the opinion of our reviewers, this is the most difficult of the Par 3's. Players have to carry all the way to the Green with plenty of trouble between the Tee and the Green. There is a small run off area in front of the Green but not a great deal of room. Anything pushed left or right of the target will again find trouble. The 12th Green is arguably one of the most difficult hence the overall difficulty. The Green is tiered and a putt across the surface from left to right will have to negotiate huge borrows. Players finding themselves above the Pin will also have a very quick down hill putt. With 3 putts a real possibility, players walking off the Green with a Par or better will have played this hole extremely well. The best Par 3 at Lo Romero.
Hole 16: Par 4- Plays 409m off the Yellow Tees. The run in at Lo Romero is a difficult one and this long Par 4 will test most players. From the Tee a good drive is crucial but there are a few bunkers on the right. There are Trees down the right hand side and a gully down the left which could catch out players trying to rip a big drive down the fairway. A central position on the fairway is important as the approach to the Green is made more difficult with water running down the left hand side of the Green and a large bunker on the right. Players can opt to play short of the Green to take the hazards out of play, hoping to secure a steady Up and Down to save Par. At this stage of the round, players may opt to play this hole defensively. A deceptively difficult hole, so a Par is a good result.
Hole 17: Par 5 - Plays 473m off the Yellow Tees. The difficult run in continues with this long Par 5. This Dog Leg left requires a solid drive down the left hand side of the fairway. The fairway slopes from left to right which can carry a drive into the two large fairway bunkers down the right hand side. Players attempting the Green in two should pay attention to the water hazard on the right hand side of the fairway. The hole is best played down the left hand side to benefit from the slope and to leave the best approach to the Green. The Green is tiered and difficult to read. If the Pin position is towards the right of the Green, players could struggle to secure two putts.
Hole 18: Par 4 - Plays 356m off the Yellow Tees. The final hole at Lo Romero is the feature hole. The Tee position is elevated which affords the players a good look at the hole and the island Green in the distance. There is plenty of room to secure a good drive and with the down hill slope, players should run on to leave a short iron approach to the Green. There are only a couple of small bunkers on the right hand side of the fairway and players leaving around 100m to the Green should feel confident of securing a Par. Players further back will have a more difficult and nervy approach. Accuracy is key to finishing this hole without incident however distance control is what will catch out most players. The real danger is not failing to clear the water hazard but failing to hold the Green and running into the water off the back. This is a difficult finishing hole and players who find themselves short off the Tee will be well advised to lay up and hope to secure a Par by making a good Up and Down. A great finishing hole.
In summary: Lo Romero is a nice looking Golf Course and a very different challenge when compared to some of the other courses. The practice facilities are very good and with a permanent Clubhouse and Hotel on the horizon, the course looks set to become a popular addition to the region. Pilar de la Horadada already has excellent Sports facilities and the town runs numerous sporting events through the year. The addition of a Golf Course should serve to increase the sporting events in the town and widen the interest in the game of Golf.