You have to feel some sympathy for a course like La Canada where it is completely overshadowed by near neighbours, Sotogrande, Valderrama and La Reserva – all of which lie within a five mile radius of here. With top Spanish golf course competition like this, it is easy to understand why the course is often overlooked by visiting golfers.
For twenty years La Canada was a fine 9-hole set up, until the club appointed Dave Thomas in 2002 to add an additional nine holes, extending the original Robert Trent Jones Senior layout to a full 18-hole course.
The Thomas holes now form the front nine, laid out near the main road, whilst the RTJ back nine occupy the more undulating landscape, characterized by fine bunkering and interesting greens. The better holes on the card are undoubtedly the par five 10th and (stroke index 1) hole 12 but the best is saved until last where a heroic tee shot is called for at the 18th, across an intimidating ravine, with fine views of the Guadiaro river and Mediterranean Sea in the background.
La Cañada is one of those nice surprises you find out once you go play it. We have been working with them for some years but although I was able to scout many courses in the area the time for La Cañada had not come yet until yesterday after a casual 9 holes round at Valderrama.
After having come over 10 times to the destination and being it my permanent home since early December, I expected on of those technical narrow courses where almost any lateral miss is a lost ball but I was surprised to find out that a wayward miss may be a lost ball but usually one side allows a bad shot and in some holes there is room on both sides where to miss and not lose the ball.
It has a very nice Club House with a terrace facing the Driving Range, one of the few regrets is not to have a view of any of the two finishing holes (9-18) but it is just a detail. A simple and comfortable building, a nice bar, a very good proshop and excellent service at a course where the equation cost/quality is pretty good!
Course was in very good shape although we are already in winter and bent grass greens rolling perfect at a very decent speed. Distance is not a factor but in some holes tee shot needs to be other than the driver. They were doing an upgrade in the bunkers with that silicon black product under the sand which will prevent muddy surfaces and water on them, despite not the biggest budget and in a tough year they committed to improving the course which is excellent.
It has some fantastic views when you play from up the hill in the sea direction, with some shots making the ball flight be very long in the air like 13-16-18.
Some Holes to highlight:
- 1st a short 4 dogleg left and down the hill where tee shot is wide open until 220yds, then a short approach to a right to left sloped green.
- 5th a 90º dog leg left par 5 where everything longer than 280yds is trouble and the fairway rolls downhill and then a severe left to right sloping green.
- 7th a short 4 with a layup tee shot of not more than 230yds but very downhill plus a dramatic carry for the 150yds approach over a cliff.
- 13th a great downhill 5 facing the Ocean where anything long of the green will be wet.
- 16th another short 4 but you can hit driver as there is space for taking some risk.
- 17th is great but I have one regret here … some plants hide the water and green surface, I would cut them to show the beauty of this shallow green where putts over the hole can be lightning fast.
- 18th is great, on late afternoons sun will be at the end of the ocean and you can chose the direction of the carry, straight to the green is over 200yds.
Greens design is quite interesting, with not so small size and where slopes and ridges are gentle but will challenge you if putting from the incorrect spot.
I feel that when the bunker work is complete and during spring this course will be a complete blast to return. Would like to play with some wind, challenge must be quite hard on that day!