IAGTO Costa Calida Murcia Tournament Pre Fam Tour
I was excited to take part in the IAGTO Costa Blanca Trophy this month, which took place in Murcia , Spain .
With 22 golf courses in a 50 km radius, Murcia attracts more and more golfers from all over Europe, mainly because of their high quality golf courses, great climate and gastronomy.
Our team arrived on 18th May to the hotel NH Cartagena for a two nights stay. The hotel is well located, close to the port, a typical modern city hotel. Cartagena is lively and vibrant city. We had a guided visit to the museum and ampitheatre, afterwards we dined at a charming restaurant, La Catedral. A lovely start to our Murcia visit.
Our first round of golf was played at Roda Golf Course. Roda proved to be a great golf course with some gentle slopes, large, fast greens, bunkers and lots of rivines, some of which are hidden from the tees. Being an open golf course the wind played a part on some holes, making for a challenging game. There are more water hazards on the back 9. Two large lakes influenced the play on 5 holes. The driving range is excellent, covered and floodlit with putting área and a small chipping área.
We played our 2nd round the next morning at Hacienda Del Alamo. The golf course has brilliant practice facilities, large áreas for putting and chipping with an academy. This golf course is also very open, quite long and flat. There are large greens protected by water or bunkers, some slightly elevated with undulated fairways. Carefully placed palm trees add to the beauty of several holes. The signiture holes could be either the 8th, par 3, 190m over a lake or the 9th, stroke 1, par 5. Hacienda Del Alamo has all the qualities of a championship golf course.
After our game we visited the resorts new luxury hotel, due to open summer 2018.
Later the same day we headed off to El Valle golf course, part of the GNK golf tour group. El Valle is a truly fantastic golf course. In my opinon it is one of the top golf courses in the Murcia region. It is a Jack Nicklaus designed golf course. El Valle has an amazing layout, it has a desert feel due to the sand and vegetation, much like a links golf course. There are 2 lakes on the golf course affecting 4 holes on the back 9. The 17th green is protected by a lake and the 18th is played over the lake. There are some gentle slopes and undulating fairways. The golf course has some natural valleys and you feel as though there is privacy at each hole.
After the round we headed off to the Intercontinental Mar Menor Hotel where we received a warm welcome. It’s a great 5 star hotel with a marvellous spa. The hotel is perfectly located to play several golf courses in Murcia .
The hotel boasts a superb restaurant with a terrace overlooking the swimming pool and many other dining options within the resort. The hotel is just 2 steps away from Mar Menor golf course.
Our next round was played at La Serena golf course, par 72. We only played 9 holes here, but we had great fun and played well.
La Serena is also another flat golf course and has excellent driving range facilites. Almost every hole at La Serena is played alongside a lake and the 8th hole is an island green. There are only 2 holes that don’t have a water hazard involved making for a great test of skill. The golf course guide is very useful when playing at La Serena for the first time.
We played our afternoon round at La Manga South golf course and checked into the resorts 5 star Hotel Principe Felipe.
La Manga South is a modern golf course. It is a long course, par 73 with large tee boxes, doglegs, large greens and wide fairways. Some wind, trees and well placed bunkers played a part in the outcome of our shots on the day. The pin positions are marked in white, yellow and red. The best hole in my opinion was the 4th, stroke 6, par 5 with a lake before the green. Overall it was a challenging golf course with good practice facilities, a great example of a championship golf course.
The Hotel Principe Felipe served excellent food and provided wonderful rooms which overlooked the North Course. There is an amazing swimming pool and in general just a relaxing ambiance.
On the following day La Manga hosted the Costa Calida Trophy Team Competition. It was played at both La Manga West and and North Golf courses. The West golf course proved to be totally different to the North and South Courses, it has an old parkland golf course design. It is well intergrated into the land. Although it is par 72 and shorter than the South Course, it is compensated by doglegs and trees. On the West golf course you really have to think about each shot as the fairway can disappear, you have to land your tee shot or it's gone, ending in disaster. It is a very technical golf course and has one of the best finishing holes, the 18th has a great elevated tee. We were proud to take 2nd place in the competition.
We spent the next day meeting with suppliers in the golf and hotel industry, a great opportunity to make new business contacts to all relevant hotels and golf courses throughout Spain .
Our team played Mar Menor golf course the next day. It is conveniently located on the doorstep of the Mar Menor Intercontinental hotel. Mar Menor is also part of the GNK Golf Tour group. Another Jack Nicklaus designed course. Originally it was a 9 hole course, then a further 9 were added to make it 18 holes. You can see a difference between the original 9 and the new 9 where the houses are futher away from the golf course. There are some houses on the original 9 holes which are very close to the golf course with a few nets around them for protection.
Our next stop was La Torre Golf course, par 68. Also a very nice Gnk Golf Tour Course. This golf course has a lot of water hazards to be aware of. It consists os 6 par 3's, 10 par 4's and 2 par 5's. La Torre is an interesting golf course, not very long but the wind, well placed bunkers and water hazards made it very challenging.
After the game we checked in to the Hotel La Torre. We received a lovely welcome. The hotel overlooks the golf course and is surrounded by a large lake. It's a modern hotel with lovely spa and indoor pool, good entertainment and friendly staff. There is also a large area for conferences. In general, there is a relaxing, peaceful atmosphere, ideal for those seeking a tranquil holiday with easy access to entertainment and various golf courses.
We played our final round the next day at Altorreal Golf Course. The golf course is located in the city, surrounded by apartments. This town golf course is technical and challenging with nice greens. There is a magnificent clubhouse and terrrace overlooking the putting green. Both the 9th and 18th holes finish in front of the clubhouse. In general a great atmosphere.
We spent our final evening at Murcia Ricon de Pepe. It's located in the centre of Murcia , a historic town, very dynamic and busy with lots of shops and restaurants and squares where you can sit and enjoy a drink and absorb the spirit of Andalusia.
Spain , is the first Golf Holidays destination, in the world . Golfing enthusiasts can choose from more than 300´s golf courses and golf resorts situated on 7 distinct regions , Costa del Sol , Canary ad Baleary Islands , Costa Blanca , Costa Brava, Costa de la Luz and the central region around Madrid.
Golf courses in Spain existe for well over a century, but its only during the last twenty years or so that Spain came to be known as an exceptional golf destination. 1997's Ryder Cup was responsible for bringing Spain to the world's attention, having the honor of being the very first country outside of UK and the USA, to ever host the world's most prestigious golf event.
Warm sunny climate, excitement and wonderful gastronomy, admirable culture filled with history, great priced flights from the majority of Europe airports, and most important of all, a great offer of top class golf courses, all combined to make it a great choice for a golfing break.
Many of Spain 's best golf courses are located along the Mediterranean coastline, in the fascinating region of Andalucia and the Costa del Sol, where more than 80 world-class golf courses are scattered along some 100 miles of coastline .
Costa del Sol is the most popular region of Spain for great sunshine golf breaks. Marbella being the city in the centre of this region, offers a full package of golf courses and hotels, restaurants and pubs. This region is also known among golfers as Costa del Golf. Some of the very best golf courses including world famous Valderrama, outstanding Finca Cortesin, La Reserva, La Cala, San Roque and literally dozens more golf courses and golf resorts are responsible for the huge popularity of the Costa del Sol, as one of the best golf holiday destination, in the world .With a very large offer of cultural heritage, shopping, sightseeing and gastronomic possibilities, the excitement only begins on the golf courses as there are so many other things to do and see.
Costa de la Luz offers also a great choice of golf courses that shouldn't be missed, including Jose Maria Olazabal's masterly design at the Royal Seville Golf Club, Montecastillo, El Rompido among other great golf courses.
Costa Blanca, a popular beach vacation spot for sun-seekers and another golf haven, where quality courses thrive and true gems are not unusual. La Finca Golf Resort and Spa, a magnificent 5 star property with a uniquely testing championship course that has garnered nothing but the highest praise since it first opened in the south of the city Alicante.
In the far northeastern end of Spain 's Mediterranean golf heaven, Barcelona and the Costa Brava go together for both golfers and non-golfers alike. This part of Catalonia may not have the number of courses of the Costa del Sol, but what lack in quantity, offers in quality. PGA de Catalunya, a spectacular golf course, ranked Europe's Continental 3rd, and Emporda, highly regarded are located at Barcelona city doors.
Balearic Islands offers not only the paradisiac feeling with beautifull environment but also fantastic golf courses. This small archipelago of four main islands, Mallorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera, have twelve of the greatest golf courses, Son Gual, Alcanada, Son Muntaner and Son Vida are only four of them.
In the Atlantic Ocean, lies the Canary Islands. Millions of tourists arrive every year in search of sunny weather in Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and La Gomera.
Thirteen golf courses can be found among these islands, but the most recent built was Abama golf course in 2005 and is 26th in top 100 Spain s golf courses . Choose one or more on these islands and cant go wrong, you will have a great golfing experience.
But the Mediterranean coast is still only the beginning of Spain 's golf offers. Madrid, Bilbao, regions of Castilla y Leon and Rioja offers great golf courses to be played.