The West course at La Manga Club was nominated by Colin on the 28th March 2007 for inclusion in the “Your Gems” section of the website. Since then the West course has moved from Your Gems and become a ranked Spanish course but we’ve left Colin’s original nomination article intact, as we liked it so much:
The West course is without doubt the jewel in the crown of La Manga Club. It is a beautiful course, well manicured and with marvellous scenery all around. It has an amazing variety of holes, each one presenting a different challenge; only the 11th and the 14th are what one might call ‘samey’.
However, as my playing partners and I have come to realise, ‘the West course giveth, and the West course taketh away’. Whilst being an angel on the eye, it is a brute on the score. You really have to be on top of your game, manage the course well and have a bit of luck on the way as well, any bad shot is punished severely. Buy a Stroke Saver and five extra golf balls before you start.
I could describe every hole to you, they all offer something very different, but I’ll just pick out a few real gems. By the way, each par three bar one has a Stroke Index of less than 10! I’ve not known that at many courses.
The 3rd (par five) deserves a mention for its challenging tee shot, horrendous ravine and tucked away green. The 5th is a brute of a tee shot considering its SI, it really is quite a narrow target. The 6th is the first hole where you can get the driver out. The pearl of the front nine however, is the 9th, with an uphill tee shot (and I mean uphill) the hole then bends at right angles down hill to a huge green protected by a ravine to the front and lake at the back. It’s a real devil of a hole to ‘manage’. But it does present an eagle opportunity.
If you feel a little punch drunk by the turn and deflated by something like just 12 points, beware the back nine, the holes just get better and better… and to some degree tougher. The 10th is a complete horror off the back tees, and then it’s up and down the mountains taking on the tough 12th and a horrid par three 13th that is as pleasing on the eye as it is punishing on the score card. The course concludes with probably the loveliest four consecutive holes I know. The 15th is a gorgeous par five with some well-placed trees along the centre of the fairway making shot selection an interesting task. The 16th is a brute of a par three with absolutely no room for error at all. There is only one place to put the ball, on the green, anywhere else is just a war zone.
The 17th must have been a hole designed by five different people and then glued together. If ever there was a reason for buying a stroke saver then this is it. But nevertheless it’s lovely, and a joy to par. It is merely a prelude however, to everybody’s favourite La Manga moment. The 18th tee is a bit of a trek up a hill, and after a slog round the West course one could do without that, but the reward at the end is worth it. You are greeted with a tee at the top of a small mountain overlooking the 18th fairway and the landscape spreads out in front of you beyond the course and out across the La Manga complex, the countryside and then to the sea a few miles distant. It is a lovely view and an intimidating tee shot. It’s a place to get the big shiny driver out, tee it high and let rip. A 200-yard carry to a wide, wide fairway beckons. It is a great finishing hole to a great course.
The West course is about a half mile from the main complex and it has its own clubhouse and bar. Without doubt the best of the three courses, but also without doubt the hardest. If you are an 18 plus handicapper don’t go near it unless you can happily exchange a low stableford points score for the sake of some lovely scenery.
Colin’s general view of La Manga:
The La Manga complex presents three lovely courses which all have their own character and each offer a different challenge to suit all handicaps. The resort benefits from a well-run shuttle bus service and an attention to course care that always ensures the holes are in good condition.
I would recommend La Manga to anybody who wanted an easy weekend of golf ‘on the doorstep’. It’s probably not the cheapest place to play, then again it’s not the dearest either, but the accommodation is reasonably priced and of high quality.
The resort has a nice driving range and good putting and short game practice areas. The shop is well stocked, and a very pleasant man on a buggy is always whizzing around selling drinks and cheese and ham rolls to a lot of very thirsty golfers. I think it’s a great place.