La Manga Club Golf Resort is a name synonymous with the region of Murcia and for many, it's hard to imagine a Golf Break to Murcia without at least one round at the World renowned resort. The West Course is the most recent of the three courses and was upgraded from the "9 Hole La Princesa Course" during the early 1990's Weather Conditions: Overcast with little to no breeze. Course Conditions: Excellent, Greens: Excellent.
Hole 1: Par 4 - 279m (305 yards) off the Yellow Tees. The opening hole on the West Course is a short Par 4. The ideal position off the Tee is to a landing area, short of the Water Hazard (at 180m). Players require an accurate shot in order to find the middle of the Fairway and avoid the large Fairway Bunker on the left hand side and more importantly the Clubhouse and the Out of Bounds down the right hand side. From the Fairway, players will have between 100 and 120m to the centre of the Green, carrying the Water Hazard. Players finding themselves out of position will have the option to lay up but with the Green protected by only one Green side Bunker, it is still possible to find the Green in regulation.
Hole 2: Par 3 - 132m (144 yards) off the Yellow Tees. The short second, is narrowed slightly by trees which encroach from both the left and right hand side. The landing area looks small from the Tee but there is only one Green side Bunker, front left. Players who miss the Green should have a decent opportunity to make an up and down to save Par but the Green is surrounded by trees and there is also Out of Bounds behind the Green.
Hole 3: Par 5 - 406m (444 yards) off the Yellow Tees. The first of the Par 5's is a Dog Leg right and with a narrow landing area (and Bunker) beyond the Dog Leg, most players should opt for a safe position off the Tee and lay up short of the Buggy paths at 165m. From this position, players will have 235m to the centre of the Green. Longer players will be tempted to go for the Green in two but there is a large Green side Bunker protecting the front of the Green. The conservative option is to lay up to a generous Fairway and leave a short iron approach and the chance of a Birdie opportunity.
Hole 4: Par 3 - 125m (137 yards) off the Yellow Tees. This Par 3 is well protected by two large Bunkers to the front left and front right. The remainder of the Green is surrounded by trees with little room should players fail to find the Putting surface from the Tee. The Green is large and forgiving and players should feel confident of a Birdie Putt.
Hole 5: Par 4 - 280m (306 yards) off the Yellow Tees. The first Dog Leg left can reward players with a short pitch if they are aggressive off the Tee, however there are plenty of opportunities to get out of position. Out of Bounds runs down the entire left hand side and longer hitters will need to take a very tight line down the left if they want to cut the corner and leave a short pitch. As with the majority of holes on the West Course, the subtle Green side Bunkers and the abundance of trees should prompt players to take a long Iron or Utility Wood off the Tee. At only 280m, players can lay up to 100m or less and leave a more comfortable approach to the Green. The Green is protected by two Green side Bunkers to the front and players should feel confident of finding the Green from a decent position on the Fairway.
Hole 6: Par 5 - 448m (490 yards) off the Yellow Tees. This difficult Par 5 Dog Leg left requires an excellent Drive to setup the rest of the hole. The ideal line is down the right hand side offering players the best angle to approach the Green. There are three Fairway Bunkers to avoid off the Tee but the second Bunker down the right hand side acts as a point of reference. Players landing just short of this Bunker (or along side it for the longer hitters), will have an the ideal position to either attack the Green in two or play a measured lay up. Going for the Green in two requires an excellent shot as the Green is narrow and well protected by three Green side Bunkers and set back to the left of the Fairway. With little margin for error, most players will opt to play safe off the Tee and then lay up to between 50 and 75m off the Green. From close in, players will feel confident of securing at least a par. A good Par 5.
Hole 7: Par 3 - 150m (164 yards) off the Yellow Tees. This short hole plays slightly uphill so players will need to take this into account. Due to the elevation, the Green looks small from the Tee but the main consideration is to carry the two Green side Bunkers protecting the front portion of the Green. There are also trees behind the Green but players avoiding the hazards will still have a decent chance of saving par. Players finding the Green could find themselves putting down the slope, as the Green slopes back to front.
Hole 8: Par 4 - 340m (372 yards) off the Yellow Tees. Patience is needed on this tough Dog Leg Right with Out Of Bounds down the right hand side. With trees lining both sides of the Fairway, players will be tempted to take the conservative option and play for position off the Tee. An aggressive play can leave players with a short iron approach to a difficult Green but with a narrow landing area and a small gully, there is little margin for error. Laying up with a utility wood is the safer option and will leave 140 metres to the centre of the Green. Two Fairway Bunkers protect the corner of the Dog Leg and the ideal landing area. From a good position on the Fairway, players will require a good shot to find the putting surface. The Green is protected by two Bunkers and the remainder of the Green is surrounded by Trees. For most players, a Bogey will feel like Par. A challenging Par 4.
Hole 9: Par 5 - 403m (440 yards) off the Yellow Tees. The final hole on the front nine is a Par 5 Dog Leg left. This is a potential Risk and Reward Hole but most players will play this hole as a true Par 5, playing for position off the Tee, followed by a measured second, finally leaving the preferred distance to approach the Green. Players may also benefit from a Fairway which slopes right to left towards the Green, however players can reach the Green in two by aggressively cutting the corner. The ideal line to approach the Green is from the left hand side or centre of the Fairway. An approach from the right hand side may be hampered by the trees down the right and longer hitters should take this into account. The Green is protected by two small Bunkers but there is a Gully 50 metres in front of the Green which may cause problems for players trying to approach the Green from further back. With plenty of room around the Green, players should feel confident of making Par.
Hole 10: Par 4 - 303m (331 yards) off the Yellow Tees. The opening hole on the Back Nine has a split Fairway which offers a real challenge to all players. The first half of the Fairway is 165 metres and is blocked by trees. The second half of the Fairway is shifted 30 metres to the right and is slightly obscured behind trees when looking from the Tee. The ideal play is to carry the 180 metres onto the second Fairway with a Utility Wood however more accurate players may opt to take a Driver and go for the tight line, effectively taking a line between the trees. If the initial Drive is key to this hole, players should not under estimate the approach. The Green is quite small and slightly elevated and it's also protected by two Green side Bunkers on either side of the Putting surface.
Hole 11: Par 4 - 332m (363 yards) off the Yellow Tees. Another Dog Leg left where players will have to decide whether to cut the corner or play safe. Players who opt to play to the corner of the Dog Leg, will leave 180 metres to the centre of the Green. The ideal play, is to cut the corner over the trees down the left hand side, however players will need a confident drive in order to avoid trouble in the trees. A decent Drive should find the Fairway and leave players with a straight forward approach. The Green is generous in size and is only protected by a small Bunker. There is plenty of room around the Green for a wayward approach but most players will be confident of making Par.
Hole 12: Par 4 - 335m (366 yards) off the Yellow Tees. At stroke index 1, this narrow Dog Leg left requires two accurate shots to find the Green in regulation. The hole is flanked by trees down both sides and in addition there is Out of Bounds down the right hand side, from Fairway to Green. The Fairway is narrow, averaging only 20 metres wide, so players will need to select a club for accuracy over distance. The ideal position off the Tee, is to clear the corner of the Dog Leg in order leave a clear view of the Green. Players will typically leave 120 to 140 metres to the centre of a small Green which is also slightly elevated and protected by two Bunkers to the front. Again there are trees surrounding the Green so players have little margin of error should they miss the Green and need to scramble to save Par. With a small Green, players can easily find themselves short sided, so a solid short game is essential.
Hole 13: Par 3 - 164m (179 yards) off the Yellow Tees. The most difficulty Par 3 on the West Course requires an excellent shot in order to secure Par. The Hole plays uphill which should influence the choice of club. The Green looks small from the Tee and is protected by a single Bunker to the front. The Green slopes back to front and with a slight step in the putting surface. Players will do well to find the Green in regulation and with a difficult two putts, a par will feel like a Birdie.
Hole 14: Par 4 - 280m (306 yards) off the Yellow Tees. Another Dog Leg left but players may decide to have a side bet on this hole. At only 280 metres, some players may opt for the more direct route over the trees, cutting the corner and the distance to a mere 250 metres. A bit of good fortune is required but with plenty of room around the Green, players could still escape with Par. For those players hoping to protect their Scorecard, the more conventional route is to lay up just short of the Fairway Bunker down the left hand side. With a short Iron in hand, most players will feel confident of finding the Green in regulation. The Green is generous but pay attention to the position of the Pin as the Green is slightly tiered and players will want to find the same level to leave a Putt for Birdie.
Hole 15: Par 5 - 440m (480 yards) off the Yellow Tees. This double Dog Leg (right then left) plays downhill. There is a Gully at roughly 225 metres, but players will have to carry 245 metres to find the second half of the Fairway. The ideal shot from the Tee, is to lay up to 195 metres and play another measured second. Longer players may be tempted to try and reach in two, however there are trees occupying the centre of the Fairway. The preferred option is to lay up just short (or adjacent) of the Bunker down the right hand side, leaving 100 to 120 metres to the centre of Green. Even with a short Iron in hand, players have a small target to hit and should pay attention to the three Green side Bunkers. An interesting Par 5.
Hole 16: Par 3 - 174m (159 yards) off the Yellow Tees. The last of the Par 3's. The Green is slightly elevated and is protected by two small Bunkers. The Green is generous and players finding the putting surface should secure a Par. However, there are a few tricky borrows, so the Pin position is key. Any wayward Tee Shots could leave a difficult Up and Down, especially anything falling short of the Green.
Hole 17: Par 4 - 401m (438 yards) off the Yellow Tees. The 17th (pictured right) should be played as a true Par 5 with players taking all three shots to find the Green in regulation. There are numerous hazards on this 90 Degree Dog Leg left but played conservatively, players can take most of these out of play. From the Tee, the ideal position is to lay up to just short or adjacent to the series of Fairway Bunkers down the left hand side. It may seem odd standing on the Tee with a Mid Iron in hand but players will leave a similar length shot to find the second Fairway. The second Fairway is defined by a Gully that runs left to right and although the Fairway is generous in width, players should note the Water Hazards on both sides. Nevertheless, the second shot should be a routine Mid Iron, leaving players 100 metres or less to the Green. (For longer hitters determined to cut the corner from the Tee and reach the second Fairway with a Driver, the carry is at least 240 metres. It's a very aggressive line so some local knowledge is required). The Green is small and is protected by a small Bunker to the left. There is Water down the right hand side and the Green slopes slightly from left to right towards the Water Hazard, however players should feel confident of finding the Putting surface with a chance of making Birdie.
Hole 18: Par 4 - 364m (398 yards) off the Yellow Tees. Players have approximately a 250 metre walk to the final Tee. The 18th Tee is from an elevated position which will encourage a long Drive. The Fairway is generous but there are two Bunkers down the left and right hand sides. Players should feel confident of finding the Fairway and depending on the distance off the Tee, players have to hit a small Green protected by two Bunkers. There is little room for any wayward shots as there are trees behind the Green. An ideal long Drive hole to finish the day off.
In summary: The tree lined nature of the West Course, makes this a different challenge compared to the South and North Courses, including the other courses in the Murcia region. Players can certainly benefit from local knowledge but if visiting golfers sacrifice distance for accuracy, the West Course is a good addition to any Murcia Golf holiday. Pick up a Shot Saver on arrival or make full use of the Built-In GPS system installed in all La Manga Club Buggies.
Overall, the La Manga Club Resort has an unquestionable charm and pedigree which is hard to resist. True, there are a few ageing touches, not least the Clubhouse but ask any Golfer to trade "a unique experience" for "clinical excellence" and the chance to tread in the footsteps of former Golf greats, Celebrities and Ex-Footballers is hard to resist.