Lauro’s original 18-hole golf course was designed by Folco Nardi and opened for play in 1992. Then Mariano Banitez added another nine holes ten years later, so the golf complex now boasts three fine 9-hole loops, each of which features prominent water hazards on the final hole.
An inland course located around 1,000 feet above sea level, Lauro is laid out on undulating terrain beside the protected forest area of the Sierra de Mijas, not far from Málaga airport.
Holes are named after famous bullfighters and fairways are set among pine, cork, olive and citrus trees with bunkers clearly visible, as exemplified at the short downhill par four 3rd which looks drivable but at 360 yards, isn’t for most golfers.
The course was built on the grounds of an old farm and the rustic feel is enhanced with Cortijo El Paredon, converted from an 18th century farmhouse into a charming old clubhouse, complete with its square inner courtyard, tiled with bricks and stones, and planted with orange trees.
After a couple of easy, flat holes, the downhill 3rd offers a little more of a challenge with the smallest green on the course that’s defended by large bunkers which do not leave much opening to the putting surface. Elevation change is also the word for the next several holes until the end of the loop. The par four 9th, however, is completely flat, but no less than three lakes bar the fairway. They could be reachable with the drive for the long hitters, and two of them are definitely in play for the approach shot if the flag is set toward the front of the green.
The second loop starts on a soft note, even though the par three 11th is not really wide or open with old pine trees along the right side and a dangerous side slope on the left of the green. It’s back to the hillsides from then on.
Several holes at Lauro include trees in the middle of the fairway, especially the shorter par fours. The par five 13th is a long, narrow hole, with out-of-bounds all along the right side and trees and shrubbery on the left. It is rated the hardest on the course.
The hills seem to vanish on the tee of the 17th par five, a long but straight par three shotter, before the flat 18th par four which runs parallel to the 9th, which is also defended by two lakes, the first one on the left of the fairway being definitely in play for the drive. The other will catch approach shots left short of the green although it should not be a real danger in most pin positions.
Upon arriving at Lauro, we were impressed by the clubhouse, an old farmhouse with its very pleasant square courtyard planted with orange trees (all of the oranges very green when we visited, unfortunately). The low buildings surrounding the courtyard have been converted in the pro-shop, changing rooms and bar, and the terrace is great for drinks both before and after the round.
Speaking of golf, Lauro is a nice, enjoyable course to play. Although most agencies booking your round will include buggies in the price due to some sharp elevation changes, it is still a walkable property if you enjoy the exercise. Driving a buggy will not save any time anyway, because local rules call for staying on the paths at all times, at least when we were there.
This course is not very long or very difficult, but still a good test with some tight holes, and several long par threes. The general condition of the course was pretty good, despite a number of mild trouble areas around the fairways and the fact that the greens were not exactly fast when we played the first 18 holes on the property. Unfortunately we did not have the opportunity to take a look at the third, newer 9-hole loop.
Our favorite holes on the first loop were the par four 6th, a downhill, dogleg right hole with a big tree in the middle of the fairway to make the drive more exciting, and the par five 7th, a 90-degree uphill dogleg which requires two good shots to have a first look at the green. Your first shot should be over yet another tree standing in the middle of the fairway by the creek that crosses it.
On the return loop, the par three 11th was a scenic hole, with the slightly elevated green located at the edge of the plateau and beautiful trees overshadowing it. Then another par five, the 13th, provided both playing and viewing pleasure. Slightly downhill, it does not play as long as its 549 meters from the back tees, but it is no bargain. The approach to the elevated green can be complicated if you need a hybrid or long iron to reach it, as there is a small lake short of the green on the right side. Once there though, you will have a nice point of view on the nearby sierra. Standing on the 14th tee, you can also enjoy a great view of the 13th green and fairway. The last tough test of our game was the par four 16th, a long (421 meters from the back tees) and uphill hole, where reaching the green in two could be well out of range for many golfers.
Overall, a good, solid and scenic course, making for a very pleasurable, if not exceptional golf experience.