Hacienda del Alamo Golf Resort - Club Murcia Review

Hacienda del Alamo Golf Resort is also widely acknowledged as having the longest golf course in Spain*, for the time being at least. Club Murcia paid a visit to Fuente Alamo to take a fresh look at one of Murcia's leading Golf resorts.

The Hacienda del Alamo Golf Resort is set inland and with the new motorway due to open soon, is only 25 minutes from San Javier. The resort has seen many changes recently, there is an impressive new Clubhouse, an excellent Sports Complex with a Football pitch and Tennis Courts and even a new main entrance.

The Dave Thomas designed course has also seen some minor changes with the addition of numerous Palm Trees to improve the aesthetics of the layout.

Weather Conditions: Mild with a moderate breeze. Course Conditions: Excellent, Greens: Excellent.

Hole 1: Par 4 - Plays 353m (386 yards) off the Yellow Tees from a slightly elevated Tee position. The hole is a straight par 4 with the fairway narrowed by desert areas down the left hand side and two fairway bunkers. Players will opt to try and carry the left hand bunker and thread their drive down the centre of the fairway or take a conservative approach and play short. Playing short on this opening hole is the conservative option and also takes out the "dip" in the middle of the fairway and possibility of downhill/uphill lie for the second. However, the approach to this Green requires good club selection in order to avoid the front side Bunkers. Players should consider taking an extra club as the Green is generous in size. The Green itself is forgiving with few borrows to trouble a steady 2 putt par.

Hole 2: Par 4- Plays 357m (390 yards) off the Yellow Tees and requires a decent drive. Anything pushed down the right hand side of this fairway will skirt with a small fairway bunker. Finding this bunker requires an excellent shot to find the Green. An approach from the right hand side is demanding even from the fairway as a large Bunker protects the Green on the front right. The ideal Drive off the Tee is down the left hand side. Only the longer hitters will be troubled by the fairway bunker on the left. A good position will leave the left hand side of the Green open and depending on the Pin position, a steady 2 putt par or even a birdie putt. Again the Green is generous so avoid under clubbing on the approach.

Hole 3: Par 4- Plays 320m (350 yards) off the Yellow Tees and can be played in two ways. The fairway on this slight dog leg left hole, is well defended by Fairway bunkers. Longer hitters can push a drive down the right, leaving little more than a Wedge/Sandwedge. Players preferring to take the Bunkers out of play, can benefit from taking less club off the Tee. The Green is slightly elevated with bunkers front left. A steady approach will have to carry all the way to the Green. Club selection off the Tee is key to an otherwise straight forward hole.

Hole 4: Par 5 - Plays 503m (550 yards) off the Yellow Tees and the first of the Par 5's. The hole is almost straight from Tee to Green and a well struck Tee Shot down the left hand side will leave the longer hitting players with a chance to go for the Green in two. Most players should consider a well place lay up second down the left hand side to leave a comfortable approach to the Green. The Green is defended by Bunkers front and right and the Pin position can be important as there are some interesting borrows. A generous Pin position on the day should make this a forgiving Par 5.

Hole 5: Par 3 - Plays 179m (195 yards) off the Yellow Tees. This long Par 3 requires a confident strike. Club selection is crucial as with all Par 3 but players can scramble to par provided they avoid the Green side Bunkers, front and right. Players finding the Bunkers will struggle to make Par as the Pin is often cut to the right hand side of the Green.

Hole 6: Par 4 - Plays 381m (416 yards) off the Yellow Tees and requires an accurate and well struck shot off the Tee. This dog leg Par 4 is stroke index one and the main consideration is a well played Drive. Out of Bounds will catch any wayward drive pushed hard over the corner of the dog leg which also has a fairway bunker down the left hand side to make things even more challenging. Furthermore, a drive played slightly down the right hand side side can pick up the slope and run in to the desert area running down the right of this fairway. This really only leaves the centre of the fairway and a pretty narrow target. The second is an approach to an elevated Green which is well protected across the front with little room for error. The Green is wide if not that deep but avoid under clubbing on this approach, one of the most difficult around this course. Players falling short off the Tee, or finding trouble should realistically lay up with their second to avoid taking a six or worse.

Hole 7: Par 4 - 352m (385 yards) off the Yellow Tees. This is another decision hole. Confident players will look to drive over the left hand fairway Bunker, avoiding the bunker to the right. A good drive will run down into the dip and leave a short iron approach to the Green. Some players may be tempted to play short off the Tee taking the Bunkers out of play, leaving a mid iron approach. The approach to this Green is tight from the right hand side due to the slightly elevated Green from this position and the Green side Bunkers. The ideal line is from the left hand side depending on how you decide to play this hole.

Hole 8: Par 3 - Plays 190m (208 yards) off the Yellow Tees and is considered to be one of the most difficult holes on the course. This Par 3 requires a full carry to the Green over water. To make things even more interesting there is also a Green side Bunker, front right and bunkers around the left hand side. The target looks small off the Tee but the Green is more generous than it appears. The real challenge is to avoid under clubbing and over swinging the club, the latter often down to the "water affect". Birdies are difficult to come by on this hole as the Green has some difficult borrows to overcome.

Hole 9: Par 5 - Plays 522m (571 yards) off the Yellow Tees. 571 yards sounds like a worrying prospect but the Drive off the Tee is really not about distance. This is not a hole to reward a huge drive as the approach to this narrow Green is flagged by water down the left hand side of the final 100m of the fairway. The objective off the Tee is avoid the fairway Bunker down the left hand side. There is plenty of room to the right of this bunker and a well played lay up for the second will leave a more comfortable approach. Anything pushed right will find a Green side Bunker at best or water at worst. The key to this hole is the second shot leaving an approach from the left hand side of the fairway. Pin placement can benefit from some interesting borrows so there is often plenty of work required before moving on to the Back Nine.

Hole 10: Par 4 - Plays 380m (416 yards) off the Yellow Tees. A picturesque hole with water in front of the Tee. This Par 4 plays longer than the yardage as both the Drive and the approach are slightly uphill. A fairway Bunker down the right hand side of the fairway will catch most drives however anything struck down the middle can pick up the slope and run down a little further or equally run from right to left and finish in the rough leaving a difficult approach. The best line therefore, is just left of the Bunker and hope to pick up the slope towards the hole. The approach will almost certainly play one more club than the yardage suggests and anything short will find the large Bunkers to the front of the Green. There is nothing protecting the right hand side of the Green which will offer the chance of an "Up and Down". The Green is generous with few difficult borrows.

Hole 11: Par 4 - Plays 369m (403 yards) off the Yellow Tees. If you picked up the slope on the previous hole then a similiar result here, will carry your Drive a long way towards the hole. The last time we visited Hacienda del Alamo, I required a 4 Iron to the Green on this occasion I required a Sandwedge such is the difference in finding the favourable line (and favourable wind direction). The hole is almost straight, from Tee to Green but the approach can vary from playing from an elevated position, looking down on the Green (if short off the Tee) to playing to an elevated Green from the bottom of the slope. This is not a difficult hole as the main consideration is the fairway Bunker on the right hand side off the Tee and the two Green side Bunkers to the front left. Finding the right side of the Green is the safer option. With a flat Green, a comfortable two putts should secure a par.

Hole 12: Par 3 - Plays 175m (191 yards) off the Yellow Tees to a slightly downhill island Green. The scorecard shows this hole as stroke index 18 so there shouldn't be much to worry about! Water runs from infront of the Tee position to around 30m off the front of the Green. Apart from the water, only the Green side Bunkers should come into play. In particular, the Bunker to the front right of the Green. Anything long could be collected in the Bunker at the back of the Green. As with all the Par 3's at Hacienda, a confident but unhurried Tee shot is required to avoid bringing the hazards into play. Provided players clear the water, anything falling short of the Green is a makeable "Up and Down".

Hole 13: Par 4 - Plays 371m (406 yards) off the Yellow Tees. This is a deceptively difficult hole to play. With Desert Areas flanking both sides of the fairway and two large fairway Bunkers, the Driver is not an obvious choice off the Tee. Clearing the Bunkers is possible for the long hitters but the target area is small. (Note: Pampas Grass behind the fairway Bunker on the left have recently been removed and turfed) A lay up to infront of the Bunkers seems far more sensible but even then, the approach to the Green is made more difficult, as depending on the position, the view of the Green can be obscured by the Bunkers. The Green is protected by a Bunker to the front right but the challenge on the hole is to make the right choice off the Tee and to assess the second shot carefully.

Hole 14: Par 5- Plays 483m (528 yards) off the Yellow Tees. This long Par 5 is a slight double dog leg. A good drive down the left hand side of the fairway will avoid the large fairway Bunker on the right. Players then have a varied choice on how to play their second shot. The fairway is affectively split down the middle by the desert area which continues towards the front of the Green. Players can chose to play a positional shot down the left hand side, leaving arguably the best line on to the Green. Altenatively, players can play down the right hand side and leave a shorter pitch over the green side bunker. Finally, a long drive off the Tee may tempt a few players to attempt the Green in two. The numerous bunkers, desert areas and run offs make for a small target and a high risk shot. Played conservatively, this hole should yield a steady Par.

Hole 15: Par 3 - Plays 184m (201 yards) off the Yellow Tees. Another 200 yard par 3 but the Green is generous. Players standing on the Tee should take an extra club as most players will under club and risk finding the bunker. The Green is also slighly elevated relative to the Tee. There is plenty of room to the left hand side of the Green and also to the front, should players fail to find the Green. However, it can often be a struggle to get down in two from off the Green depending on the Pin position.

Hole 16: Par 4 - Plays 361m (395 yards) off the Yellow Tees.This slight dog leg right has a small fairway bunker down the right hand side. Players finding this bunker will struggle to find the Green in regulation as they will also have to carry a Green side bunker in order to find the Green. The prefered line off the Tee is down the left hand side. Players will be able play over the remaining fairway bunkers but have a favourable line onto the Green. Bunkers front left and front right will come into play with a wayward shot. This is a difficult hole requiring a solid but accurate drive. The Green is quite large so players should take sufficient club playing their approach.

Hole 17: Par 4 - Plays 388m (424 yards) off the Yellow Tees. This the final Par 4 and again it requires another very good drive in order to reach the Green in regulation. From the Tee, the fairway appears slightly tiered and players will need to carry on to the second tier in order to leave an opportunity to go for the Green. The drive is made increasingly more difficult by the series of Fairway bunkers which stretch across the fairway from right to left.The Green is well protected with deep front side bunkers. The ideal approach is from the left hand side which will not punish anything short. Players finding the fairway bunkers on the right hand side of the fairway will be happy to escape with a Par.

Hole 18: Par 5- Plays 507m (554 yards) off the Yellow Tees.The finishing hole at Hacienda is a long Par 5 which few players will reach in two. With that in mind, players should concentrate on finding the fairway, avoiding the fairway bunkers down the right hand side. The key to this hole is the layup, players should look to leave a good yardage rather than attempting to go for the Green. There is water along the left hand side of the fairway which runs up to the side of the Green.There are additional fairway bunkers down the right and the fairway has a slight dog leg left. Players clearing the second set of bunkers will leave the ideal approach. The Green is not heavily protected, so players leaving a good yardage, can confidently attack the Pin. The Green is difficult to read in places making this a nice finishing hole during a tight match.

In summary: Hacienda del Alamo remains a popular golf course for local golfers and regular visitors to Murcia. The course is always in excellent condition throughout the year and its regularly used to host numerous local and international Events and Tournaments. The new Clubhouse is an excellent addition to what is considered to be the longest golf course in Spain. The Clubhouse has all the facilities players would expect as standard, including excellent changing rooms, with Saunas. There is even a Pool/Billards Room, Card/Games Room and a Mini Cinema Room.

* When first built in 2007.

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