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
We've been to La Manga a few times and played this course which does make it easier as on my first attempt could gauge how far you could hit the ball, but with a few rounds under my belt the 3 wood has been replaced with as little as a 7 iron on some holes.
So if you don't mind positional play being the optimum then this is the course for you, I only use the driver on the 18th.
Greens are generally less abused on the west course so are normally in good condition. The fees change quite a bit over the months of the year, but from memory we had a good deal with a two course lunch thrown in.
The course does close down from a tee time point of view between 13:00 and 14:00 so I normally normally book the two time and fly around. You don't really need a buggy, there are a couple of tiring walks especially up to 18 which is set high on the hill for a big drive down, but don't get carried away it's still fairly narrow and if you topped it down the hill, say good bye to it
The West is the prettiest and tightest of the three courses at La Manga Club and will certainly test your shot making skills to the full. Completely different in character to the North and South courses, you will need straight hitting and careful club selection to score well around here. The course is not overly long, measuring less than 6300 yards from the back tees and in reality you probably don’t need to hit driver on more than 3 or 4 holes. This course has it all with multiple dog-legs, interesting changes in elevation and trouble everywhere. When we visited the greens were perhaps not quite as quick as on the South but were still of a very high standard, many of them tiered and some quite small. The collection of par 3’s is certainly impressive, particularly 2, 13 and my personal favourite the attractive but demanding uphill 16th. Of the longer holes there is great variety in the design, the front nine being very good but the back nine plays tougher and is even better. I have heard some describe the course as being a bit quirky in places and holes 3, 9, 15 and 17 could all possibly fall in to that category. The 15th in particular where you must first negotiate a downhill snaking fairway, then clear the barranca before firing over a clump of trees to reach the green. Having said that, I can honestly say that I enjoyed them all and can’t wait to have another go, it’s just that I would like to play most of them a bit better next time! One of the highlights of the round is walking on to the spectacular 18th tee where you are met with a magnificent panorama of the fairway down below and the resort and bay beyond. A memorable tee shot to finish the round as your ball seems to hang in the air for an eternity before eventually landing on the short stuff below. This is a course that you will definitely benefit from playing a few times so if it’s your first visit buy a course planner, take a few extra balls and play stableford not medal! Not to be missed. Brian W