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The CRoKs Trophy took place over 3 days in May. Contesting the trophy, which was designed and handmade by Colin, was Colin, Rob and Ken. 3 golf courses were played, Valle del Este, Aguilon and Marina Golf. The winner of the competition was Colin, Second place was Rob and last Ken.
All the courses played are in great shape, in particular, the greens at Marina Golf are now as good as any I have played in the region.
This golf course can only be described as akin to a tardis. Reached by turning off the Mojacar Playa seafront and fortunately on the day we played we were able to park right outside the door. I have seen other reviews that complain about lack of parking, unable to find the course, unfriendly reception, old unreliable buggy's etc. etc. Well perhaps the authors of said reviews had had a bad round, we experienced none of these problems, however I guess parking could be a issue on very busy days. There is parking about 150yds away near the tennis/football pitches.
Reception staff fine, good English spoken but the left-handed set of clubs for our south paw player were a bit dated. I believe there is a new course director at the Marina and he is addressing some of the issues raised previously by others. There were many brand new buggies parked at reception and the superb condition of the greens was evidence of the work already undertaken.
The first few holes are a bit flat and straight, a rarity in Spain, but once you climb the hill behind the apartments you realise what I meant about being tardis like! The course just opens up and you have to wonder how an 18 hole golf course can be constructed in a compact area. The signature hole must be the 4th. You have to take a driver here to carry the cliff face and reach the fairway. The hole is about 500yds long and seems to drop the same from tee to fairway, wonderful. Some fairways were dry with bare patches (late May) but work is in progress with a watering system, with very little rain in June thru to August this will be vital. Don’t let me put you off playing this course, yes it still needs a bit of tlc but it is still a good test, not as much as Valle del Este nor Aquillon, but this is reflected in the cost of a round. There is far less rough to claim your off centre hits so it’s more than possible to finish with the same ball you started with and if you are staying in Mojacar its only 5mins away. Give it a try, its enjoyable, the views are fabulous over the Med from more than half the holes. When we played, it was the proverbial millionaires golf, we hardly saw another player.
Ps The tower hole, the 13th, be careful if you try to drive the green, it’s about 250yds long but out of sight and the line is over the tower but it’s quite high , too high for one of our party who managed to rattle a tile or two. Lay up on the left, chip on and down in 2 for a par.
This is a big hotel golf complex with ample parking, easy to find off the main Mojacar to Garrucha road. Golfing in Spain for the first time and arriving at Valle del Este could be slightly intimidating but the reception is friendly and efficient although we did encounter a bit of English/Spanish language issue (one off I’m sure). With 20 mins till our pre-booked tee off slot we ventured to the practice putting green. Wow, wasn’t expecting that! The slightest tap sent the ball off at 50 mph and 20 yds past the hole. If this is typical of the course greens then a quick readjustment is needed. Buggy's loaded it’s on to the 1st tee, this is when you realise that a straight and long drive is required, all three of our drives were lost. We did improve but often chose to lay up rather than go for the big one and risk a lost ball. The course was in fabulous condition (late May), lush fairways, greens that held a pitch but were very fast too. Lots of water round the course, usually in play and if you didn’t find the fairway it was usually a lost ball. As with all Spanish golf courses venturing off the fairway to find your ball can be painful, rocks, thistles, prickly bushes, snakes and big drops, take the penalty and play another ball it’s safer. Good scores can be had by laying up as any shot coming up short is usually in trouble. At the end of the round the 3 of us had lost 7 balls each. Tip, high handicap players take at least dozen balls in your bag. Also take plenty of water although there is a refreshment buggy travelling round, fair prices too.
We all agreed Valle del Este is a fabulous golf course, it was busy and we waited on most tees but not excessive and it didn’t spoil the day, a buggy is essential as the course is hilly and some tees are a distance from the previous green. Care with club selection and choosing to lay up would return a better card. Play it, you will not be disappointed.
This golf course is situated almost in the mountains above the coastal town of Aquilas. It is quite difficult to find as the area is still under development, best option is a sat nav. Parking is not a problem and reception is efficient. The girl on duty (excellent English spoken) sorted out a good set of left-handed clubs for one of our guys. A bottle of chilled water is provided (as with all courses we played), a nice touch. The compulsory buggy was loaded, on to tee No1 and as usual lots of water to avoid. The course was in great condition (late May), even in the hot dry conditions we experienced the fairways were soft enough to take a divot, obviously as a result of good course management and adequate irrigation. Many holes required you to carry ravines, not too demanding on par4/5s where you could usually layup, but on par3’s, accuracy and right club choice is absolutely vital. The signature hole could be the 9th, there are 2 ravines to carry however you need to shoot a 220m drive, that’s 240 yds in English! Possibly best to pitch between the two ravines and play down the left avoiding the lake on the right. A great hole. Straight shots are rewarded as off fairway hits usually resulted in a lost ball for the same reasons as Valle del Este. A more sensible approach to the days golf resulted in far fewer lost balls due to better club selection, realistic carry distances and avoiding the numerous ravines/water hazards. We had no holdups on the day we played although there were societies in front and behind us, good planning by course officials? who knows?
Great course with some fabulous views of the Med in the distance and the nearby mountains. Hire a buggy due to the hilly terrain, take extra water and a few spare balls and enjoy. After your round have a beer and snack in the delightful little cafe bar overlooking the 18th whilst you discuss what could have been!
A late Friday night discussion among friends led to a last-minute golfing week for three guys. A trawl on the tinterweb with skyscanner found return flights Manchester to Almeria for around £60. With only 6kg hand luggage allowance (and that included 2kg worth of golf balls!), we arrived at Ken and Helens apartment on a lovely warm Sunday afternoon in late May. A quick tour of the accommodation found a spacious lounge/kitchen area, fully fitted with all essentials, lounge has sofa bed for an extra person, two bedrooms, a twin and double both with wardrobe and drawer units, good size bathroom with ample hot water for showers and topped off with a large wrap round balcony area with sofas and table, chairs for that all important alfresco dining whilst overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. A nice touch is a secure storage room which is very useful for golf equipment and loungers etc. and keeps the main apartment free of clutter etc., important when a family is holidaying there.
Situated up a hill from the main Mojacar seafront, ensures a peaceful location, boasting three pools for just splashing in the shallows or serious swimming all set in neat well kept grass garden areas having resident access only. Five minutes walk downhill is the seafront with every type of cuisine you could wish for and a good selection of bars, some British owned, The Cave bar and Lemon Barrel being two closest, always a few Brits having a beer so it’s easy to strike up a conversation. One good thing about the restaurants is their daily special meal deal, this is usually 2 courses sometimes with a drink included, great value. The weather in late May was perfect, about 26 *C during the day and 18* or so in the evening. There were many sun worshippers on the beach during the day although stretching for around 7km it does not get crowded ! Ken and Helen have a lovely spacious apartment in a pleasant area and close enough to enjoy the nightlife, try it