The 18-hole Los Flamingos layout is part of Villa Padierna, a large, up-market residential and hotel estate located just outside Marbella. Opened for play in 2001, it’s the first of three 18-hole courses to open at the resort, the short Tremores and the long and tough Alferini complete the trio. Such is the quality of Flamingos and its facilities, the European Seniors Match-Play Championships have already been held here several times and more of these events are due to follow.
Most fairways are sown with Bermuda grass, tees and greens with Pencross and bunkers lined with white Marmolina sand. The front nine are tighter than the back nine and three of the five short holes are located on the outward half – the par three 8th was originally a short par four hole.
Laid out in a style resembling the garden of a faux Tuscan villa – with stands of cypress, orange, olive and pine trees, streams flowing into lakes and classic columns, statues and marble bridges dotted around the place – the course will not suit everybody’s taste but at least the breathtaking Mediterranean views are the real thing!
Since based at La Costa del Golf I have tried to meet and review as many courses as possible in order to have a wider and better knowledge of the golf offer here but also to make me able to compare among the courses here. There are many rankings and opinions about golf courses and it is good to build your own one as in my case it is important to be able to tell my customers what they will experience when playing these courses.
Flamingos is part of the Villa Padierna Golf Resort, who also has the Alferini (longer and way tougher) and the Tramores (shorter, ideal for beginners and practice your game) Courses, which in many ways has the Roman Italian style adopted by the Hotel which is just by the 1st tee at Flamingos and close to many of its holes which for sure will offer very nice views from the main rooms.
This was my first round at the Resort, hoping to play many more in all three courses and my impression of it was quite good as a full complex, very well located and with a very wide offer of activities including paddle, tennis, beach club and more.
The Course is a decent one but for sure not my favorite, although it carries some good holes and nice views as well. The first thing to understand and analyze before reviewing a course is the piece of land where it is laid and if the designer had freedom to create or if the piece of land in the Mountains and in between homes was given to him, which will always make him have some restrictions and some holes will be just what the piece of land allows.
This course is very well kept, greens were rolling very true and fast, something usual out here and there are no complains about the playability despite 2-3 shots where the challenge is quite high: the 1st hole tee shot is not a friendly opener but if you hit fairway then it is a good birdie chance, tee shot on 9th is again very narrow but another good chance of the fairway is hit and then the very demanding 10th tee shot where you need to lay up hitting 190-210yds before carrying a lake for 150yds to a huge green which makes in my opinion the toughest hole on the course and it is not bad at all!
The Design is not bad but it has some weaknesses: tee shot on 1st hole is too hard, it is just the opener for the round and it needs space, then 9th is too narrow even for scratch golfers and 14th & 17th are practically identical, when I stood on 17th I felt I had already played the hole when the only difference is the green where 14th had 2 platforms and in my opinion it is too unfair for a hole playing quite up the hill. The other feature I don’t like too much is artificial lakes when they look too artificial and that happens at 14th and 15th where I feel that is a very good par 5 but it would look way better without those rocks.
The set of par 3s is VERY good: 2nd with water on the right and a very big green, then 4th short downhill which makes it tough to calculate real distance to hole, 8th up the hill with a well thought green, 12th I loved it with a false front where a 1m short shot can go 20 yds back and 16th flat big green with water on the left.
The best holes to play in my opinion apart from the par 3s:
- 6th is a very fair risk/reward par 5 where the more aggressive line you take with the tee shot the better chances you have of getting home in 2.
- 7th downhill par 4 with a short testing approach to the green.
- 10th too tough but it needs 2 very good shots, 2 heroic carries in the same hole.
- 18th is a very good finishing hole, I was surprised by water in the right which I thought it was not in play and the green needs accuracy because from the wrong side it can be lightning fast.
I will say that the final balance is good, a course worth to be played and that of course has room to improve with slight design changes.
I haven't stay in the Villa Padierna Hotel, but have been in it numerous times and will say that it is spectacular and if you can afford a night in it, then it's a must.
The Flamingos course is nice, but shouldn't be walked. It is very hilly, but full of lovely holes. There aren't really any bad holes which is a bit compliment, with holes 1, 4, 5, 9, 12, and 16 being personal favourites. The 10th is a strange hole but other than that they're all good. The greens were the best greens I had ever putted on the first time I played, and the greens are slopey, so you really have to be on form!
Their other courses aren't on this site for some reason, so I will briefly write about them.
ALFERINI - 4.5 Golf Ball Rating
The Alferini course is by far the hardest of the 3, and like the Flamingos, should not be walked. The walks to tee boxes are very long, and the course is very hilly. That being said, the course is fantastic, and weaves through canyons, with good bunkering and occasional water. It is very hard, but very enjoyable. Holes 1, 3, 8, 13, 14, 17 and 18 are personal favourites, and like the Flamingos, there are very few if any bad holes.
TRAMORES - 4 Golf Ball Rating
The Tramores course is by far the easiest of the 3. It is very quirky, with over 10 par 3s and only 1 par 5. Don't let this put you off by thinking it's not a problem course though, as it is extremely fun. It is hilly, but walkable, and the perfect course to play for some money. Enjoy how short it is a,d how quirky the 1st, 10th and 15th holes are. By far the MOST FUN of all 3
I agree 100% about Alferini being the better course. In fact I can't recall playing as good a course in as good a condition anywhere. How it isn't in the top 100 list on its own I don't know.