Las Brisas

Las Brisas

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Course Information

Las Brisas was founded in 1968 by Madrid entrepreneur José Banus and originally known as ‘Nueva Andalucia’.

With hotels and a marina backing up the new course, the second in the area after Sotogrande Old, it was an instant magnet for the great and the good.

In 1970 Prince Rainier, Princess Grace of Monaco and Karim Aga Khan attended the inauguration gala and were entertained by a young Julio Iglesias.

That was the start of Las Brisas’ dalliances with celebrity, which continued with everyone from Bing Crosby to General Franco treading its fairways.

It has also staged two World Cups – Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller winning in 1973, Australians Peter Fowler and Wayne Grady in 1989 – and numerous tournaments, most memorably when Nick Faldo edged out Seve Ballesteros in the 1987 Spanish Open.

After his visit, Paul Azinger said, “There is not a single bad hole in Las Brisas. Indeed it is one of the finest courses on which I have been able to play.”

These plants, trees and bushes characterise the playing experience at Las Brisas. The whole site is tightly mown,miso you only lose your ball if it finds water, or the middle of a bush.

Las Brisas also has a superstar architect back in the 60s. It was American Robert Trent Jones – the prominent designer of the time – who Banus commissioned to lay out his course near Marbella.

RTJ, who was actually born in Ince-in-Makerfield in Lancashire to Welsh parents, and arrived in Andalucia having already made his mark in the US at Peachtree, Winged Foot, Congressional and Baltusrol.

He predictably produced a classic course, and one that has always looked as good as it played as a result of Banus commissioning English landscaper Gerald Huggan to give a round here the feeling of playing  in a botanical garden. Huggan was an expert in subtropical plants having designed Nairobi gardens in Kenya so he brought plants and trees in from all corners of the world to introduce colour to a site that because part course, part arboretum.

These plants, trees and bushes characterise the playing experience at Las Brisas. The whole site is tightly mown,miso you only lose your ball if it finds water, or the middle of a bush.

So, after Phillips’ initial work on the front nine was well received, the club made deeper incisions on the back nine; new tees, repositioned green complexes, new bunkers and fundamental routing alterations to the last five.

Instead of rough, Las Brisas gets its teeth from 10 lakes, two streams, plenty of bunkers, but most notably by super-slick, generally raised greens with significant movement.

On and around the greens, Las Brisas is a real test.

It is an even better course than the one I first played five years ago, because the club engaged Kyle Phillips, an RTJ protege, to give the course a facelift that led to a little more invasive surgery.

The advance of golf club technology and in the residences surrounding the course made it necessary to make more significant alterations.

So, after Phillips’ initial work on the front nine was well received, the club made deeper incisions on the back nine; new tees, repositioned green complexes, new bunkers and fundamental routing alterations to the last five.

At 10 and 11 the greens have been pulled forward slightly to allow for softer slopes surrounding the complex on the par 4 and for it to sit closer to lake edge on the intimidating, exciting short hole that follows.

Now a par 5, the slightly uphill approach to a green that sits beautifully in the hillside plays beyond the existing pond to a large lay-up area left of the old 16th green.

The first set of bunkers have been removed on the par-5 12th and three added further down, while a rebuilt green has been moved to encourage long hitters to have a dart in two, yet with the water looming large. Both 13 and 14 have been moved away from surrounding residences into the centre of the site, with olive trees transplanted to act as a shield.

It is now the most significant work is unveiled. Houses on right and its acute dog-leg had long been a problem on the 15th, so its drive has been straightened, with the landing area now just beyond the old 15th’s green site.

Now a par 5, the slightly uphill approach to a green that sits beautifully in the hillside plays beyond the existing pond to a large lay-up area left of the old 16th green. This lengthening also allows the course to return to a par 72

The 16th, the course’s shortest hole, now plays downhill towards the clubhouse with the existing lake right of the green, while the tough par-4 17th plays in the opposite direction to the old hole. Chris Bertram

 

Information

Robert Trent Jones, Kyle Phillips

+34 95 281 08 75

Apdo. de Correos 147 , Nueva Andalucía , Marbella , Spain , 29660