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La Serena Course Review by SJGS
We had heard about this new course a week before from a pro golf teacher who told us it was quite difficult and not for Societies with players with high handicaps, so Alex, our Captain and I took up the invitation to play the course before it opened with Paul and Robert from ClubMurcia.com.
Starting on the first tee you are faced with a par 5 of 494 metres, there is a tight OOB on the left, a fairly generous fairway but lots of water on the right. Having got the ball on the fairway you then have a long shot to the green with water in play on the right all the way to the green, the OOB is still close by on the left but there are 4 large bunkers to deter you from going left. On arrival at the first green you discover one of the best attributes of this course, the large greens which are very well prepared and true, lets hope they stay this way.
Hole 2 is a dogleg right par 4, water all the way down the right but a 3 wood hit straight leaves only a wedge/9 iron into a long thin green protected by a massive bunker on the left. Incidentally, if you look at the course planner on the scorecard you will see that 16 out of 18 holes involve water somewhere along the way. Only holes 11 and 12 are away from the agua.
Hole 3 is the first par 3, it’s a good 150 metre carry across the water to a good size green, fairly easy to hit with a drilled 6 iron. There is a bail out shot to the left reducing the carry over the water but remember it is a par 3 and stroke index 16.
Hole 4 starts with the tee in front of a lake, you play across the corner onto a narrow fairway, this is the first hole where you encounter desert on your right. It is really an area of sand and gravel which appears to be a feature on all new golf courses in our region, not too difficult to play off but best if you stay away from it. At 356 meters its not long so there is no problem in getting to the green in 2, a driver from the tee is ok as once over the water the fairway is quite generous.
There is a bit of a walk back to hole 5 which is almost a repeat of hole 4 except there is a lake to the right and in front of the green, a good driving hole as the bunkers are not in reach for most of us and neither is the water. The green is well protected by the bunkers but as all the greens are, it is very receptive.
No. 6 is a short par 4 of 301 metres and stroke index 18, the easiest hole on the course you must hit a straight tee shot or the water on the right will come into play and the OOB fence on the left keeps you focused on the narrow fairway. As it is a shortish hole, take your straightest iron and keep it on the grass then your second to the green will be quite easy.
Hole 7 takes you back towards the clubhouse and at 442 metres it is a birdiable hole. A nice wide fairway with bunkers left and right at around 200 metres, even if you play into them you can recover to the fairway to reach the green in 3. The green is only approached over water as there is no other way into this large slightly elevated green with a bunker at the back so don’t go long, which is always the temptation when faced with a shot in, over water. From this hole there is a good walk across the road, behind the practice area round to hole 8, be careful as you pass tee 10 on the way.
The 8th is a long par 4 with a bit of desert area on the right from the tee and then a long second shot on a wide fairway with water again on the right. The temptation to take on this green in two should only be accepted by those who are confident they can carry the water and get the ball up to the elevated green, my advice is to stay left and take three shots as this is stroke index 2.
Hole 9 is a par 3 over two lakes, at 157 metres it is not too daunting as the green is large and anything right is safe. This hole could be tricky in a wind though because the water on the left goes all the way to and beyond the green.
From the 9th green you walk on for some way before tee 10 takes you back the way you have just come. A short par 4 requiring a straight tee shot as the green narrows off with water on the left. There is another of those desert areas on the right but it is easy enough to play from, be careful with your second into the green as it has a water hazard across the front and a lake to the left hand side very close. Quite a few of the greens are tiered as is this one, which is another feature of an otherwise flat course. Apart from the water the only other hazards on this course are the palm trees, there appears to be hundreds of them, all very tall.
Hole 11 takes you away to the furthest part of the course on the longest par 5 at 500 metres where there is no water and no bunkers until you reach the green so drive away. It is very difficult to reach in 2 as there is an area of desert in front and to the left of the green.
Hole 12 is stroke index 1 and a slight dogleg left, again no water but a fair amount of desert on the right. This is a par 4 and as far as I could see didn’t really warrant its stoke index 1 as a good drive, left an easy second to the green, only the palm trees on the left seemed to be a problem if you didn’t hit very long.
Hole 13 is a very short par 4 at 275 metres, a 3 wood from the tee leaves an easy second over the water to the green.
Onto Hole 14 and here you must stay left, there is water all the way down the right, even your second shot has to cross water as the left hand side short of the green is heavily protected by bunkers.
Hole 15 is the longest of the par 3s and plays all 172 metres of it, you really need to be straight here as there is water on your right and tight OOB to the left. Hit the green in 1 and you will be lucky to get a par as the green is enormous.
Hole 16 has a wide fairway with water all the way on the right, a short carry over the lake in front of the tee leaves an easy second from the right hand side of the fairway, don’t slide left away from the water as there is the biggest series of bunkers here on the whole course.
Hole 17 is an easy par 3, its only 150 metres with half of it over water, there is a hidden bunker at the back to collect anything that is long but a good sized green is easy to hit.
The last hole 18 ,does encourage a long drive, with OOB down the left fairly close there is no trouble out to the right. Being a par 5, I wouldn’t advise trying to get on in 2 as the green not only has a stream in front of it but the fairway narrows with water on the left. Get on in 3 and you stand a chance of a birdie.
Overall this course is not as difficult as it looks on paper. I am a 9 handicapper and played with a 5, 18 and 28 handicap players on this round. It was enjoyable for all players as the greens are new and unmarked and are large enough for some exciting pin positions, The fairways are slightly over watered but the most overriding factor about this course is the way the flatness has been disguised with subtle landscaping also making it easy enough to walk.
Report by Bob Gallard
Vice Captain, San Javier Golf Society
Added: October 5th 2006
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