Area guide: Costa Blanca, SpainJuly 13, 2018 Courses and Travel
Chris Bertram travelled to Spain's Mediterranean coastline to see what the fuss is about
Cabell Robinson has been one of the most impressive architects in continental Europe in recent times, responsible for success stories at Finca Cortesin and Praia D’El Rey.
He is an expert at making the most of the site he is given, and Las Colinas is another tick on his CV; it is one of the most impressive modern ‘resort’ courses on the continent with uncommon cleverness, consistency and variety.
It is routed in two spacious loops, with impressive scale and holes well away from the high-end residences that surround the perimeter. Water plays a part as you might expect but don’t pin this down as ‘just another’ muscular resort course – it has a good deal more charm than that.
Cute par 3s mix with robust ones and reachable par 5s follow stringent two-shotters, with a lovely flow to the sequence of holes; you never feel like you are constantly ‘hitting’ or indeed struggling to get with fiddly shorter tests.
What Robinson has done especially well is design this for the average golfer. That sounds like an obvious thing to do, given average golfers will form 99.9 per cent of the rounds here (it hosts some pro events too). Yet this is not always the case, and many modern courses are created for the pros in mind first. Here, though, everything is tailored to the 18-handicapper not the +5 player.
So Robinson’s prime focus was on how the course works from the Yellow tees, which add up to a very appealing 6,226 yards. The White tees at 6,653 yards are also very playable but there is also a set of Blacks that takes it over 7,000.
You get ‘breather’ holes between the stiffer ones, and even on those more exacting tests you are usually presented with a tantalising chance for glory, where a big carry or a brave line will reap rich reward. Las Colinas loves to try to tempt you into attempting spectacular shots.
There is minimal rough but plenty of water hazards to lose balls in, and there are lots of bunkers to avoid.
The 14th starts a run for home where only the penultimate hole does not strongly feature water.
Did you know?
Las Colinas has recently opened a new short-game academy, with advice from former Ryder Cup player Miguel Angel Jimenez.
Add another 18
The 54 holes of the original super resort at La Manga are 45 minutes from Las Colinas. We prefer the West – tight and tricky but enormously entertaining – here, but you’ll also have fun on the North and be tested by the feted South.
Costa Blanca travel guide continues on the next page…