A return visit, this time with a regular group of golf tourists. We all thoroughly enjoyed the North course, which was in terrific condition. I disagree with the previous review which described the front 9 as bland. The 1st is a really good stiff start. reachable in two, but with a risky second to a green which is much flatter than most. The 2nd is a bit regulation holiday course, but the 3rd, which looks like a straightforward par 3 from the tee, has a really nasty tricky green, which requires a very pure strike to hold. 4 and 5 are good sweeping driving holes, 6 is a terrific uphill par 3, with a blind green, 7 a good uphill par 4, and 8, which is the SI1 is a really difficult but interesting dogleg par 5. 9 and 10 are a bit of relief, shortish par 4s, then 11 is a classic risk and reward short par 4. You can take on the green, if you fancy your chances over a dogleg right guarded by pretty tall trees. 12 is the very short par 3, which is hit the green or you are dead. 13 is a great downhill drive, followed by a very tough shot into a domed green, 14 a very uphill shortish par 5, 15 is almost a shorter rerun of 13, with another very difficult domed green. 16 is a brute of a par 3, again a very difficult green. 17 is a weakish down and up par 4 with OB very close to the left hand side. 18 is decent par 5 into a very heavily guarded green.
After all the detail, how about an overall impression? Well, this is a good test of golf in very pretty surroundings. There are no houses on the entire North course, which is mostly bounded by a salt marsh. In the main, it is a very fair course, although the domed greens between 13 to 16 are borderline unfair. As an overall design it is a good open driving course, with a requirement for much more accuracy to tight and well protected greens.
In February it was in very good condition, but it is a golf resort, and you just have to accept rounds which take 4.5 to 5 hours.
The clubhouse has a decent menu, the pro shop is well run and the hotel is excellent.
One last point - the South Course at El Rompido is a very good course, yet it doesn't get a mention in the Top100. Tighter, but with terrific greens, it a stern test, and in my view, it is a much better course than many others in Spain and Portugal featured on this website, including Islantilla, just down the road. In my view it is well worth a visit on its own merits.
Date: February 29, 2020