James originally nominated the Europa course as a Gem and his words follow:
Opened in 2005 and designed by Cabell B Robinson, the architect responsible for the America and the Asia courses on the property, the Europa has matured wonderfully well and is now more than the equal of the other two.
Maybe it was natural progression for Robinson to return to the site of two of his earliest designs and lay down a challenging course that shows how he has matured into one of the best designers out there.
The 4th hole is one of the strongest par fours you will ever play. You tee off to a narrow fairway in the distance requiring a not inconsiderable carry over a river and scrub; the river runs along the entire left flank and mountain scrub guards the right flank. Brutal. Then you have a long iron or wood back across the same river to a picturesque green protected by Robinson’s signature bunkering. Fantastic.
The rest of the course is very solid with lovely par threes including the 14th, needing a long carry over river and scrub. There are demanding par fives that snake around more ravines and scrub and as a whole it is a stern and unremitting test of golf.
It enjoys spectacular far reaching mountain views and is far less quirky than the other two layouts having long, gently undulating fairways carved over less challenging topography for a golf course. As a consequence it is far more playable. There are fine stretches of holes that are exhilarating and more than a little demanding.
This is a fine addition to the complex and by no means a poor third. I think it is more than a match for his previous work and gives the other two a run for their money. It would be my pick as the best of the bunch in fact.
October 11, 2015