If you are looking for something different for your golfing getaway then the beautiful and vibrant region of Murcia could be just for you. La Manga Club and La Manga golf courses offer golfers the opportunity to experience top-notch golf at a great price.
Nestled between the low hills which separate the Mediterranean from the Mar Menor sea in south eastern Spain, this 1400 acre sporting paradise has always been synonymous with golf and its three championship courses. Therefore it is hardly surprising that La Manga golf has been voted Europe’s top golf course resort twice in the last five years.
The three La Manga golf courses are the North, South and West. The South is considered the premier layout which was reworked by Arnold Palmer in the early 1990’s. The other two courses are as equally challenging, but in different ways.
The South course has been the venue for many major professional tournaments; Spanish Opens, PGA Championships and qualifying schools for both the men’s and ladies’ European Tours.
Lakes and large, sculpted bunkers add to the visual delight of all the La Manga golf courses whilst the criss-crossing of deep barrancas – storm gullies which are dry for most of the year – adds a challenging aspect requiring careful play to avoid.
Although surrounded by the most beautiful private villas and finishing next to the resort’s hotel, the La Manga golf courses are very open in aspect and the presence of many palm trees makes it feel as though you are playing in a giant tropical garden.
The South Course is quite open and wide with palm-fringed fairways and water hazards, but stray significantly off line and you will be punished by lakes and strategically placed bunkers and barrancas. The South Course finds the perfect balance between providing a difficult test whilst also ensuring that good play is rewarded and low scores are achievable.
The greens are quick, smooth and true, making putting an enjoyable test. Putting is the key to scoring well on the South Course. It is fairly long, but the fairways are generous, and many of the holes play downhill.
The front nine boasts two par 3’s well over 200 metres in length and some really challenging par 4’s. The back nine, although shorter does have some very interesting dog legs and more attention for position rather than length is required.
The second hole is a long, difficult par three. Water lurks to the right, waiting to catch any tee shot that is pushed, and bunkers protect the front of the green. To find the putting surface, tee shots must carry in excess of 160 yards leaving a tricky and potentially sizeable putt. Par is a good score on this hole.
The fifth is the other par three. Water and marshland down the righthand side merge into a large greenside bunker. Anything hit slightly left may hit a slope and run out of bounds or into a barranca.
Special attention should be given to both the eleventh and twelfth holes which demand precise club selection to greens across the water. Anything hit too long will run off the back of the green and find another water hazard.
The par five eighteenth hole will prove particularly tough because of its proximity to the green with well guarded bunkers. With water on both sides of the fairway this will make your round a very stern finish.
Look out for the plaque on the 18th tee that commemorates Arnold Palmers eagle in the final round of the 1975 Spanish Open which secured him victory.
Distance – White Tees 6998 yards – Par 73
Completely refurbished in 2001, the North course is much shorter and hillier than the South. An undulating course set between tight palm tree lined fairways, lakes and barrancas (natural storm gullies). The putting surfaces, which are often multi layered, are well proportioned with imaginative greenside bunkering in evidence throughout.
The North course is considered by many as the easiest, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s easy. There is often a breeze at the resort which makes the par 3’s long and enables the palm trees to collect any wayward tee shots.
The course benefits from some lovely challenging holes, the par five 3rd is easy if you don’t try and attempt the task of reaching the green in two. The par three 4th is a real gem with some nasty out of bounds on the left and a hazard to the right. It has an enormous green but the wind is generally not with you.
The back nine present a better set of holes with the par four 13th tee shot making you decide whether you hit driver, five wood or five iron. The par five 15th is a very long hole, usually into the wind, but with an inviting expanse of fairway that lets you rip the ball.
The 17th is a lovely dogleg par four and the 18th is a nice finishing hole where you will be watched by sunbathers around the hotel pool. It’s then a short walk back to the clubhouse where you can watch following groups attempt the elevated 18th green from just short of the ravine.
Like all the La Manga golf courses the North course benefits from large greens that are hard to miss but equally hard to “two putt” regularly. The fairways are lush and the ball is always sitting up but will provide a stern test of shot making from golfers of all standards.
You can post a good score here with the only defence being a strong wind and poor judgement of distance. If you can play one more club than you think it will make all the difference.
Distance – 6289 yards – Par 71
Situated about a half mile from the main complex the West course has its own clubhouse and bar. This is the most recent of the three La Manga golf courses having been upgraded from a nine hole course during the early 1990’s. The tree lined nature of the course, set amid pine woodlands and following the natural contours of the land, makes this a very different challenge compared to the South and North courses.
The West Course is without doubt the jewel in the crown of La Manga Club. However as many players have come to realise, “the West Course giveth, and the West Course taketh away”. Buy five extra golf balls before you start!
Gone are the views of the La Manga complex and villas and in come the hills, barrancas (natural storm gullies) and pine trees. It has an amazing variety of holes, each one presenting a different approach. Narrow fairways, frequent blind shots and fast greens make for a particularly exciting, yet difficult, golf course.
The opening hole is a short par four but you will need an accurate tee shot in order to avoid the large fairway bunker and out of bounds down the right hand side. You then need to carry a water hazard before finding the green. The par five 3rd also has a challenging tee shot combined with a large ravine and a putting green that is well tucked away. The 5th is a difficult hole (stroke index 1) with only a narrow target to aim at. The 6th is the first hole where you can get the driver out and let rip.
The par five 9th is by far the best hole on the front nine with an uphill tee shot. It then bends at right angles down hill to a huge green protected by a ravine to the front and lake at the back. Whilst it’s a real devil of a hole to “manage” it is reachable in two shots giving the rare opportunity of an eagle!
The 18th tee is a bit of a trek up the hill, and after a slog round the West Course you could do without that, but the reward at the end is well worth it. You are greeted with a tee at the top of a small mountain overlooking the 18th fairway and the landscape spreads out in front of you beyond the course and out across the La Manga Club complex, the countryside and then to the sea a few miles distant. It is a great finishing hole to a great course.
Distance – 6527 yards – Par 72
La Manga Golf Courses for All
The La Manga Club complex presents three lovely La Manga golf courses all of which offer their own character and a different challenge to suit all handicaps. The Resort benefits from a well-run shuttle bus service and an attention to course care that always ensures the holes are in perfect condition.
La Manga golf courses could be recommended to anybody who wants an easy weekend of golf “on the door step”. It’s accommodation of villas and apartments are reasonably priced and are of the highest quality.
The La Manga golf courses also offer a nice driving range and a good putting and short game practice area. The shop is well stocked, and a very pleasant man on his buggy is always on hand selling drinks and baguettes to a lot of very thirsty golfers. It’s a truly great place – as Lord Deedes quoted “If I had to choose one golf course to play before I die, it would be the South Course at La Manga”.