The West course at La Manga Club was nominated by Colin on the 28th March 2007 for inclusion in the “Your Gems” section of the website. Since then the West course has moved from Your Gems and become a ranked Spanish course but we’ve left Colin’s original nomination article intact, as we liked it so much:
The West course is without doubt the jewel in the crown of La Manga Club. It is a beautiful course, well manicured and with marvellous scenery all around. It has an amazing variety of holes, each one presenting a different challenge; only the 11th and the 14th are what one might call ‘samey’.
However, as my playing partners and I have come to realise, ‘the West course giveth, and the West course taketh away’. Whilst being an angel on the eye, it is a brute on the score. You really have to be on top of your game, manage the course well and have a bit of luck on the way as well, any bad shot is punished severely. Buy a Stroke Saver and five extra golf balls before you start.
I could describe every hole to you, they all offer something very different, but I’ll just pick out a few real gems. By the way, each par three bar one has a Stroke Index of less than 10! I’ve not known that at many courses.
The 3rd (par five) deserves a mention for its challenging tee shot, horrendous ravine and tucked away green. The 5th is a brute of a tee shot considering its SI, it really is quite a narrow target. The 6th is the first hole where you can get the driver out. The pearl of the front nine however, is the 9th, with an uphill tee shot (and I mean uphill) the hole then bends at right angles down hill to a huge green protected by a ravine to the front and lake at the back. It’s a real devil of a hole to ‘manage’. But it does present an eagle opportunity.
If you feel a little punch drunk by the turn and deflated by something like just 12 points, beware the back nine, the holes just get better and better… and to some degree tougher. The 10th is a complete horror off the back tees, and then it’s up and down the mountains taking on the tough 12th and a horrid par three 13th that is as pleasing on the eye as it is punishing on the score card. The course concludes with probably the loveliest four consecutive holes I know. The 15th is a gorgeous par five with some well-placed trees along the centre of the fairway making shot selection an interesting task. The 16th is a brute of a par three with absolutely no room for error at all. There is only one place to put the ball, on the green, anywhere else is just a war zone.
The 17th must have been a hole designed by five different people and then glued together. If ever there was a reason for buying a stroke saver then this is it. But nevertheless it’s lovely, and a joy to par. It is merely a prelude however, to everybody’s favourite La Manga Club moment. The 18th tee is a bit of a trek up a hill, and after a slog round the West course one could do without that, but the reward at the end is worth it. You are greeted with a tee at the top of a small mountain overlooking the 18th fairway and the landscape spreads out in front of you beyond the course and out across the La Manga Club complex, the countryside and then to the sea a few miles distant. It is a lovely view and an intimidating tee shot. It’s a place to get the big shiny driver out, tee it high and let rip. A 200-yard carry to a wide, wide fairway beckons. It is a great finishing hole to a great course.
The West course is about a half mile from the main complex and it has its own clubhouse and bar. Without doubt the best of the three courses, but also without doubt the hardest. If you are an 18 plus handicapper don’t go near it unless you can happily exchange a low stableford points score for the sake of some lovely scenery.
Colin’s general view of La Manga Club:
The La Manga Club complex presents three lovely courses which all have their own character and each offer a different challenge to suit all handicaps. The resort benefits from a well-run shuttle bus service and an attention to course care that always ensures the holes are in good condition.
I would recommend La Manga Club to anybody who wanted an easy weekend of golf ‘on the doorstep’. It’s probably not the cheapest place to play, then again it’s not the dearest either, but the accommodation is reasonably priced and of high quality.
The resort has a nice driving range and good putting and short game practice areas. The shop is well stocked, and a very pleasant man on a buggy is always whizzing around selling drinks and cheese and ham rolls to a lot of very thirsty golfers. I think it’s a great place.
La Manga Club is one of our Top 100 Golf Resorts of the World
The original course at La Manga and such a classic, short but tricky, driver is best left in the bag! Such a a beautiful location, peaceful and quiet. The course is slightly neglected in comparison to the North and south but really worth checking out.
This course seems to divide opinion. It's more peaceful and secluded than the other courses on the resort. No question, the 18th offers a spectacular end to the round with great views and it is a lovely feeling to watch your drive sail down to the fairway below. It's also a relief if your playing partners have all nailed their drive and you are last - you really don't want to finish on a bad note.
But that's as good as it gets for me. The course isn't maintained to the same standard as the other courses, probably it's not possible due to the construction and topography. This is no design classic, there are a lot of forced lay ups and I like options and strategic choices. Some of the holes don't really work, 9 is just mickey mouse. 10-12 feel a bit like playing the crazy resort course on Nintendo wii. You can have a lot of fun on this course, but if you try and take it seriously you won't enjoy it.
First and foremost, I am fan of the La Manga Club and visit annually and the West is my favourite of the three courses. Right now though there are plenty of issues with the golf offering at the resort and with some things that I highlighted at least eight years ago still being an issue now. The West this August was in the worst condition that I have ever experienced – design still great that is why this remains a 4-ball ranking (my previous is a 5-ball). The issues I think are related to ownership changes and the need to invest in the courses. The problems may seem a little cosmetic but they are leaving a bad taste during golf; the buggy paths are in a seriously bad state and without being too dramatic are very dangerous in places and not what I want to see on one of Europe’s first and most prestigious golf resorts. These seems to be a lack of care from the green-keeping team too, with no priority in presenting the courses in a way that should be a minimum. New owners; Hesperia are in place at LMC now and they have to act quickly in my opinion. Ending on a positive, the tee shot on the 18th on the West remains a very special place indeed – high above the full resort, this is a great par-4 to end the round on.
Despite having property at La manga i have only played this once. I am a grip it and rip it kind of player and this certainly doesn't suit here.
I have a feeling if I left the woods at home this could become a course that you grow to love, but for me its similar to the north course and designed for shorter hitters to be ale to reach in regulation. Some very nice holes on here and I will make an effort to play it again, but my first impression was not great.
Played here in Easter, breezy conditions and to be honest a bad back, played with my son (25 handicap) I am (16 handicap) after reading previous reviews and speaking to the pro shop - I feared the worst, was advised to take plenty of balls as the course is very tight, narrow fairways and small greens etc.
The course was not busy, as it is a little farther away from the main clubhouse and facilities plus it seems on first sight to be the least looked after, but hey, never judge a book by its cover - we duly bought a course planner (A must), and we went to the first tee, it looked a fairly easy hole, but like the rest of the course, you really have to think about your shots, you can't just get the big dog out and give it a rip as there is danger lurking on most holes, plotting your way around the course will bring rewards in pars and birdie attempts! If not be prepared to drop shots - we both loved it and enjoyed the fact it wasn't a long course, I think 3 woods and hybrids off the tee puts you in play more often than not, although if you can shape your tee shots or are confident to take the "Tiger Line" will reap rewards, a real risk and reward course. The par 3's are no push over either, the 16th a 189 metre uphill tee shot to a protected small green! The 18th is a fantastic hole superb view off the tee, and you can give it a good old rip - I would say well worth a visit.
I have recently played La Manga West course it was a great experience. The first hole is a good opening because as a child you can use a driver and get close to the water so you can carry the water and get to the green. It is very tricky green to hit though, because the green is not that wide plus the front of the green and the rough slopes down to the water it is also protected by a bunker on the left edge of the green.
The second hole is a par 3 with a long ravine running along close to the green. The green is also well protected with a large bunker on the left side of the green there is also a lot of rough protecting the green.
All the golf holes have lovely views of the hole, mountains, part of the sea and main city and the rest of La Manga. The par 5 3rd hole is a tough shot because if you can hit the ball 150 yards or more you can go in the bunker or it could run down to the path on the left meaning you would have to lay up short of the ravine. There is a bunker on the right just over the ravine and if you can carry that with your 2nd shot you could have a good 3rd shot in, although it is a tight green to hit because the green is thin and is protected by a large bunker at the very front of the green. They are the first few holes tough opening, right?
The course is unlike any other Spanish course because of the thin fairways, tight greens a lot of waste land, trees and ravines which makes the course very tricky. The course is also very picturesque which makes it a have a nice atmosphere. The staff are also very welcoming I can't wait to go there again. It was great!
Many things might have happened since Colins review in 2007. I cant agree in most of his points.
Played all three courses in the complex (Nov 2018) and the West is, by far, the least playable of them all.
The West course to be ranked the highest simply doesnt make sense...blind and unfair holes all the way, hard to walk....
It is not a bad course, but it should be ranked waaay further doen the list than the South course.
This kind of inconsistencies make rankings worthless. Anyone who has visited La Manga recently could tell...
I disagree completely with this review. For me the West course is head and shoulders above the South, actually I'd take the North course over the South any day. Rankings are about opinions of course and yours is out on a limb.
The West does split opinion, generally it’s high handicappers that don’t like it as it’s tight and easy to lose balls. But for anyone who appreciates golf, whilst it might not be the most enjoyable for everyone, it’s far and away the most interesting and deserves it’s ranking. The north and south are good courses but in all honesty you can play a similar type of course in Spain. The west is completely unique.
La Manga’s West Course is totally different to most Spanish resort courses, offering a natural, rural layout. The conditioning is superb - a unique style of coarse sand in the bunkers and Spanish Pine trees throughout really give this place its own character. The course immediately intimidates the golfer, with tight fairways and small greens from the very first hole, where precision off the tee and in the approach are crucial to avoid an early mishap in the round. Make your par on the first, take a deep breath and move to the par 3 second, where you’ll be faced with a 200 yard tee shot over a barranca to another small putting surface, surrounded by danger, often into a prevailing wind. The intensity continues, as the par 5 third hole demands a precise tee shot, short of another barranca, leaving a reachable green for those who can hit a fairway wood accurately over 220 yards. The front 9 continues with a varied and enjoyable mix of holes, all of which require thoughts and strategy to play well. The 8th is a real gem of a hole, any mistakes here and par is out of the question! Hole #9, par 5, makes incredible use of the natural topography, leading you uphill right-to-left on the drive to an elevated fairway with a reachable green down below, if you position your ball perfectly.
One fine attribute of this track is how it plays as difficult for the low-handicap golfer as for the mid-handicapper, heavily punishing any miss-stuck or badly directed shot, yet allowing a score to be made for the cautious player who plots their way around the holes, using their shots wisely. It’s sure to offer loads of surprises in competitive golf for groups of 8 or more visiting here, as the ups-and-downs in your round continue till the 19th, with no end of surprises and opportunities for error. The two par 5’s towards the end of the back 9 (15 & 17) are real teasers, both are birdie opportunities if played conservatively, yet card wreckers if greedy or inaccurate... the kind of holes you want to go back and play again once you know them!
In summary, this is a course I could happily play again and again and each time have a totally different experience. Unlike many courses, where regulation pars reoccur in similar circumstances, each time you play here you experience success and failure on different holes, as each hole is simple when played well, but can be devastating when played badly.
I really love coming here to play and will always look forward to my next visit, as each time the course condition is exceptional and the friendly welcoming staff offer service and excellence above the price tag.
A fantastic little course that gives you a new challenge on every shot! We all agreed it was one of the most interesting courses we’ve come across. Control of your ball is paramount and it is rounded off with a terrific view on the 18th, over the resort to the water. A course guide or gps is essential for choosing your shots on this tight course with trouble everywhere. Well worth visiting!
Of the three La Manga Courses the West course was the biggest surprise. It’s a smallish course full of relatively short but interesting holes that run through a very hilly property. It’s a tricky course and care needs to be taken to plot your way around it. In some places it’s a bit narrower than I’d like to see it. It’s also the kind of course you really need to see once to find out what shots are safe, what kind of distances you should be trying to hit off the tee and also to have an idea what’s happening with some of the quirky holes.
There are a couple severe dogleg holes, one being the short par 5, 9th which is actually more in a boomerang shape with the tee shot going uphill and the approach being down hill. A somewhat risky drive or 3 wood over the trees in the corner can catch the down slope and leave a short iron to the green. The stretch of the next four holes was my favorite on the course.
The course in terms of conditioning was playing extremely firm and fast, much firmer than the other La Manga courses which were also firm but clearly seemed to receive more attention and water or have easier access to it.
Finally the West course ends with a real cracker of a hole with a beautiful view out over La Manga and all the way to the Mediterranean. From a very high perched tee this par 4 played straight into the wind from a fairly wide landing area to a green protected with bunkers and framed with trees. A nice finish to a fun resort course.