When heading overseas for your golf, often the first thing you’d look for is convenience. Las Colinas Golf & Country Club starts with a sizeable tick in the box. Easily reached from either of two international airports – Alicante and Murcia San Javier – you arrive at Las Colinas ready to enjoy your stay, rather than exhausted from what’s felt like a formidable trek.
Las Colinas Golf & Country Club is on Spain’s Costa Blanca, a few miles inland from Playa Flamenca and just south of the town of Alicante, in Campoamor. Surrounded by mature forest pines, rugged hills, and traditional orange groves, the estate designers have succeeded in developing an impressive modern facility while allowing the natural beauty of this lovely region of Spain to continue to steal the show. Here you can breathe and escape, and at the same time know you’re never very far away from the luxuries of modern living.
The course itself is a championship standard design by Cabell B. Robinson, a golf architect with pedigree having created some of the best modern courses in Continental Europe and Morocco, including the likes of Finca Cortesin and Aphrodite Hills. His designs are characterised by wide fairways, subtly undulating putting surfaces, and expansive bunkers, and at Las Colinas they are evident throughout the highly-rated course. This is all that’s great about playing golf in Spain – fabulous scenery, very well-conditioned fairways and greens (it’s managed by the best in the game, Troon Golf, so you know what to expect), an enjoyable and rewarding layout that isn’t overly penal, and, of course, glorious Mediterranean sunshine!
As evidence of its playability (whether aspiring Tour professional or complete beginner), Las Colinas has hosted the second stage of European Tour Qualifying on three occasions, but has five separate tees per hole, so you can play it at a length to suit your game. The wide fairways and sensible length rough make for perfect resort golf, too, as do the greens that don’t have any “buried elephants” likely to leave a newcomer to the game wondering how they’ll ever get the ball in the hole.
That’s not to say the course is a pushover, far from it. The bunkers are expansive and consistently in range, so you’ll either need to be competent from the sand or a very straight hitter, and most likely both. But, irrespective of their challenge, the bunkering adds to the overall aesthetic of what is a very pretty course.
Away from the course, Las Colinas offers all the facilities you would expect from a contemporary resort. The holiday villas and apartments are excellent, and importantly don’t intrude on the golf course as they do, regrettably, at so many resorts today where it’s become clear that the property is the developer’s priority not the golfing experience.
The clubhouse has a very welcoming terrace as well as a fantastic enso sushi bar for those wanting more formal dining. And just outside the clubhouse there are tennis and paddle courts, as well as a gym, and first-class golf practice facilities, with grass driving range, short game area, and putting green.
Holes #7 & 8
The par three 7th proves the old adage that a good par three needn’t be long. Measuring a mere 111 metres (122 yards) from the back tees, it descends from an elevated tee towards a long but narrow green, testing your accuracy with even the very shortest of clubs. Visually it’s a delight, pine trees creating something of an amphitheatre that suddenly tightens your swing when you’ve been enjoying the freedom of an expansive landscape elsewhere on the course.
The eighth tee is elevated in this same area of trees, but the hole heads down towards a bottleneck fairway no more than a few yards wide in places before playing to a narrow putting green with severe run-offs on the right hand side. Not a hole to get twitchy on! If you are unlucky enough to find yourself fiddling about amongst the fairway bunkers and the strategically awkward trees, you’ll need the very best of recovery skills to keep your scorecard intact.
Threading a drive past the water and between the plethora of bunkers seems to be the hardest part of the par four 13th hole, but the rolling fairway and large greenside bunker that creeps into vision for the approach shot mean that the second can be just as tricky. It’s a strong sweeping dogleg right, where par is an achievement. Avoiding the fairway bunkers and putting well on the vast green are the keys to scoring well here.
For the longer hitter, avoiding the fairway bunkers with your drive on the final hole will almost certainly leave you with a decision on going for the green in two. It’s classic par five “risk and reward” territory, with the green tucked just beyond a large water hazard lining the entire right-hand-side of the fairway. Laying up doesn’t leave a particularly easy approach either, courtesy of a few humps and hollows on and around the putting green, and with an audience watching on from the clubhouse terrace it’s a fine grandstand finish to the round.
Las Colinas Golf & Country Club offers the blueprint for how modern golf courses should be built. Fun to play, accommodating to all, and with high-quality facilities, it’s an ideal venue for those looking to play and stay on-site. Whether you’re a group of golfers seeking some serious sunshine golfing or just a golfer looking for a family destination where you can squeeze in a game or two, Las Colinas certainly fits the bill.
There is no doubting the quality of the course either, with Golf World ranking it well within their Top 100 Courses in Continental Europe in both 2012 & 2014. It’s a golf course where water and sand come in to play on nearly every hole, yet do so without being knee-tremblingly intimidating. And there’s variety, with doglegs in both directions, short and long par threes, par fives that are true “three shotters” and those that deliver those wonderfully heart-pounding go-for-it moments. All flanked by picturesque pines and rocky Spanish terrain that help to transport you from the trials and tribulations of life. It’s a first-class destination.