When most people think of golf in Spain, they think of palms rather than pines, but La Manga Club has a variety of courses and you’ll find the West Course very different to its older siblings, playing between tall trees in a protected forest setting.
This course isn’t here to be your friend, though, it’s a tough test and begins as it means to go on, with the 336-yard par-four first which is made tricky by the presence of a pond in front of a small green, whose contours make chipping exacting. If you haven’t hit the best tee shot, then the on looking clubhouse adds a little more intensity to your approach and putting. Take my word for it, a par on the first is good result; take that and move on quickly to the next.
The challenging start continues, with the tricky par-three second over a ravine to a green enclosed by pines followed by a more open-feeling par-five – although you still need to be accurate to avoid the trees and ditch on this acute dogleg.
Tee positioning is key to the type of test the West Course will present during your visit. Playing from the forward tees can actually prove a more finite examination of your game as the compact layout features a number of doglegs or bottleneck holes. It’s paramount that golfers understand the true strengths (and weaknesses) in their games and play accordingly, as on most holes (with the forward tees), the big stick isn’t always the right choice of club to waggle.
That isn’t to say that the West Course isn’t a place where the Bubbas and the Rorys of your group cannot open their shoulders. The sixth and eighth are especially good driving holes, a par-five and four that sweep to the left and right respectively and are beautifully defined by bunkering, encroaching timbers and sublime contouring.
The 17th is also a great challenge, embracing a 90-degree dogleg where the presence of a barranca, the first proper sight of water and a tiered green make this a stiff par-five.
Due to its woodland locale, the West presents a very different challenge from the more open styles of the South and North courses. After 18 holes, you know you have had a round of golf, and a good or bad one will be defined by a confident and well-delivered putting stroke and making the right club choice at the right time. If you’re planning on playing three rounds in three days, the West is a great way to start… the toughest test put to bed early.
The West doesn’t have the postcard looks of La Manga Club’s South and North courses but this works in its favour as it is less busy than its resort counterparts, and with a green fee of just €55, it is one of the best-value courses in the region.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON LA MANGA CLUB HEAD TO http://www.lamangaclub.com/sports-leisure/golf/courses-facilities-golf/west-course.html