I approached this course with some anxiety after reading reviews of being unplayable for the average golfer but my wife and I were blown away by it. She plays off ten and I'm off 14, so we played off yellow and red tees on the first day. From these tees the course is quite short and you have to plot your way round to keep the ball in play and not run out of fairway. On many holes there are carries from tee to fairway and again from fairway to green, most of which sit above the surrounding terrain. The 18th is the toughest. You need to drive down the left side here to get a good line into the green. But we loved every minute. Like chess with sticks! After day one, I played off the whites and my wife off yellows. Less chance of running out of fairway and a wonderful test. The course is more demanding from further back, but you can use the driver a bit more. I only used it once on day one so was able to use more of the bag from the whites, as was my wife from the yellows. She switched to the whites on16 which also makes the hole better, though there is a 180 yard carry over a lagoon to the fairway. New touch screen sat nav was fitted in the buggies on day three. Use it! You can't just pull out the driver here and blast away, especially off the yellows! I agree with some reviews which say the greens are difficult to hold. I expected them to be receptive as they are around Marbella, but they are quite firm and most are table top with close mown run off areas. So if your abilities are limited like mine, you have to devise a strategy and execute it. This might be to drop it short and try to chip close, or to go with more loft and try to single putt. I birdied the 9th playing it as a three shotter and my wife made par on 11 which beat me up every day. Perhaps it's called "Round the Bend" for a reason. We had intended to play other courses while we were there, but couldn't drag ourselves away. We've played lots of good courses- Valderrama, Muirfield, The Old Course, Wentworth- but this is right up there. Lots of the unfairness has been taken out with the removal of volcanic outcrops from the fairways and we would now say its tough but fair. My wife switched to a Pro v1 to get more stop on the ball and this helped on the greens. If you can control a high spin ball off the tee (I struggle a bit with the driver with these) it will help you stop it on the greens. I hindsight, I would have brought a mixture instead of all NXT Tour. Ball count? We lost 24 after 10 rounds, mostly mine trying different approaches to one or two of these magnificent golf holes.
And the views from almost every hole are simply stunning. Even when I lost the plot for a moment, I was taking snaps before the next green. And I've never seen a flagstick cast no shadow but I did here! Strangely, I didn't suffer from the heat like I do in Spain! My Mauritian friend tells me it's the purity of the air. But the factor 50 was very useful.
In short. Miss this and you miss a rare gem in our view.
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