Spain in October - any suggestions for a cheap break

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Post by raycastleunited on Wed 08 Aug 2012, 2:35 pm

We are planning on heading to Spain for 4 rounds of golf in late October. There's a couple of places on the short list at the moment, just wanted to get some views from you all.

We are considering flying into Alicante and then driving down to Murcia to stay at La Torre. We went here in 2009 and although it was a bit of a ghost town the courses were immaculate (El Valle, Hacienda Reiquelme, La Torre) and the accommodation pretty good. My concern is that after 3 years of recession, is it still ok?

Has anybody played Las Colinas? This is a new course near Murcia that I have never heard of but is supposed to be quite good, and would be a useful addition to the list.

Our other short listed option is to go down to San Roque and stay and play at Almenara. We would probably also play at Finca Cortesin, which is fantastic and one of the most enjoyable courses I have ever played.

Over to you... thanks.


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Post by McLaren on Wed 08 Aug 2012, 3:07 pm

Try scotland.
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Post by raycastleunited on Wed 08 Aug 2012, 3:15 pm

McLaren wrote:Try scotland.

No Scotland is a miserable place

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Post by McLaren on Wed 08 Aug 2012, 3:50 pm

If you say so, but for a GOLFING holiday why go somewhere with a dire lack of quality courses. There are at least ten courses within about 20 mins of gullane which are better than anything you will find in the whole of spain. And I am not including the rather pricy and exclusive; muirfield, renaissance and archerfield.

But you go eat your egg and chips in the sun and play poor quality courses if that is what makes you happy. What a cheek that such philistine would have the audacity to question Scotland as a golfing destination?
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Post by JAS on Wed 08 Aug 2012, 4:21 pm

Ray, we're going to Spain at the end of Sept. We're playing 3 courses and I'm sure las Colinas is one of them, I think Villa Martin is another. Staying at a mates' in-laws villa. I'll let you know how it goes.

Of course from a selfish point of view I'd say try Cyprus instead and stay at my villa. Mind you I'll prob be out there at some point in October.

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Post by JAS on Wed 08 Aug 2012, 4:33 pm

Mac....I think the key word you're missing picking up on is HOLIDAY. Don't get me wrong I love my golf breaks in Scotland but equally I love to get some golf in in shorts and with the sun on my back and there are plenty of cracking courses beyond these shores.

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Post by raycastleunited on Wed 08 Aug 2012, 6:02 pm

Mac,

This happens every time somebody posts a thread about holidays. The reply from JAS spells it out perfectly.

My question was specifically about Spain and not Scotland. I will report you to the Admin if you come back on this thread to WUM again.

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Post by McLaren on Wed 08 Aug 2012, 7:09 pm

ray

I will assume, like my comments, that your last post was made entirely with tongue in cheek.

Although I still dont get the attraction of golf in spain?
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Post by shudofhita4iron on Wed 08 Aug 2012, 10:06 pm

ray i read it as "advice about spain" not where to play,i dont think mac has the brain cells to undersand the question,ignore him he is a wum and becoming really boring now with it

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Post by McLaren on Wed 08 Aug 2012, 10:19 pm

Crying or Very sad

Come on, that is harsh.
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Post by Sand on Wed 08 Aug 2012, 10:21 pm

raycastleunited wrote:We are planning on heading to Spain for 4 rounds of golf in late October. There's a couple of places on the short list at the moment, just wanted to get some views from you all.

We are considering flying into Alicante and then driving down to Murcia to stay at La Torre. We went here in 2009 and although it was a bit of a ghost town the courses were immaculate (El Valle, Hacienda Reiquelme, La Torre) and the accommodation pretty good. My concern is that after 3 years of recession, is it still ok?

Has anybody played Las Colinas? This is a new course near Murcia that I have never heard of but is supposed to be quite good, and would be a useful addition to the list.

Our other short listed option is to go down to San Roque and stay and play at Almenara. We would probably also play at Finca Cortesin, which is fantastic and one of the most enjoyable courses I have ever played.

Over to you... thanks.


Played Las Colinas last year. Never played Hacienda Reiquelme but would imagine its the toughest out of the 4 as its quite a tough ball park. Good course tho. We went to Murcia last year and was quite busy but didnt stay at La Torre. I see why you thought La Torre was a ghost town too we thought that too when we stayed there 3 years ago.

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Post by George1507 on Thu 09 Aug 2012, 10:23 am

I went to Murcia in May, staying and playing at La Manga.

The place was - and is - really quiet. I have some friends who were there last week and it was just as quiet. So you could book in almost everywhere. The problem you have, and the crux of the issue is that it isn't cheap. In fact it's expensive. Golf in Spain just costs way too much money. Green fees at €80+ aren't going to bring people in.

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Post by raycastleunited on Thu 09 Aug 2012, 3:37 pm

George1507 wrote:I went to Murcia in May, staying and playing at La Manga.

The place was - and is - really quiet. I have some friends who were there last week and it was just as quiet. So you could book in almost everywhere. The problem you have, and the crux of the issue is that it isn't cheap. In fact it's expensive. Golf in Spain just costs way too much money. Green fees at €80+ aren't going to bring people in.

George,

Yes €80 is pricey for green fees. However, there are deals to be had combining accommodation and golf. E.g 3 nights and 3 rounds at Las Lomas village at La Manga is about £180, ie £60 a night.

It's even cheaper at the other resorts in Murcia.

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Post by shudofhita4iron on Thu 09 Aug 2012, 4:35 pm

ok twas bit harsh mac
bad day at office Sorry

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Post by George1507 on Thu 09 Aug 2012, 6:10 pm

Raycastle - that sounds like a good deal. I've played quite a few of those courses round there, and although some of the new ones are good, i still prefer la manga. The courses there are more mature, more interesting, and they aren't so littered with bunkers and lakes.

Incidentally, you should try to fly to murcia if you can. It's a smaller airport, much quicker to get through and closer to the resorts. Alicante airport is a zoo at the best of times.

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Post by McLaren on Thu 09 Aug 2012, 6:11 pm

kiss
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Post by raycastleunited on Fri 10 Aug 2012, 10:27 am

shudofhita4iron wrote:ok twas bit harsh mac
bad day at office Sorry

I didn't think it was harsh Laugh

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Post by raycastleunited on Fri 10 Aug 2012, 10:36 am

George1507 wrote:Raycastle - that sounds like a good deal. I've played quite a few of those courses round there, and although some of the new ones are good, i still prefer la manga. The courses there are more mature, more interesting, and they aren't so littered with bunkers and lakes.

Incidentally, you should try to fly to murcia if you can. It's a smaller airport, much quicker to get through and closer to the resorts. Alicante airport is a zoo at the best of times.

Yes George - I get your point about La Manga. Some of the other courses in the area have an identikit feel to them, and can be a bit soul-less, sitting in the desert surrounded by half finished housing developments.

I have flown into Murcia airport before. It is much more convenient for the area but the major drawback is this generally means flying with Ryanair. I hate Ryanair... not only do they try to con you and treat you like sh*t but they don't look after golf clubs very well.

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Post by SetupDeterminesTheMotion on Fri 10 Aug 2012, 10:41 am

Rather than staying at La Torre, you should try Mar Menor. There is a lot more happening there & is a sister resort to La Torre. There are a few bars & restuarants just outside the resort, that will give you more variety than La Torre. guinness RedWine Bubbly Whisky

Also try playing Alhama Signature course, a course Jack designed himself & supposedly the best of the 6 Polaris golf courses.

Go through YGT & you can get accomodation, golf & transfers arranged quite a lot cheaper rather than trying to book it all separately. thumbsup
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Post by SetupDeterminesTheMotion on Fri 10 Aug 2012, 10:43 am

Flying to Murcia airport makes it easier.
Also Ryanair is not the only carrier in town.

Jet2 also fly in & out of Murcia from several airports in the UK.
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Post by theshanker on Fri 10 Aug 2012, 10:43 am

Hi raycastle heading out to the area mid october for a weeks golf. Las Colinas is superb (was used for the tour qualifying last year). Also played Hacienda del Alamo in April which was also good. Lo Romero is also worth a try and is good value. Played La Torre April as well place was quiet but course was busy enough. Jet 2 fly to Murcia (at least they do from Belfast). We stay at Corvera which is not opened to the public yet(November opening) the course has been playable for three years and because its not open to the public we have had three years free golf( you have to walk it though)



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Post by mystiroakey on Fri 10 Aug 2012, 12:09 pm

Portugal, not spain thumbsup

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Post by theshanker on Fri 10 Aug 2012, 12:15 pm

Or try Villaitana near Benidorm great golf courses and near the night life if you want things a bit more lively

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Post by raycastleunited on Fri 10 Aug 2012, 5:08 pm

SetupDeterminesTheMotion wrote:Rather than staying at La Torre, you should try Mar Menor. There is a lot more happening there & is a sister resort to La Torre. There are a few bars & restuarants just outside the resort, that will give you more variety than La Torre. guinness RedWine Bubbly Whisky

Also try playing Alhama Signature course, a course Jack designed himself & supposedly the best of the 6 Polaris golf courses.

Go through YGT & you can get accomodation, golf & transfers arranged quite a lot cheaper rather than trying to book it all separately. thumbsup

Thanks Setup thumbsup Very useful info on Mar Menor. Did you play the course at Mar Menor and is it any good?

Have you played Alhama? Trawling through the web brings up lots of marketing for the course, and really the housing estate, but I can't find any proper reviews or photos. It doesn't even exist on google maps as it is so new.

We are using YGT.

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Post by raycastleunited on Thu 27 Sep 2012, 1:29 pm

Just thought I would resurrect this thread as a couple of people (shanker & JAS) mentioned they had golf holidays planned. Would be interesting to hear how you guys got on!

In the end we elected to stay at Mar Menor (thanks Setup), although the courses we are playing are Alhama, El Valle, Hacienda Riquelme and Las Colinas. Anybody played these recently or stayed at Mar Menor?

Going in 3 weeks... can't wait!

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Post by mystiroakey on Thu 27 Sep 2012, 1:35 pm

I am going to Hardelot in a couple of weeks! Havent played the pins or the dune there- done almost every other one local!

Anyone played them?

Thoughts?


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Post by SetupDeterminesTheMotion on Thu 27 Sep 2012, 2:30 pm

Played Mar Menor in May, the course is a lot better now its 18 holes.

I'm biased, when I played there in May, I played really well with a bad hangover. Which in my case, usually doesn't mix. I scored 39 points.

The secret to playing well at Mar Menor is miss all the greenside bunkers. I never hit one of them, however I did hit plenty of fairway bunkers. This probably helped as from the fairway bunker, the green was out of reach. Allowing me to lay up & than hit wedge to the pin.

All the Nicklaus trail courses were hollowed tined at the beginning of September, so Ray you should be getting El Valle, Hacienda Riquelme & Alhama in peak condition.

For info on Alhama try http://golf.marmenorresort.com/en/campo/index/id/6

Enjoy your trip. thumbsup


Last edited by SetupDeterminesTheMotion on Thu 27 Sep 2012, 2:32 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : add weblink)
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Post by raycastleunited on Thu 27 Sep 2012, 2:35 pm

mystiroakey wrote:I am going to Hardelot in a couple of weeks! Havent played the pins or the dune there- done almost every other one local!

Anyone played them?

Thoughts?


Bit off topic eh? Why don't you start a new thread for this?

Mysti, I will type Mac's reply for him: "Go to Scotland instead. Why would you go to France on a golf holiday?

While I'm at it, I might as well type Super's post as well: "I hate the loathsome Woods"

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Post by McLaren on Thu 27 Sep 2012, 2:54 pm

would happily go to france on a golfing holiday. It is not packed with chavs like spain is.
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Post by super_realist on Thu 27 Sep 2012, 3:03 pm

It is Mac, French chavs. I've spent a year in France and there were millions.

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Post by McLaren on Thu 27 Sep 2012, 3:05 pm

I think the main issue with french golf is access to the best courses. There are many great golden age courses around Paris but I have been told they are very private.
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Post by mystiroakey on Thu 27 Sep 2012, 3:54 pm

Mac france is a brilliant place to go for us in the south of england- to drive to many courses around le tourquet is quicker than drivng to birmingham.

The best thing about playing golf in france is that there are so many top courses and yet none of the locals play on them- We have the courses to ourselves alot of the time.

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Post by mystiroakey on Thu 27 Sep 2012, 3:56 pm

"Why don't you start a new thread for this?"

thought i would hijack yours pal. Yours is dieing abit- Spain isnt really my cup of tea mate. Portugal or France for me.

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Post by BlueCoverman on Thu 27 Sep 2012, 5:03 pm

Played them both mysti on a number of occasions. Also the two at Le Touquet. As you say all great courses and never that busy. Even been there just for a round, but well worth it as less than an hours drive from the tunnel.

Try Belle Dune if you haven't already. Not that much more of a drive and definitely recommend a visit.

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Post by mystiroakey on Thu 27 Sep 2012, 6:09 pm

Nice cheers blue, Just praying on the weather!!

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Post by JAS on Thu 27 Sep 2012, 11:05 pm

Just finishing a short break in La Zenia, played Villa Martin, Las Colinas & La Finca, The latter was ok, the middle one was outstanding value but the former....oh dear, I'd be very surprised if its still around in 2-3 years time, it's condition was shockingly poor.

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Post by JAS on Fri 28 Sep 2012, 8:39 am

Just browsed back up the thread, Ray the only course common to both our itinerys is Las Colinas and it was certainly the highlight of our trip. The setup is 1st class (it's owned by Troon golf). Made to feel very welcome on arrival (not a given in these parts!!). Nice varied layout, a couple of really long par 5s, good mix of Par 3s. It's not overly tough but there is a fair sprinkling of water hazards.
Nice food afterwards in the bar/restaurant overlooking the 18th.

Couple of things to be aware of....we booked through a company called Sungolfer....THEY'VE GONE BUST!!! and we were all paid up. Our group organiser shelled out again each day and will be claiming back from his CC when we get home. Given that situation Las Colinas were outstanding in honouring the discounted green fee our booking agent had previously negotiated, they even threw in free buggies when they heard what had happened to us. Villa Martin on the other hand refused to let us on, the ensuing debate took us past our tee time, they reluctantly let us play the back 9 after everyone had calmed down but quite frankly we shouldn't have bothered, the place is a complete dump.

One final thing to be aware of...we were charged for a full tank of fuel for the hire car up front, it wasn't optional and it was 123 Euros. The company was Centauro, don't know if the mainstream hirers do the same thing now. Bloody rip off if you ask me.


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Post by mystiroakey on Fri 28 Sep 2012, 8:42 am

"One final thing to be aware of...we were charged for a full tank of fuel for the hire car up front, it wasn't optional and it was 123 Euros. The company was Centauro, don't know if the mainstream hirers do the same thing now. Bloody rip off if you ask me."


that is not standard JAS.

The problem seems to be that when you book on these cheap internet sites they are just middlemen and they could send you to any car hire company- Most of the time it is luck of the draw who you get

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Post by raycastleunited on Fri 26 Oct 2012, 9:48 am

Just thought I would report back following my recent trip. 4 days, 4 courses, great fun.

Accommodation - Mar Menor: Chose this resort as it seemed to have the most going on, an irish bar in the intercontenintal hotel was busy enough to keep us occupoed one night, a couple of other bars just outside the resort and local town of Alcazares 10 mins down the road had a really nice restaurant and a bar/club full of local totty. thanks to setup for the advice! Chose not to play the course there as on google maps the holes looked like a corridor through a housing estate. The holes we did see confirmed this view, with huge nets alongside the holes to stop sliced drives flying into houses. Not my cup of tea.

Day 1 - Hacienda Riquelme: A testing championship course in great condition, although the greens were a little slow. Very strategic and a different challenge to the usual wide open Spanish courses. Lots and lots of bunkers dotted around the fairways, so accuracy required off the tee. Green complexes were clearly divided into sections with several tiers and often elevated and heavily protected by bunkers. The green keeper was obviously in a cruel mood as the pins were all tucked away in corners behind bunkers, next to water or on a small shelf. Sand wedge was probably my most used club of the day! When we played here 3 years ago there was no clubhouse, now they have built a ranch style building which includes a pro shop, bar, restaurant and supermarket which doubles up as the amenities for the resort.

Day 2 - Alhama Signature: Personally designed by Jack Nicklaus and supposedly the "best" of the Nicklaus trail / Polaris world courses. The resort is huge, an absolute monster in the wilderness with row after row of high density housing (mostly empty) and a huge ugly brown lego brick shopping centre at one end that looked like it belonged in Star Wars. The course was in great condition, but long, soul-less, unimaginative and repetitive. In short a boring slog. Only one great hole: the short par 4 8th, which has a split fairway with heavy bunkering. Several different ways to play this hole, with multiple lay up points and even the chance to drive the green. The course is only a couple of years old and has just installed a portacabin clubhouse with basic facilities.

part 2 to follow...

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Post by Sand on Fri 26 Oct 2012, 12:31 pm

I played Mar Menor last year, see your points about what it looks like, but thought it was a good course actually. They played the final of the Europro golf there last year.

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Post by raycastleunited on Fri 26 Oct 2012, 12:53 pm

Right, time for part 2...

Day 3 - El Valle: Lovely desert style course with some fascinating scenery and good use of the unusual topography in the routing. Some of the holes play around rocky outcrops with caves and the fairways funnel between natural valleys. The course doesn't feel overly long but often relies on strategic thinking to place your tee shot in the right place. Having said that, it will be 6,900 yards when ET Q school comes here in 2 weeks time so it is by no means short. Favourite holes for me were 11th, a 280 yard risk/reward par 4 where you tee off from the top of a rocky hill, and 13th, a 410 yard knee trembler with OOB all the way down the right, a lake all down the left and an elevated green guarded at the front and right with a stream and cascading waterfalls. The course was in superb condition, as you would expect ahead of Q school. The holes are grouped together so you don't feel like you're playing through a housing estate. In short, I think the designer has done an excellent job here and I love the place. There is also an excellent modern club house, with a large terrace overlooking the 18th green and a lounge with big white leather sofas... very bling.

Day 4 - Las Colinas: Heading away from Murcia and up towards Alicante, Las Colinas is a new course that is targeting the premium end of the market. This place came with the JAS stamp of approval, so I was confident it would deliver. Managed by Troon golf, you get fantastic customer service and the clubhouse and facilities ooze quality. Property development is generally away from the course and is discreet, so you do get a good feeling of isolation out on some of the holes. The course is pretty long (7,000 yards off the back markers) but the main challenges for me were the significant changes in elevation on some holes and the fact that is was quite a breezy day. The course has the usual design features you expect to see on this type of layout, e.g par 5 finish with a green guarded by water in front of the clubhouse, but it also has some really original holes. My favourite was the 7th, 110 yard downhill par 3 with the green set in a dell surrounded by trees, it is reminiscent of the 3rd on the Dukes course at Woburn. My only gripe about the course was the length of the grass on the fairways. Following heavy rain in the previus days they had obviously not mown the fairways for several days to protect them with Q School coming up in 2 weeks. This meant that you got no roll on the fairways and it almost felt like you were playing out of first cut of semi rough at times.

All in all, a pretty good selection of courses, and a great trip! Thank you to everyone who helped with suggestions and advice!

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Post by raycastleunited on Fri 26 Oct 2012, 12:57 pm

Sand wrote:I played Mar Menor last year, see your points about what it looks like, but thought it was a good course actually. They played the final of the Europro golf there last year.

We didn't walk around the course, just drove past a few holes when coming in and out of the resort, so I'm sure you are right that it is probably quite a decent course. How would you compare it with the other courses in the area?

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Spain in October - any suggestions for a cheap break Empty Re: Spain in October - any suggestions for a cheap break

Post by JAS on Fri 26 Oct 2012, 1:10 pm

That's a shame about the fairways at Las Colinas Ray, we were very very fortunate weather wise in that we departed the day the torrential rain started.
If you played it of the backs then it would have been brutishly long with those conditions, you confused me a bit re the dinky little par three but the I remembered we started on the 10th so although it was our 16th it was actually the 7th. That'll make the 1st (our 10th) a very very tough opener. Indeed very tough 1st 3. Glad you enjoyed it, excellent write up by the way!!

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Post by Sand on Fri 26 Oct 2012, 1:28 pm

When we went last year we played Mar Menor, Elle Valle and Las Colinas and another which cant remember off top of my head haha.

Really enjoyed them all but especially the 3 already mentioned. Yeah totally agree with you JAS the 7th was an excellent hole on Las Colinas and 1st being a very tough opener..

Only criticism of Las Colinas, was although we were in buggies it took ages to get round (circa 5 hours) and we were playing twice.

Turned out we actually didnt really have time for a bite to eat inbetween and basically got shoved back on the course. This led to food being delivered to us in takeaway packaging for those lucky enough to have ordered by that time!

We were a bit worried to begin with when we tee'd off the 10th for our first hole of the day (shortish par 3) and the green was in terrible nick but think that was just it didnt get too much sunlight as rest of the course was in great condition.

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Spain in October - any suggestions for a cheap break Empty Re: Spain in October - any suggestions for a cheap break

Post by raycastleunited on Fri 26 Oct 2012, 4:07 pm

JAS wrote:That's a shame about the fairways at Las Colinas Ray, we were very very fortunate weather wise in that we departed the day the torrential rain started.
If you played it of the backs then it would have been brutishly long with those conditions, you confused me a bit re the dinky little par three but the I remembered we started on the 10th so although it was our 16th it was actually the 7th. That'll make the 1st (our 10th) a very very tough opener. Indeed very tough 1st 3. Glad you enjoyed it, excellent write up by the way!!

Thanks JAS.

We played it off the yellows, but the yellow markers were actually mainly on the white tee boxes on the day we played as they were seeding the yellow tees (I guess that's what happens when you play on a Monday and have greenkeepers busy all over the course). We saw greenkeepers out mowing the fairways but we missed the benefits. We started on the 10th also, and thought the 1st (our 10th) was extremely tough as an opening hole, especially as it was into a 2 club wind.

If you liked Las Colinas, I would recommend Finca Cortesin. Totally different terrain, but same designer so similar philosophy. And they treat you like royalty off the course.

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