Golf Club D'Aro was originally nominated as a GEM by Nick and was added to the site in January 2008. Nick’s comments follow:
“The views from D’Aro are stunning as it sits right on the top of a mountain. It has varying holes that play alongside the edge of this as well as two holes which play directly up and down the side. I played here four years ago and love it so much I am planning on going back next year to that region just because of that course (and maybe PGA Catalunya too). I would recommend this for anyone they would not be disappointed.”
Designed by Ramon Espinosa and opened in 1992, the course at Golf Club D'Aro sits in the Gavarres Mountains, 300 metres above the tourist resort of Platja d'Aro, overlooking the Costa Brava coastline in the northeastern corner of Spain.
Encircled by a mix of pine, cork oak and olive trees, the course is routed along and over some deep ravines where anything straying from the fairway is lost forever – little wonder the club have a local rule allowing such hazards to be considered as lateral water, improving the playability of the course for higher handicapped players.
D'Aro has a par of 72 and it can play as long as 6,800 yards from the back markers, with two large irrigation lakes coming into play at a couple of holes on the card.
Distance is not the main obstacle to scoring well on this spectacular and challenging course though – plot your way round to have any hope of playing just the one sleeve of balls!
To play the course here at Mas Nou there is a pretty tough 20 minute journey uphill with the course around 300 metres above the main roads but it is well worth the effort as there are some spectacular holes and very impressive views.
This is a very technical course in terms of accuracy from the tee and getting your ball in the correct positions. As a design the course is very good indeed, the problems that golfers will see at the moment is that the conditioning, presentation and everything that goes with making a course look good do need some attention. These issues can be fixed and but the course does need some extra care. I believe that the club are to attend to this soon with the 94 bunkers being first on the list for a makeover - a very sensible decision. The last thing that a club/course needs are comments about looking a little untidy as this really should a basic thing.
The course opens up with two tough par-4's both with a slight left to right feel with the 2nd requiring a drive over one of the course lakes. The first par-3 is at the 3rd; a strong downhill hole with a huge green. The next hole is the first par-5, that's sweeps downhill and then uphill to the green with the main trouble being the fairway bunkers and a severe drop off to the left of the fairway. The 7th is a smart short par-4 at 330 yards but a narrowing fairway and bunkers at landing point stop even the big boys getting on from the tee. The 8th is my favourite hole on the front nine; a par-5 with six fairway bunkers (two groups of three) down the left side, with the last 100 yards turning right to a bunker surrounded green - there are some great views from behind the green looking to the right out to sea.
The opening three holes of the back nine are currently undergoing irrigation work, so are not in their best shape but are decent holes with plenty more of the strong bunkering the obvious cause for concern. The 13th hole is one that I am not sure about; an uphill 550 yard par-5 that is just a bit of a slog; the last 150 yards do turn to the right giving a little character but with the approach being semi-blind, not great for me. This is quickly put behind you as the last five holes are great to play. The 14th is a par-3, with a brilliant bunker catching anything slightly short. The 15th gives the elevated tee feeling that we all love and tee shots hang in the air for ever.
The 16th is the pick of the back nine; around 400 yards with a turn to the left and then a turn to the right over a hazard to a long green. The 17th is a par-5 and the best birdie chance of the long holes and then the final hole (par-4 380 yards) takes you past the clubhouse terrace on the left to a sloping green.
This is a course that I will return to no doubt but I hope to see presentation improved and some extra TLC next time. As D'Aro require some serious effort to get to, the club owes it to golfers to get some of the manicuring basics spot on.
Great fun though and a warm welcome too.