The Championship course at La Manga Club, (South) is probably one of the finest tests of golf one can find in the Costa Blanca area.At 7,140 yards from the White Tees it’s accepted as a top calibre championship course, it also provides a thorough test both for the scratch player and right across the handicap range both for men and women.
Located in the centre of the valley, with wide palm-fringed fairways and water hazards that come into play on 15 of the 18 holes, the South Course holds a few hidden dangers with many very challenging golf shots to play. There are many strategically positioned water hazards and bunkers which will certainly punish any wayward shots, so take plenty of golf balls with you. Course Designer :originally designed by Robert Putman in 1971 and subsequently remodelled in 1992 by Arnold Palmer, La Manga South golf Course was completely refurbished in 2004.
Hole 1 Par 4, 394 Metres,
The opening hole on the South Championship Course is one of the longest Par 4´s on the course and plays slightly uphill. From the tee it looks like a wide open fairway but watch out for the bunker down the left side as it can come into play. Also watch out for the water down the right hand side, you must take an aggressive line straight down the centre of the fairway which narrows to only 20m wide. Players finding the bunker will certainly have to opt to lay up short of the green, as even a decent drive finding the fairway, will leave players with a long testing approach. The green is slightly elevated and the bottom of the Flag can be obscured from view. There are green side bunkers to the front right and back left but there is room around the green to get up and down to save Par. There are some tricky borrows when putting from distance. Overall, players will be relieved to walk off with a Par.
Hole 2 Par 3, 197 Metres,
The “short” second is officially the easiest hole on the course at Stroke Index 18. You have to carry the ball all the way to the putting surface to clear the green side bunkers (front left) . Anything too long could find the bunker behind the green but players must avoid the water hazard down the right hand side as if you slice it will come into play. Anything short of the green side bunkers should find a good lie and offer you a chance to make Par.
Hole 3 Par 4, 358 Metres,
From the tee this hole plays slightly up hill and you have to clear water miss the left hand fairway bunker in order to find the ideal position off the tee. The landing area is only 25m wide and with a smaller bunker down the right hand side you will require an accurate drive to avoid trouble. The green is still reachable from either fairway Bunker but a good lie is essential in order to carry between 160 and 120 metres all the way to the putting surface. With three green side bunkers, if you find your self out of position you may be tempted to lay up and trust the old lob wedge. A good drive to the middle of the fairway will leave most players with a medium iron approach shot. There is little margin for error for any players missing the green, so a good short game will be required.
Hole 4 Par 5, 460 Metres,
The first of the Par 5´s requires another accurate drive in order to avoid two fairway bunkers down the left hand side and a larger bunker down the right hand side, this hole plays as a slight dog leg to the left. A wayward drive to the right, may also find a water hazard. Again the landing area is narrow at only 20 metres wide, players looking to clear the left hand fairway bunkers must carry their drive at least 200 metres from the yellow tee. Longer players will hope to leave an approach under 200 metres to attack the pin. However, with a water hazard protecting the front of the green, a fully committed and confident approach shot will be required to find the putting surface in two. Players can be aggressive as beyond the water, there are no bunkers to deal with. Players not in position “A” off the tee, should lay up and leave a comfortable distance to attack the green and secure a birdie opportunity.
Hole 5 Par 3, 201 Metres,
With some Out Of bounds down the left hand side and a water hazard down the right players require a solid tee shot to find the green. There is a large bunker protecting the front right of the green but anything long off the tee could run down a steep slope leaving a difficult blind pitch. Anything short of the green should find a good lie and offer players a chance to make par.
Hole 6 Par 5, 537 Metres,
This is a superb par 5, from the yellow tee its 515 metres long and plays as a slight dog leg to the left. Its Stroke Index 2 and if played as a conservative par 5, most players can reach the green in three shots. With a well hit drive off the tee it is possible to pick up a slight down slope which will shoot the ball further down the fairway. There’s a fairway bunker down the left hand side which is blind from the tee and two further fairway bunkers down the right hand side. For the long hitters the line is to cut the corner and drive over the left hand fairway bunker, if you find the fairway with your drive the green is on in two shots. Lesser mortals need to aim about 20m left of the right hand bunkers to find a favourable bounce down the fairway. The key to this hole is your second shot. The safe shot here is to hit down the middle left to open up the green for your third shot to the pin, watch out for the bunker to the left and the water hazard down the right hand side.This will leave a testing approach from about 140 metres to a tight and well protected green. The aggressive play, is to lay up between the fairway bunker and the water with your second shot. With the fairway only 20m wide, players will bring both hazards into play but a confident shot will leave players with a short iron approach to the green. A forward pin position should be ignored as the shape of the green and the encroaching green side bunkers will come into play. Players should opt to find the middle or back of the green and settle for two Putts to make par.
Hole 7 Par 4, 372 Metres,
From the tee this slight dog leg right is narrowed by a fairway bunker down the right hand side and pine trees down the left. A good straight drive down the fairway will leave you a medium short iron onto the green. Players missing the fairway on either side could find their line to the green blocked by pine trees and because of the shape of the hole, longer players could flirt with a water hazard down the left hand side. The green is protected by a small bunker to the front right but any approach missing the green should find a decent lie and encourage you to hit a firm pitch to make par.
Hole 8 Par 4, 359 Metres,
This hole is a slight dog leg left and requires an accurate tee shot. You can opt to be aggressive from the tee or play safe to find the fairway. Players taking the more aggressive route from the tee require to carry over the left hand fairway bunker. Anything pushed too far right could bring the opposite fairway bunker into play. The reward is a short second shot but you should also take into account the pine trees down the left hand side. Players opting to lay up will need to play to the right of the left hand fairway bunker. An accurate tee shot will leave a medium iron approach to the green which is heavily protected by three bunkers running left to right across the front of the green. You should aim for the middle of the green with your second shot as there are some tricky borrows on this green, the pin position can be key to making Par.
Hole 9 Par 5, 503 Metres,
The 9th hole is a par 5 dog leg left. The ideal drive is to cut the corner by taking an aggressive line over the left hand fairway bunker. You will need to carry the ball about 220 metres (241 yards) over the bunker to find the fairway or alternatively you can take a more conservative line and play down to the corner of the dog leg. This option will bring into play all three fairway bunkers one left and two on the right if you stray from the fairway. It is possible for longer players to leave under 210 metres to take on the green in two but watch out for the bunkers short front and the large one to the right side of the green. Most players opting to take the green side bunkers out of play, will lay up to about 75 metres creating an opportunity to attack the pin and create a good birdie chance.
Hole 10 Par 4, 342 Metres,
From the tee this is a tight dog leg left. There is little room for a driver unless players want to risk all and take on the direct route over the trees and out of bounds (Driving Range) down the left hand side. If you do find the fairway you will land just short of the green, you will have little more than a sandwedge to the pin. The conservative option is to play to the corner of the dog leg. There is plenty of room down the middle right of this fairway but watch out for the bunker down the left hand side. Your approach shot from the corner should only be a short to mid iron to the green. The green is quite generous but protected by two green side bunkers to the front and front left. Anything missing right or long should leave a chance to make par.
Hole 11 Par 4, 360 Metres,
This is an excellent par 4, with only one fairway bunker down the right side just short of the water. However anything out of position from the tee will leave you with either a tough approach over a water hazard or you will have to opt to lay up short of the water. A drive missing the fairway down the right hand side will leave a long carry over the water to a slightly elevated green. Likewise, if you miss the fairway down the left hand side, you will again have to clear the corner of the water hazard in order to find the putting surface. The ideal drive on this very slight dog leg left (then right) is to take a line of about 15 to 20 metres left of the main fairway bunker and although a tricky approach, take out a short to mid iron and feel confident in hitting the green. If in doubt, check the pin position and if necessary, lay up and trust your short game to make par.
Hole 12 Par 3, 141 Metres,
After the toughest par 4 on the golf course , you can relax slightly. This is the shortest hole on the South Course and a tricky one. There are two green side bunkers one left and one at the back and a water hazard, front and right. With a short iron, you should feel confident of finding the putting surface. With the green running from front left to back right, the pin position could catch some players out so club selection is key to making par or going for birdie.
Hole 13 Par 5, 550 Metres,
This is a very long par 5 and you will need to avoid the two large bunkers on both sides of the fairway. This hole is a slight dog leg left and the ideal drive should land between or beyond the two hazards. Again the fairway is quite narrow but a good drive finding the right hand side of the fairway may choose to have a go for the green in two, but players will generally opt to lay up short of the second set of fairway bunker down the left and right hand side. From about 75 metres your approach to the green is protected by two green side bunkers, one at the front left and the other back left. The green is slightly tiered so you need to find the same level as the pin to avoid a potential three putt.
Hole 14 Par 4, 340 Metres,
From the tee you must find the middle left side of this fairway and avoiding landing in the huge 140 metre long fairway bunker which runs up to the front edge of the green. The fairway is narrow and from the tee you should be hitting a long iron or fairway wood to avoid the bunker to the right side. There is some room down the left hand side if you miss the fairway but with several pine trees watch out as your line to the green could be impeded. Players finding the large bunker will have a difficult approach and a good lie is essential to hitting the green in regulation. The green itself is narrow, presenting a small target from back down the fairway. There is also a green side bunker to the front left. However, at 47 metres deep, you can afford to be aggressive on your approach shot in order to take the bunker out of play. A front pin position can realistically only be attacked from a favourable drive.
Hole 15 Par 4, 397 Metres,
Yet another cracking par 4 on this South Championship Course and it requires two excellent shots to find the putting surface in regulation. There are two fairway bunker one each side and you have to thread an excellent drive between both bunkers in order to find the ideal position. The gap is narrow and players finding either fairway bunker will almost certainly have to lay up short. The approach is over a small ravine to a green which is well protected by three green side bunkers. From the fairway, the target area looks very small, so a long drive will ease the pressure. If you get out of position at this hole you will have to opt to lay up just short of the ravine and hope to scramble a Par. A Bogey is no disgrace at this tough hole.
Hole 16 Par 4, 358 Metres,
This relatively long dog leg right requires a well placed tee shot. You may opt to take a fairway wood or long Iron from the tee in order to take the two fairway bunkers out of play, including the water hazard which will catch a long drive. Playing short of the bunkers will leave you with about 120 metres (131 yards) to the centre of green. Your approach shot is over water to a largely unprotected green. The are two green side bunkers to the rear but realistically these should not come into play. Players finding a good position on the fairway should feel confident to attack the pin and make an easy par.
Hole 17 Par 3, 178 Metres,
This large green is protected by three bunkers, one down the left hand side, one at the rear and the third bunker protecting the front. The right hand side of this hole is protected from tee to green by a large water hazard. With little margin for error, club selection is key to making par. If you miss the green from the tee you will need a good short game to recover.
Hole 18 Par 5, 452 Metres,
This final hole is a classic par 5, long enough to cause many problems from the tee, yet short enough to tempt a few players to attack the green in two. From the tee, the hole shapes slightly from left to right but predominantly its a dog leg left. A drive blocked right will find the water hazard or likewise to the left a large fairway bunker. (You can also flirt with another water hazard behind this left hand Bunker). The ideal drive is to take a line slightly right of the fairway bunker where you can carry the ball to a large landing area. Longer hitters will be tempted to go for the green in two but even with 160 metres (175 yards) to the green, your approach shot is extremely demanding. You have to carry the ball all the way to the putting surface in order to avoid the green side bunkers which almost completely surround this green. Anything falling short of the green, within 50m (55 yards) will land in a rocky ravine. The conservative approach shot is to lay up short of the ravine, avoiding the second fairway bunker down the right hand side. With a wedge in hand, you should feel confident in hitting the green in three and finishing with a birdie or good par.
When playing the South course, I suggest hiring a buggy, as the built-in satellite navigation system will tell you the distance from your ball to the front and middle of all the greens,as well as a diagram of the fairways and all hazards. The greens here are large, very fast and true as a Championship course should be. The fairways are smooth short and very easy to hit the ball from which helps stop the ball on the greens. The South Course has been the venue for many major professional tournaments; Spanish Opens (both ladies and mens), PGA Championships and Qualifying Schools for both the mens and ladies European Tours. In addition, it remains the firm favourite of many companies throughout the world as the perfect venue for their corporate events.
Facilities include: Pro Shop, putting green, driving range, bar, restaurant.Pitch and putt, mini golf, tennis, squash, casino and hotel.
Our rating 5 out of 5
This 18 hole review was written by Steven Franchi.
Location: La Manga
18 Holes | Par 72 | 6499 metres
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